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Vicor engineer Chris Swartz achieves senior member status at Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Vicor wishes to extend our congratulations to Chris Swartz, Sr. Principal Electrical Engineer, for achieving senior member status at Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

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Chris R. Swartz, Senior Principal Engineer/Manager, SiP & Advanced Applications

To achieve this status an engineer must be actively practicing in an IEEE field for at least 10 years, have shown “significant performance” and received professional endorsements from at least three IEEE leadership members. “Chris is very deserving of this honor,” said Robert Gendron, VP of Vicor Product Development. “He is an exemplary engineer and has helped many of our customers with extremely challenging applications. He has contributed immeasurably to Vicor’s success over the years.”

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Only 10% of IEEE’s 400,000 members reach senior member status. Chris has been at Vicor for 15 years, supporting a variety of customers and advancing Vicor engineering leadership.

Question and Answer with Chris Swartz

Q:   What factors influenced you to pursue a career in electrical engineering?

Swartz:  Probably my Dad was the most significant influence on my decision to pursue engineering. He was an Engineer with IBM and he always seemed to be highly respected and he never complained about work. When I was a kid, he took me to computer sites when he worked on the weekends. It was great, it never seemed like work. Plus, he had an awesome set of tools. I was the only kid who could do math in both HEX and Binary in first grade. It was the only time in my life when I felt like a genius! Unfortunately, it didn’t last long…


Q:  What inspired you to join the IEEE in the first place?

Swartz:  A mentor of mine suggested I join IEEE. He said it was prestigious and would be good for my career.


Q:   What does it mean to you to achieve the status of senior member of IEEE?

Swartz:  Senior member status to me signifies that maybe I actually accomplished something respectable in my career. During the application process, I had to review my career. At one point, I actually designed (16) full products from start to finish in like an 11 year period.

Q:   How long have you been an engineer and what motivates you most?

Swartz:  I have been an engineer for 38 years. There is nothing I like better than solving problems. The harder the problem the better I like it…other people’ problems! If they were my problems, it would mean I probably created them. You don’t get paid to create problems, only prevent or solve them.


Q:   You have been working at Vicor for nearly 15 years. Is there a project, professional accomplishment or personal achievement that is your biggest source of pride? Please describe.

Swartz:  There have been many but the one that stands out is designing a 48 – 12V automotive battery charger for an electric taxi for a company in India. It was a challenging design as it had to work at 65°C in a sealed box. I used one of our ZVS Buck Regulators. It achieved 97% efficiency and I also designed the thermal management custom heatsink and got it through full automotive qualification and EMI after traveling to India. To make things even more fun, it was a two sided PCB only!! It was a great experience. I got to meet many good engineers in India and really enjoyed going there. Vicor has offered many opportunities like this over the years.


Q:   You have achieved a great deal and experienced a lot over your full 38 year career.  What career advice would you offer a new engineer starting at Vicor?

Swartz:  As with any career, my advice would be to make sure you love it. Most people have to work for some time and if you love what you do, it will never feel like you are working. Engineering is not the work that I do. It is what I have become. I am very proud to say I am an engineer. I think I will always be one. That is a very good feeling to have in life.


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