Dave Petersen: Systems Engineer

“I’m done.” “You’re finished with the exam already?”“No, I’m done with this course and with the university,” Dave Petersen proclaimed as he walked out of what would be his final calculus course of his freshman year. Dave hurried back to his dorm room, packed up his belongings, and hitchhiked an hour to his home near Milwaukee.

Dave is the kind of person you meet once in passing but never forget. He is witty, sociable, and blunt. He derives joy from helping others in need and spending time with people he cares about most. When Dave sees a goal, he focuses all his energy and efforts toward it until he’s ready to move on to what’s next. He brings this attitude to his work at Phoenix every day.

Dave Petersen grew up in Wauwatosa, WI in the Milwaukee County Medical Complex where his father worked. As a child, Dave enjoyed taking things apart to figure out how they functioned. This led him to pursue a career in machining following his brief tenure at college. While working as a machinist, Dave noticed the rise of computer numerical controlled devices and took it upon himself to understand the intricacies of these technologies. He enrolled in night classes on physics and electronics at MSOE and taught himself how to program on his Apple II+ computer, all while being a single father.

After spending a few years studying and machining, Dave was hired at Marquette Medical Systems where he helped build, design, and program equipment. This was the beginning of a 30+ year career in the medical systems field.

In 2007, Dave moved to Madison, WI to work for TomoTherapy as a Tech Lead for Control Systems. He heard about the growth of a pair of promising sister companies in the area called SHINE Medical Technologies and Phoenix Nuclear Labs and decided to invest in both. Intrigued by Phoenix’s capabilities, he reached out and was later brought on as a Systems Engineer in August of 2016. As a Systems Engineer, Dave is dedicated to deeply understanding customer problems to ensure that Phoenix’s end products completely resolve their issues while adhering to strict specifications. He has worked on a wide variety of projects already, but is currently focused on the NEMESIS system for Phoenix’s compact, high-yield neutron source for the detection of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

What Dave most admires about Phoenix Nuclear Labs is its commitment to hiring the right people. Within his first ten months at Phoenix, he has seen the number of employees almost double, while remaining committed the core principles he noticed when he initially invested. Dave loves coming to work in such a transparent environment filled with approachable, knowledgeable, and dependable people.Dave currently lives with his wife in Waunakee, WI. On weekends, he can regularly be found fishing, hiking, canoeing, or spending time with his grandchildren.