David Sparks

David Sparks

B.S.M.E University of Michigan, 1981
small business management
hydromechanical design
mechanical design
system design

Mr. Sparks has been involved in mechanical / hydromechanical design and testing of sonobuoys and other sensor systems for most of his career. Before co-founding SeaLandAire, early in 1997, Mr. Sparks spent 16 years at Sparton Electronics as a Sr. Mechanical Engineer. As the leader of the Hydromechanical Analysis and Design group, he was involved in the mechanical and hydromechanical design of all Sparton’s production and developmental passive sonobuoys, as well as Sparton’s AN/SSQ-58B moored sonobuoy.His role in Sparton’s sonobuoy development group included project engineer, lead mechanical engineer, hydromechanical engineer, and hydromechanical test director. He is experienced in mechanical packaging, shock/vibration testing, sonobuoy air descent certification, sensor system deployment, hydromechanical design, sonobuoy suspension design/testing, array design/testing, and mechanically induced noise certification.

Brian Montague
Director of Engineering

B.S.M.E Cedarville University, 2004
modeling and simulation
autonomous systems
mechanical systems
advanced energy

Mr. Montague has been a key member of SeaLandAire’s technical team and has made significant contributions to the successful designs on all of SeaLandAire’s projects since joining the company full time in 2004. His specific interests are renewable energy systems and small, sustainable autonomous vehicles. Mr. Montague functions primarily as a high-level concept designer and systems engineer in project integration. His involvement has included aerodynamic design of a rigid sail for wind energy harnessing, rim-driven ducted thruster development, solar array design, and oversight of several high efficiency power conversion circuit designs for energy harvesting and power transfer. He was also involved in the detailed mechanical design and embedded code / GUI software development for SeaLandAire’s family of autonomous surface vehicles. He is currently serving as project engineer on DARPA’s SB072-040 Unmanned Underwater Riverine craft (UURC), and also led the DARPA Persistent Ocean Surveillance (POS) autonomous station keeping buoy project.

Jerry Cole
Director of Business Development

B.A Physics, Hope College, 1972
hydrophone element design
acoustic transducer design
acoustic array design

Mr. Cole has been Program manager for multiple government programs with both design and manufacturing aspects. He has extensive experience in the design and manufacturing of military, medical and commercial electronics, air and underwater transducers, and implementation of different sensor types. His technical background includes underwater transducer design, electronic self-noise analysis, shock and vibration, FEA analysis with COSMOS, air and underwater ultrasonic sensors, IR sensor implementation, capacitance sensor, flow sensor, pressure sensor, seismic sensors and electronic design. Numerous omni-directional and directional hydrophones have been developed for both sonobuoy and special applications. He has developed mathematical models to aid in the design process and has modeled and fabricated active transducers, such as air-backed cylinders, free-flooded rings, bender projectors and slotted cylinder projectors.

John (J.P) Lien
Senior Research Scientist

Ph.D.M.E. NC State, 2011
M.S.E.E. Illinois – UC, 2003
B.S.Cp.E. Virginia Tech, 2001
B.S.Math  Virginia Tech, 2001
control system design
computer vision
digital signal processing
machine learning & optimization

Dr. Lien develops new technology in guidance, navigation, control and signal processing for autonomous vehicles and leads embedded software development.  He joined SeaLandAire in 2012, and has worked on modeling of acoustic transducers and arrays,path planning and obstacle avoidance for autonomous vehicles, as well as acoustic and magnetic sensing.  Previously he developed novel target tracking algorithms, designed embedded hardware and software for underwater vehicles, and modeled aircraft dynamics.  His dissertation research focused on high-fidelity models of piezoelectric transducers for fuel injectors.

Dave Brown
Director of Laboratory Operations

A.E.E.T Lawrence Technological University, 1989
system integration
PCB population
system test

Mr. Brown oversees all efforts conducting within the prototyping laboratory at SeaLandAire. In this role, he manages 3 technicians, focusing on most fast-response prototying needs, from custom PCB population to data acquisition systems. Prior to coming to SeaLandAire, Mr. Brown worked for the General Motors Research Lab, gaining experience in DC PMSMs, actuators, and power electronics. Mr. Brown began his career in the Navy, working 7 years on ships as an electronics technician.

Luke Belfie
Principal Mechanical Engineer

B.S.M.E Michigan State University, 1982

hydromechanical design
program management
mechanical design
system test

Mr. Belfie has over 27 years of project management and mechanical design experience on military, aerospace, medical and automotive products. He has extensive experience with electronic packaging, design of mechanisms, performance testing, engineering documentation and program management. Mr. Belfie joined SeaLandAire full time in 2006 after supporting MIUGS and other programs on a part time basis over the previous three years.
While at SeaLandAire Mr. Belfie has acted as the project engineer and lead mechanical engineer for the MDAR (Miniature Directional Acoustic Receiver) and MCIAS (Miniature Commandable Impulsive Acoustic Source) miniature sonobuoy SBIR programs which are successfully demonstrating directional DIFAR sonobuoy performance and impulsive sound source capability in the MJU-10 flare form factor which is 1/16 the size and weight of a conventional A-size sonobuoy.

During 20 years of employment with Sparton Electronics, he served as Project Engineer on the Neutrally Buoyant Infrasonic DIFAR (NBIDS), and Mobile Inshore Undersea Warfare (MIUW) submarine detection programs for the US Navy. He was lead mechanical engineer on the qualification program for Q-110B undersea explosive sound source. He conducted data acquisition, test, analysis and design to reduce flow and sea state induced noise for Navy sonobuoy programs including Q-53, Q-57, 53X, and AN/SSQ-77. In addition he served as project engineer and or mechanical design engineer for several durable medical equipment programs including air distribution equipment; a surgical blood pressure monitor, a hand held device used to measure blood carbon dioxide, and devices to reduce body temperature. Automotive products included packaging of high voltage power distribution units for electric vehicles, vehicle performance monitoring equipment and a modular mobile computer. Before joining Sparton Electronics, Mr. Belfie worked for four years at General Electric with an emphasis on packaging and qualifying power supplies and electronic card cages for military and commercial communications satellites.

Dennis Byrne
Principal Electrical Engineer

B.S.E.E Michigan Technological University, 1976

analog / digital circuits
software development
power electronics
signal processing

Mr. Byrne has been involved in electronics engineering and project/program management throughout his career. Mr. Byrne joined SeaLandAire in 2005. His latest assignment was as acting Principal Investigator for an underwater detection system combining the data (data fusion) from acoustic and E-Field sensors. Mr. Byrne was the Principal Investigator on a weapons fire detection system; fusing acoustic and IR detection data. He has contributed electrical designs and developments of power management, power conversion, data link communications and underwater acoustic electronics to underwater and surface craft. He was responsible for the electrical design, development and test process for a multi-channel, low noise preamp used in a high flow, directional, acoustic sensor. Mr. Byrne is also a contributor to proposal and report efforts for the company.
Prior to joining SeaLandAire, Mr. Byrne was one of two Staff Engineers at Sparton Electronics for 5 years. Mr. Byrne was employed by Sparton Electronics for over 27 years. He started as a design engineer (electronics and RF electronics) on a new, sensor surveillance system for the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Border Patrol, to be installed on the US side of the Texas/Mexico border. He became the field service representative and project engineer over the four years of his involvement in the program. Mr. Byrne continued as an engineer and project engineer on numerous sonobuoy development programs (VLAD II, TSB, ERAPS, ADLFP, HPLF, An/SSQ-62 FY04 Redesign) and commercial sensor programs (rear parking assist, passive acoustic traffic monitoring, remote tire pressure monitoring). Mr. Byrne functioned as a technical Laboratory Manager and a Program Manager for a number of years on NUAMP before returning to full time electrical and electronic systems design work. Prior to Mr. Byrne’s career with Sparton Electronics, he was employed by Motorola, Low Cost and Marine Radio Division as an audio and RF engineer.

Mr. Byrne’s technical areas of involvement include; sub-hertz audio filtering and amplification through supersonic frequencies, DC power distribution and power converters along with power amplifiers (a few watts to >1000 watts), microcontroller, microprocessor, DSP hardware and firmware designs along with discrete logic and CPLD designs, and HF/VHF/UHF RF designs. Mr. Byrne holds an extra class, amateur radio license

Greg Hughes
Electrical Engineer

B.S.E.E Saginaw Valley State University, 2003

software development
embedded electronics
system integration
pcb layout

Mr. Hughes has been an essential member to the SeaLandAire team since joining the operation full time in 2006. Through programs such a DARPA’s persistent ocean surveillance station keeping buoy, Greg gained tremendous expertise in low-power embedded systems for distributed processing. Recently, in programs that do not pose such low-power requirements, Greg has begun to focus attention on larger CPU systems for autonomous vehicle control, such as the Technologix TS-7800, utitlizing a Linux OS. He is a start-to-finish engineer, actively participating and contributing through all stages of embedded systems design: establishing required functionality and constraints, schematic design, component selection, board layout, software, implementation, system integration, and field test.