“We are designing, developing, testing, and deploying technology solutions that will impact the ability for farmers to feed our growing population amid labor shortages with greater efficiency. I enjoy helping others see opportunities and maximize their potential.” As the Senior Director of Engineering, Phil has a critical role in helping both his teammates — who are Engineering Managers at Raven — do this in their careers, while also identifying opportunities for Raven’s customers to maximize their full technological potential in the field.
“Raven is unique in that we bring together many engineers from various disciplines to solve challenges that span the entire field and crop lifecycle, and they get exposure to complete systems. For example, it is not unusual to find our AI and machine learning engineers out in the field running missions with large tractors. Not only do they get to deploy their models to perception systems, but they also get to experience the full systems from the perspective of an operator.”
As Raven develops and matures cutting-edge solutions on the forefront of agricultural autonomy, Phil brings clear leadership as AI, machine learning, and cloud platforms are built and strengthened in an agile, iterative environment. He frequently tunes into agile ceremonies, sprint planning discussions, demos, and retrospectives to help the teams accomplish their goals, and enjoys spending time with engineers as they deploy their new work in the field. “Seeing success in the field brings special kinds of reward, just as seeing failures in the field brings unique opportunities.”
Ultimately, Raven engineering is successful because of the customer-focused, challenge-solving culture that the team sets. “I know that the people I work with have a deep passion for solutions that make a difference in our customer’s lives,” Phil noted. “We are not afraid to take on difficult challenges. We learn together and have fun.” Driven to continuously improve global technology solutions and help teams reach their full potential, Phil sees his leadership providing the building blocks necessary for a challenging and engaging work environment long-term.
I see myself at Raven for the long term providing value to the team, both as a leader, and as someone who can propose technology solutions that scale to global proportions. I will continue to challenge ideas and bring people, processes, and technology together to lead the industry in autonomous vehicles, operations automation, and precision agriculture.
Phil’s Raven career shows how Raven enables and emboldens team members and innovative technologies to grow, develop, and mature. After joining the company via the acquisition of SmartAg, Phil was involved in the initial automation of grain cart applications — which became the foundation of OMNiDRIVE, Raven’s autonomous grain cart solution. After that, he jumped on an early opportunity to manage the DOT team from majority investment through acquisition in 2020, helping to shape the company’s OMNiPOWER autonomous platform. “I’ve been excited to see the broader maturity, convergence, and commercialization of these technology stacks in my role at Raven.”
In addition to changes in role, Phil’s flexibility has allowed him to work from different locations. After working with the SmartAg teams in Ames, Iowa, Phil was brought in as an Engineering Manager and moved to Sioux Falls, SD. Over time, he gained responsibilities as Director of Engineering and was assigned more special projects. Now responsible for leading the managers of multiple software-based teams, Phil is thrilled to be leading some of the most exciting technology developments at Raven. Heavily involved in AI and Machine Learning, Data Science, Cloud Infrastructure, Web Platforms, and more, Phil recently expanded this growing area of Raven in a new way — by spearheading the development of a new engineering center of excellence in Arizona.
“As Raven becomes even more of a technology company, it is important to identify specific disciplines that require accelerated growth. With that growth comes complexity, so it is important to stay focused, develop standards and continue raising the bar. As we continued to consider our growing needs for AI and machine learning development, it became clear that we needed a specialized space to accomplish our goals — and the Phoenix metro area emerged as the ideal place to do this.”
Engineers who join Phil’s team at the new Raven engineering center of excellence in Scottsdale, Arizona will specialize in computer vision , machine learning, and artificial intelligence that help give situational awareness and provide safe driverless operations for autonomous tractors and platforms. In addition, the strategic office location allows for open field testing year-round — a critical piece of iterative development of market-leading autonomous platforms.
We use trained models for real time object detection, inference, and tracking. Every vehicle has multiple sensor systems that generate various types of connected data, from images and radar targets to geolocation coordinates. There are lots of other vehicle telemetry pieces. As you can imagine, all that data means we will hire data scientists, data analysts, and data engineers to help us gather and visualize information and help our systems make better decisions. We will also have engineers that build the cloud infrastructure, and teams that build the web and mobile applications that connect our users to their vehicles and manage their agronomic operations.
The Phoenix area is one of the biggest, most diverse, and fastest-growing innovation hubs in the United States — and Raven’s new engineering center of excellence is positioned among its leaders. The new office is part of SkySong, a multi-building campus dedicated to innovation with strong connections to Arizona State University — one of the nation’s largest and most innovative universities. As Phil pointed out, ASU, local companies, and government agencies “make large investments, foster collaboration between education and businesses, and promote economic development.”
Outside of work, the Valley of the Sun provides a beautiful backdrop that fosters creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. There’s something for everyone — from iconic mountain hikes to thriving downtown cityscapes.
I like living in the Phoenix area. As one of the physically largest metro regions in the U.S., there are a great diversity of communities, from busy urban centers to quiet suburbs. There are also many large, protected open spaces if you enjoy nature. I’ve been here enough during the summer to know that it can be brutally hot, but on balance, it’s pretty good.
Phil is motivated by the opportunity to grow Raven’s team and technology in the desert. With his well-rounded experience, passion for helping others maximize their potential, and willingness to take on new challenges, he continues to drive disruptive change in autonomous ag.
I’m just excited to be here and to help launch this new office. I’ve spent some time here in the past and enjoy the location, but I’m really motivated by the opportunity to help grow our team!
Join Phil and Shape Autonomous Ag
As Phil mentioned, Raven has a growing need for a variety of data engineers, developers, and scientists as their AI, machine learning, and computer vision capabilities expand. Join the Raven team and drive market-leading autonomous ag technology forward in the Phoenix area.