Employee Spotlight: John Peters Joins Elite’s Midwest Wireless Test Center

Elite is proud to welcome John Peters as the latest addition to our team of wireless test experts.  John has over 20 year experience and is a seasoned RF engineer with knowledge of wireless devices, antenna measurements, and Over-The-Air (OTA) Performance laboratory operations. John’s contributions at Elite have been immediate in helping fast-track our CTIA CATL lab certification and moving Elite’s Midwest Wireless Test Center closer to 100% operations.

John comes to Elite by way of The Howland Company, where he was instrumental in the deployment and commissioning of OTA chambers for key Howland clients. Before that John spent 18 years with Motorola Mobility as an OTA lab engineer and specialist completing testing and configuring test equipment to achieve CTIA Approved Test Lab (CATL) status.

We asked John about his professional journey as an RF engineer and for his views about his role and vision for Elite.

Q:  You’re one of the many proud Motorola alumni here in the Chicago area. How did your Moto experience shape you as a professional?

I joined Motorola’s Antenna Research group in the cellular division and my first project was to help develop their original OTA chambers and associated measurements tools.  The group was led at the time by Jim Phillips who was a great mentor, plus the engineers that worked under him were the best in the business, not only in cellular antenna development, but designing measurement tools to support that effort.  I was fortunate to be a part of that group and to have worked for Motorola at that time.

Q: How have you seen wireless and cellular technology evolve over time? 

Analog was the cellular technology when I started and cellphones only needed to support one or two frequency bands. Digital was just starting to take-off, but since then the evolution in complexity has mushroomed.  Phones now need to support a long list of frequency bands with many antennas and matching networks all trying to coexist on a small PCB with multiple cameras, sensors, and connectors.

Even after being involved with this technology as long as I have, I continue to be amazed at how it all comes together in such as small package while still meeting the carrier RF requirements. It’s also pretty exciting to see Elite clients incorporate this advanced technology in their products. I look forward to having a front row seat to watch the entire Internet of Things unfold as Elite tests new M2M modules for all kinds of cellular applications.

Q: What has been the biggest challenge in dealing with the changes you have encountered with technology?

In my career, the question has always been what’s needed to reliably test new cellular technologies, even before the standards are fully developed and released.   Back when I started at Motorola, we used to build our own measurement tools for the next generation cellular equipment. Not many mobile manufactures do that today but some of the test equipment manufactures and chip OEMs have taken the lead in that effort. It’s a constant challenge to learn about these new technologies and become familiar with new test plans, to verifying the test methods, and confirm the accuracy of measurements. 

Q:  Now that you have been with Elite for 6 months, what have you come to learn about your new company that you did not previously know?

The people here are great.  I’ve enjoyed being a part of the Wireless testing group and assimilating into the larger Elite family.   On the test and measurement side it’s nice to work for a smaller company because we’re very nimble and can get things accomplished without bureaucracy slowing our efficiency.   It’s also great to be a part of a forward looking company willing to invest in the future. That part of Elite reminds me of the early Motorola.

Oh and on the culinary side… I only need to bring lunch a couple days a week because it seems there’s a birthday cake in the lunch room every other day...haha.   

Q:  How do you see Elite changing now that you are here?

I recognize my new “Elite family” is relying on me and our Wireless team to move quickly to get our OTA services CTIA certified.  I like the fact that I can apply my technical experience to contribute in an immediate way.   Once our CTIA certification is in place, I hope to mentor my Wireless team colleagues on OTA testing so we can leverage our collective capabilities.   

Q: Outside of your career here at Elite, what keeps you busy?

Well, family for sure. I’m the proud father of two daughters and I really enjoy the time I spend with my kids and wife. I’m a big car guy too so you can usually find me in my garage working on one of my projects. I also seem to always have a lengthy “honey-do” list. 

I like to support my wife and daughter with their participation in an organization called Horsepower Therapeutic Riding. They volunteer helping children and adults with disabilities experience horseback riding. It’s a great program and really rewarding for the riders and volunteers alike. It’s definitely a good-vibe to be around this group. If you’re interested here’s a link to read a bit more about the great things they do.