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Chief Engineer

Richard Youngworth
Chief Engineer, Riyo LLC

How do you spend a typical day?
Typically I exercise in the morning (some weightlifting or a walk with my wife Kathleen) and then I get right to work. I have formed my own company and perform engineering services and develop intellectual property. It is a virtual company as I work out of a home office, but I maintain great opportunities to continually work with talented people that are motivated and communicate well. What I do varies depending on the day the tasks at hand. My activities vary from some Skype meetings and e-mails, doing optical design and analysis (for traditional lens or illumination systems), and work on the business side of the company. I really do enjoy the technical work and challenges and am constantly grateful I have chosen this path. A few evenings a week Kathleen and I exercise (aerobics) and then generally I wind down and relax. Some days of the week I also spend some time on volunteer work (often OSA and SPIE activities).

What (if anything) would you change?
On the personal end, I am very happy with where I am. I had some excellent advice from my father and managed to make some good decisions early in life. My hard work has paid off. I have so many options and can do so many different things in optics - hence there is nothing I can think of changing. I feel very fortunate to be in this position.

Idealistically, I would love to see a world where resources are used for building societies up, not tearing them down. Of course this would require a very positive shift in human nature that will not happen. It would invariably induce a lot of other challenges for the human race as well. As a maxim, it is okay to have such dreams but being a realist is important. Career-wise, these views have taught me that it is important to work on things that you generally support in your heart as well as your mind, or you may suffer internal strife.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career?
I am a big proponent of work and life balance. It is important to do work you enjoy, get proper compensation for it, and to balance your life with activities that allow you to relax and stay healthy. Also, don't be fooled into thinking that any job, even an ideal one, will not have facets that you don't fancy. Be prepared to spend part of your time doing some things you don't like to do. If you work hard through those tasks you will certainly enjoy the other parts of your job. Ensuring that you wake up each morning looking forward to the day is crucial. A corollary to this advice is to identify what is important to you and then do work that stays within your priorities and achieves your goals.

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