Q&A with Sameer Singhal, Division Director for CFD Research Corporation

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42 Contributing Writer Mike Kelley spoke with Sameer Singhal, a Division Director at CFD Research Corporation in Cummings Research Park. A Huntsville native, he grew up in Jones Valley and met his wife Ruchi, an Atlanta native, at Georgia Tech. Sameer and Ruchi make their home in the Hampton Cove area of Huntsville.

Can you tell us about your education and early preparation for your career?
I received my B.S. at Georgia Tech in Materials Science and Engineering, graduated in 1999. Then I went on the Stanford in Palo Alto, California for my M.S. in Materials Science and Engineering, which I got in 2001.

At Georgia Tech I was involved in an undergraduate research internship, where you work for six months with a Ph.D. student. The Ph.D. candidate I assisted was involved in testing the fatigue characteristics of aluminum alloys for aircraft. A project like this gives you total exposure to the research environment, and helps you to see if you’ll be happy working in research.

At Stanford, I had the chance to work at Intel on microprocessor reliability testing, testing the actual processors that would be used in computers bought commercially.

Describe your position at CFD Research and responsibilities.
At CFD I’m Director of the Biomedical and Energy Technology Division, managing about 30 people. We’re re-developing biotechnology and energy solutions and making them commercially viable. My role has changed from day-to-day research, now I’m more responsible for ensuring the products are commercially viable, managing a portfolio of technologies and seeking opportunities to transition the technologies to industry.

CFD Research has about 20 people at HudsonAlpha Institute, working on biomedical technologies. I do a lot of promotion and outreach for the institute itself.

What do you consider your greatest career accomplishment?
My first job was with a company called Nitronex Corporation in Raleigh, North Carolina, a semiconductor start-up company. I was the 10th person to join and saw the company grow to 75 people. I had the opportunity to take technologies that were just on paper and actually develop a stable of seven power transistor products for the military and commercial markets.

In what ways are you involved with the local community?
I was a part of the Leadership Huntsville Connect Class X, and graduated from the program in February 2010. Today, I’m a Leadership delegate for Huntsville and Madison County, actually helping to spread the mission of the leadership organization to my peer group of scientists and engineers.

In addition, I do volunteer work for Habitat for Humanity and the Downtown Rescue Mission.