Steve Maher has been actively involved with VisuALS longer than any other team member. Steve is an undergraduate and graduate level professor at Oklahoma Christian University and the chair of the graduate school of engineering and computer science.
In December 2014 a masters student in engineering, Ash Srinivas, approached Steve with the idea of having students work on an affordable communications solution for ALS patients. That discussion began the lengthy R&D process that culminates next week with the official launch of the VisuALS product.
But VisuALS isn’t Steve’s first product launch. Prior to joining the faculty at OC, Steve worked 19 years in Silicon Valley for Intel. His first product launch was for the 80287 math coprocessor. Steve was the primary Product Engineer responsible for getting the product out of Design and into Volume Production. That was his first exposure to a product that shipped millions of units. Other jobs he held at Intel include Quality and Reliability Engineering Manager, Failure Analysis Lab Manager, Post-Silicon Validation Manager, Debug Lab Manager, and Sr. Manager of Design Validation and Debug Technologies. Along the way, he performed leadership roles for more than 19 product launches.
Since Ash initiated the idea, Steve has mentored two undergraduate senior capstone systems engineering teams working on the solution. The first developed a working prototype and the second built the “minimal viable product” that caught Carl Phelps’ attention this past January.
Since the official formation of VisuALS Technology Solutions, LLC in April, Steve has served as Chief Technology and Product Officer. Many of the skills he gained at Intel came into play as he directed product development, led feature testing, interacted with beta customers to gain insights, performed QA testing, and provided leadership and guidance to our team of young software engineers. Without his efforts and leadership, we wouldn’t be in a position to hit our September 1 launch date.
But, this coming Monday marks the first day of Fall Semester, and OC needs Steve in the classroom and labs working with students. We are thankful that Preston Kemp and Tyler Sriver, members of the most recent capstone systems engineering team, have found a way to rejoin the VisuALS team. Preston is taking on Steve’s CTO role, while Tyler takes on the CPO function. While they both have already been helping the development team, we’re excited to have them back in a more significant role.
That doesn’t mean that Steve is abandoning VisuALS – far from it. Anyone who has seen him interact with our customers and the ALS community knows that a big part of his heart is with the VisuALS mission. He will continue to work with the team, especially CPO Tyler and CEO Russ to set the future direction for the product, and make sure that it’s meeting the needs of customers.