Employee Spotlight: Craig Bowes

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December 15, 2021

Craig and his wife rehearsing for retirement

This month, we celebrate our Senior EMC Test Technician Craig Bowes as he moves on to retirement at the end of the year. When he is not in the lab working with customers and training new engineers, Craig is busy as a bee with his myriad hobbies and donating his honey and wine for charitable causes. Now he will have more time to spend with his wife and his passions for beekeeping, bow-hunting, hog-riding, pepper-mixing, and winemaking. Craig has been an incredible and invaluable member of Elite team for 17 years and we wish him all the best on his next adventure.

We previously highlighted Craig back in 2015 and we asked Craig to reflect on his career at Elite and share what he has learned in and out of the lab.

How did you get into EMC/testing?

When I graduated from DeVry I did a short internship, but I was looking for something permanent. My brother Frank Bowes was working at Elite and talked to Craig Fanning to see if there were any openings in the programming or testing positions. I interviewed with Mr. Klouda and Craig Fanning and found that the programing aspect was already set but they did need someone in the testing aspect, so they hired me and back to school I went to learn electronics. 

What are the most rewarding aspects of working at Elite? Any particular highlights?

I love that most of the customers I work with come in with different products, so each test is unique in either the product and/or the specification that they are testing to. I find it rewarding to experience the satisfaction of a customer passing their test, who at first, had many concerns of the compliance of their product. I also feel proud to see coworkers that I had trained, grow, and develop their skill level and become confident test engineers. The highlights are the fellowship and comradery of working at a family-owned business.

Do you have any advice for younger engineers learning EMC testing?

Take lots of notes, there are many different specifications all with their own unique requirements, and test setups.

What is your proudest moment in life so far?

I have two proud moments of my life; one is going back to school at age 42 and graduating 4 years later with a degree and second is watching my wife develop her archery skills and going from shooting wildly to making me sweat that she will score higher than me.

What do you love about keeping bees? How did you get started?

A good friend of mine and his wife got started keeping bees and were very excited about it and wanted me to do it too, it took three years for them to talk me into it and I have enjoyed it right from the beginning. I enjoy beekeeping because Honeybees are very interesting and unpredictable and will keep you learning about them and their behavior every day. When harvest time comes, I like to process each super separately to get as many different flavors of honey as I can (each super will generally have its own unique flavor), other beekeepers laugh at me and tell me I have too much time on my hands, but I love seeing the reactions of people when they taste the different flavors. 

Honey Tip: Do not throw away the honey that has crystallized! Crystallization is a good thing; it shows you that you have a jar of very good raw unpasteurized honey (the best honey for you). To de-crystallize your honey simply put it in a pan of water and warm it up like you would a baby bottle (do not boil the water and do not use the microwave).

Craig waiting at the bees’ carryout window

Any tips for aspiring apiary enthusiasts?

If you are going to get into beekeeping, make sure you take a beekeeping class with the park district or from the beekeeping association, and most of all get to know a beekeeper. Ask them to be your mentor because you will have millions of questions as you go.

How many times have you been stung?

Over the course of my beekeeping, I think I’ve been stung about 100 times. A couple of memorable times were once during  harvest I was stung three times in the butt as I walked away with their honey (my wife laughs about that one), and another time I tried to work with them on a mild Jan day without my bee suit on thinking it would be too cold for them to come out and bother me but I was wrong and was stung 5 times in the back of my neck.

Quick Team Member Facts

Year Started at Elite: 2004

Areas of Expertise: Automotive EMC test procedures, Whole Vehicle test procedures, and CISPR 25 Chamber Validation test procedures

Education: DeVry University B.S.C.I.S; Waubonsee Community College Certificate in Electronics

Industry Certifications: Certificate in Business Administration and Lean Operations from the University of Illinois at Chicago

Unique Skills and Hobbies: Beekeeping, Bow Hunting, Archery 3D shoots, Harley Davidson Motorcycles, Creating a Hot Pepper Mix, Winemaking 

Craig’s vintage assortment

Personal Motto: Hug a beekeeper and eat more honey (Beekeepers’ motto).