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Chris Campbell, electrical engineer

Employment History

2002 – 2018 : Turner Broadcasting / CNN

Architect and principal engineer of massive, deeply customized monitor and control (M+C) system that allowed staff to M+C Turner’s satellite infrastructure, used for two business critical operations: linear TV distribution and CNN newsgathering. System was based on a network of Linux servers at equipment locations, serving connections to Windows clients at staff locations, including at news bureaus around the globe. Devices were M+C’d via mix of serial, IP, SNMP and GPIO communications. Constant growth and maintenance required close coordination with Turner staff, with satellite equipment vendors, and with the supplier of the underlying M+C system platform.

Application engineering role meant fielding requests for new functionality (or even just vague spitballing) and thinking up ways that the M+C system could be adapted to provide that function.

System admin role meant executing expansions of the system and maintaining smooth operations of the system; daily work on system servers required fluency in Linux tools (e.g. vim, ps, netstat) and concepts (e.g. file system).

Operations support role meant training operations on new capabilities, listening to operations complaints, and occasionally responding to trouble calls that had escalated to me.

Daily use of internal tracking and documentation systems such as Atlassian Confluence, Jira, Remedy and ServiceNow.

Daily leveraging of satellite technology and video transport experience. Extremely rapid cycles of new technology development and implementation. Direct, hands-on experience with broad range of equipment in the entire transmission chain, including:
– SDI video processing and routing (Evertz, Ensemble, Grass Valley)
– MPEG encode (MPEG2, MPEG4/H.264, MPEG-AVC/H.265)
– encryption and authorization tiering (Scientific-Atlanta/Cisco, Harmonic, Motorola/Arris)
– MPEG transports streams (over both ASI/coax and IP/Ethernet)
– multicast IP, IGMP, over-the-top (OTT) streams
– modulation (QPSK, 8PSK, DVB-S/S2, S-A, Newtec, Ericsson)
– upconversion (IF, L-band, C-band, Ku-band, Miteq, GeoSync)
– amplifiers (HPA, TWT, SSPA, Varian, Paradise, Maxtech, Anacom)
– antenna controllers (S-A/Viasat, Andrew, RCI)
– antenna structures (from 2.4m to 15m, prime focus, offset, Cassegrain)
– transmission lines (waveguide including WR75/WR137/WR229, switch and load systems from Specialty Microwave)
– receive systems (LNA/LNB, IFL, demod, decrypt, decode)

Builder and maintainer of online documentation system (wiki) that captured lessons learned by other engineers. Rigorous feedback and updates (keeping an ear to the ground) ensured that the wiki stayed relevant, and helped engineers solve problems in minutes rather than hours.

Public presentations during my time at Turner:

2010 / SMPTE: Source Monitoring in the Broadcast Plant using IPTV: An Implementation at CNN

2017 / SSPI: Satellite Technology Training Guide (materials review for onboarding of new technical staff)

2017 / IEEE: Why Satellite Still Matters: Communications Technology Trends in the TV Business

1996 – 2001 : ViaSat Satellite Networks (formerly a division of Scientific Atlanta)

Systems Engineer for satellite networks that provided voice telephony and circuit-switched data connectivity in a mesh (not star) configuration. Technology maximized satellite bandwidth via “DAMA” frequency management, voice compression algorithms and TDMA-based communications. Systems were built in Atlanta and then shipped out to customer sites and reassembled, typically in third world locations underserved by terrestrial communications. Performed detail design of satellite earth stations ranging from 1.8 meter VSAT terminals up to 11 meter “B station” telephony gateways. Implemented earth station controller systems for monitor and control (M+C) of local assets via serial links and remote assets via satellite links. Led Design Review meetings and conducted ad hoc training of both internal junior staff and external customers.

Frequent work with international customers and occasional travel to exotic locations to complete system build-out and to perform customer presentations, training and site acceptance testing.

Occasional work with R+D to isolate product flaws and flesh out new product offerings, including an asymmetric broadband delivery platform that leveraged DVB satellite carriers.

1992 – 1995 : nuclear power generation

Prior to EE degree, employed as Mechanical Engineer at several nuclear power plants, conducting diagnostic and performance testing. Used proprietary test equipment to measure performance and diagnose problems in fluid flow subsystems in operational commercial nuclear power plants. Contracted by utilities to visit plants during “outages” and spend 6-8 weeks racing through diagnostics work mandated by federal regulations to ensure that critical nuclear safety systems were meeting their design basis requirements. When back in Atlanta, not working a plant outage, worked with R+D teams to prototype new measurement systems.