Self-driving cars, smart cities and factories, and other revolutionary innovations will soon become the norm because of advancements in wireless technology based on radio frequency (RF) and microwave engineering. Tom Comberiate ’05 is especially interested in these new science and technology concepts and their implications for the future, as he has dedicated his career to RF technology development and analysis.
Tom graduated with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in just three years, thanks to credits earned for his Advanced Placement coursework at Mount Saint Joseph. He went on to pursue a master’s degree in electrical engineering from UIUC, and his thesis work in characterizing distortion in digital beamforming phased array antennas earned him a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship, which funded his doctoral studies.
After completing his dissertation in 2013, Tom began his career at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, where he’d interned for many summers in college. In 2017, he followed some colleagues to a small business called Parry Labs, where they designed phased array antennas for drones.
“The coolest part of working in a small business is that you get to do a little bit of everything,” Tom shares. “During this time, I discovered that I have a knack for business development and proposal writing. I traveled all over the country pitching our antenna technology to various commercial and government customers and won a few research and development programs that grew our business. Work was fun during this time, but home was even more exciting. I married my wife, Emily, in 2015 and we had our first two sons, Max and Leo, in 2016 and 2018, respectively.”
In 2019, Tom started at Raytheon Technologies, where he architects and designs receivers and exciters for cutting-edge radar and communications systems, many of which will be operated in space. Tom was also involved in the antenna and receiver/exciter testing for the prototype versions of the radars that will be on next-generation Navy destroyers.
Like so many other professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic, Tom does much of his work from home these days, which has been especially beneficial as he and Emily had their third son, Peter, last October.