Mission and History
Physicians have the Hippocratic oath. The Enterprise has the Prime Directive. While the patients we operate on are generally mechanical, and we don’t mind interfering with civilizations so long as we are doing something positive, Quantum Signal’s mission is to research, develop, and deliver key enabling technology solutions and products to our customers and partners. We are a customer centric, solution focused technology developer:
- QS is customer centric – we work to help our customer’s pain go away
- QS is solution focused – we focus on creating solutions that solve problems
- QS is a technology developer – we create and leverage technology as part of our solutions
This mission keeps us focused on what is most important; building solutions that meet the real-world needs of our customers. Our technologies and products work, and work well – which is why QS’ solutions are used all over the world in offices, labs, retail, roadways, game-rooms, and more. We do not stop until the job is done and our customer is highly satisfied.
We’re not new to engineering, and QS isn’t a startup. QS is a Limited Liability Company launched in 1999 by its co-founders, Dr. William J. Williams and Dr. Mitchell M. Rohde, as a spin-off of the University of Michigan College of Engineering. Dr. Williams was a 35 year veteran faculty member with an extensive reputation in advanced signal processing and a pioneer in Time Frequency Analysis, while Dr. Rohde was a newly minted PhD with experience in electrical and biomedical engineering, a knack for electronics and hardware hacking, and a life-long passion for robots. Long before Big Data and AI became the rage, they built QS with the notion that creating and applying intelligent algorithms to extract useful information from noisy data could change the way many industries operate. And as the last twenty years have shown, they weren’t wrong: the entire world has embraced algorithms and what they can do to make life better.
Many ask: how did QS grow from a Professor and student working out of a living room into the powerhouse it is today? The road was long and winding indeed. The company received its first contract from a major automotive OEM in April 2000, and in October of that year moved to its first 450 square foot “headquarters” in the historical Northern Brewery in Ann Arbor. QS also exclusively licensed two key patents of Dr. Williams' technology from the University of Michigan in early 2001.
Over the next several years QS continued to attract interest and increased work from an expanding clientele. The tiny QS engineering team applied their highly versatile technology to solve a wide range of problems, including enhanced automotive crash analysis, solve noise and vibration issues, enhance defense communications, and speaker verification based security. In addition to providing consulting, education, and contract R&D, QS continued to develop in-house technologies for future commercialization.
This in-house technology research lead to a three-year, $1.83M grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Advanced Technology Program (ATP) in October 2002. The focus of QS’ ATP program was on developing and extending the company's unique, patented pattern recognition technology for biometrics applications. The ATP program helped QS expand to triple its space and staff, moving to a new office in Northeast Ann Arbor across from synthetic aperture radar pioneers ERIM and the Pfizer research and development complex. Novel, advanced face and speech-based biometric algorithms were developed under this grant, and some of the technology from this program is in use today in police stations, retail stores, and laboratories around the world.
QS continued to work on other technologies concurrently with the biometrics program, and was recognized for some of its non-biometrics related contributions in Advanced Manufacturing by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) in 2002. As the company grew, so did the capabilities and pursuit of strategic areas. In 2004 QS formed a new modeling and simulation (M&S) group to bring video gaming technology to more “serious” training and engineering applications. QS demonstrated the “GTSI” trainer for the Army, leveraging Xboxes and demonstrating the usefulness of interactive software and low-cost hardware in the military vehicle development process.
Headquarters were moved again in January 2005 to a larger suite (~8,000 sq. ft) in south Ann Arbor to allow for additional expansion, and in 2005 QS launched an effort to develop advanced ground robotics solutions and make them more intlligent and easy to use. Both the M&S and robotics efforts have grown and flourished since their inception, completing over a dozen major efforts and delivered state-of-the-art products to many customers.
In 2010, QS expanded again, awarded a Michigan MEGA tax credit and acquiring/relocating to its current headquarters in historic Union School in Saline. This move, highly lauded by community leaders, brought the company to a small, growing downtown and provided 42,000 square feet of unique, flexible space that reflected the companies value and culture. The move resulted in a nomination for Ann Arbor Deal of the Year in 2010 and QS was named to Crains Detroit's 25 Companies to Watch in 2010. In 2013 QS was featured by the Detroit News for its innovative culture and environment. In 2014 QS made history when it was awarded the first autonomous vehicle testing license plates in the State of Michigan, and in 2016 demonstrated the first autonomous security robotic system engineered for harsh-weather environments.
What are we up to now? We’re working on the future, and making history. Everyday. For our clients.
QS’ Innovative HQ and Culture
Great ideas and innovation lay at the heart of everything we do, and creating and nourishing a culture that supports creativity has been a bedrock principle of the organization since day one. We believe strongly that unique ideas are born in unique spaces, thus QS HQ could never be an ordinary engineering cube-farm. In 2010 we took the opportunity to acquire historic Union School in Saline, Michigan, which had been in operation as a school since it was launched in 1930. Preserving the amazing history and leveraging the “good bones” of the building, QS invested to transform it from educational facility to high-tech workspace. Classrooms became offices, storage space became autonomous vehicle garage, art room became mechanical and electrical labs, and the three acre plot transformed into testing for surveillance and robots systems as well as staff picnicking. The 42,000 square foot facility reflects the creative, inquisitive, learning-based that exists at QS each and every day. It contains all the tools and resources necessary to address the wide array of systems engineering and technology development that goes, and facilitates the development of next-gen solutions rain or shine, day and night, 365 per year. Unique features abound:
- Game Lounge: this fun area helps staff feed their minds and “explore” current and historic gaming technologies, crash when tired from late-night coding, go head-to-head with their colleagues in hard-core strategy adventures on game night, or drop their kids when school is cancelled and they need to be local to mom/dad.
- Gymnasium: the old-school wood plank floor gym provides an active place for the team to blow off steam; from running laps, to shooting hoops, to climbing ropes, to twice-per-week lunchtime volleyball – it’s always open 24/7, complete with fully restored men’s and women’s locker rooms to get rid of the sweat! Oh, and the gym also serves as our indoor robot testing facility...
- “Space Invaders” Break Room: team members can store, heat, or eat their lunch here, get a coffee or pop, grab a snack, check out the announcements board, or see how they stack up in one of our old-school arcade game tourneys. Did we mention the crazy-good doughnuts or BBQs?
- Performance Stage: If you’re ready to show your co-workers your crazy-great karaoke skills, show off your banjo skills, or finally get to premiere that one-man/woman show you’ve been working on, we’ve got the venue for you!
- Nuke Shelter: originally intended to protect students in case of attack, this 80’x15’ room has super-thick walls and a bunkerish, other-worldly feel. We are dedicated to the safety and security of our staff, before AND after the apocalypse hits.
- Dungeon: the QS dungeon was originally a coal room, but now serves as an “inspiration” chamber for team members. More bugs, more inspiration time – that’s the rule.
Our HQ is constantly improving, and is located in a great spot; we are in downtown Saline, directly adjacent to Henne Field (for afternoon walks, Frisbee, and more) and a handful of amazing local eateries, bars, and shops. While we serve an international client base and tackle monster challenges, we absolutely value our place in the Saline community – and our staff does too.
The bottom line is: if you’re looking for an engineering company whose defines “serious” by the number of neckties worn, ISO certificates, or corporate monoculture, you’ve come to the wrong place. If, however, the serious you are looking for is the creativity and quality of the solution, we’re here and ready to help you build the future!
QS has built an outstanding management team, with a plethora of skills, a unique background, and a driving desire to make customers happy through award winning solutions. Management team members include:
Mitchell M. Rohde, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer
Ph.D. Biomedical Engineering University of Michigan
M.S. Electrical Engineering Systems University of Michigan
M.S. Biomedical Engineering University of Michigan
B.S. Electrical Engineering University of Michigan
Mitch co-founded Quantum Signal following his graduation from the University of Michigan in 1999. Since that time, he has grown the company from a tiny startup into a powerful engineering research and development organization, building solutions that are in use across many fields and around the world. Mitch lives and breathes engineering, and has designed, built, and tested such diverse devices as biomedical instruments, autonomous vehicles, forensic appliances, surveillance systems, and more. Over the past twenty years he has spearheaded and directed dozens of advanced research and development projects and product development efforts for clients in the public and private sectors. Mitch has specific expertise in signal and image processing, robotics, real-time instrumentation, neural interfaces, and measurement systems, and has a wide variety of patents and publications. He also is an avid collector and restorer of arcade games, with over 150 pieces in his unique collection. Mitch is a member of Sigma Xi, NDIA, AUSA, IEEE, Eta Kappa Nu, and Tau Beta Pi.
Robert M. Lupa, Chief Technology Officer
B.S. Computer Science, Oakland University
Mr. Lupa is the Chief Technology Officer at Quantum Signal. He oversees all technical programs and direction, including efforts in mobile robotics, data mining, simulation, and more. Rob holds a BS in Computer Science from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan and has over 25 years of professional software development experience. Amongst a number of positions, he was formerly Chief Architect for the multimedia collaboration client (CUseeMe) at White Pine Software, where he developed video processing, encoding, and multimedia communication technology. Rob has also previously worked at Sprint PCS, and has experience designing, programming, and deploying scalable software applications. Rob specializes in software development related to high performance networking, real-time media and scalable architecture. He is also an experienced restauranteur, and previously created and operated a highly successful eatery in Mt Vernon, Illinois.
Ms. Disa Webb, CPA, Chief Financial Officer
BBA Eastern Michigan University
Ms. Webb serves as QS’ Chief Financial Officer. In her role, she provides oversight in accounting, financial reporting, and assorted business operations. Disa spent over 20 years in public accounting where she formed a team of consultants who provided small to medium size businesses with accounting, tax, and consulting services. Her wealth of experience and attention to detail ensures the company stays in compliance and in a position to grow and thrive. In her non-existent spare time, Disa likes to hike the volcanoes and glaciers of Iceland, from where her family originally hails. She is a member of MACPA and AICPA.
Ms. Nicole Cushing, Contracting Lead
B.S. Biological Sciences '02 Siena Heights University
Ms. Cushing serves as QS' Contracting Lead and Operations Manager. Nicole came to QS with an extensive background in customer service and client management, including diverse work in real estate tax, insurance, cabinet manufacturing, and more. Nicole joined the QS team in 2002 as one of the original six staffers, leading a critical multi-year biometrics experiment in the company’s formative years. Her role has grown extensively and shifted to the business side, supporting all aspects of the contracting process from the initial proposal to closeout. She has years of experience in Federal contracting support and compliance, including managing activities related to incurred cost audits, invoicing, property control, and related areas. In addition to her contracting responsibilities, Nicole also currently oversees day to day facility operations and staff, ensuring the office runs efficiently and effectively. In her (non-existent) spare time, she enjoys teaching children's classes in the evenings and coordinating and hosting interactive, sea-life focused events for educational purposes.
Steve M. Rohde, Ph.D., Director of Vehicle Platforms and Engineering (Emeritus)
Ph.D. Mathematics Lehigh University
M.S. Mathematics Lehigh University
B.S. Electrical Engineering New Jersey Institute of Technology
Dr. Rohde is the Director of Vehicle Platforms and Engineering Emeritus. He is a widely recognized authority on the role of mathematics and computers in automotive engineering. He recently retired as Technical Director for Global Technology Planning, Electrical and Controls Technology, Virtual Reality, and Training and Communications in General Motors' Math-Based activity. Dr. Rohde has served in a number of capacities on ASME leadership committees, and was Chairman of Executive Committees of the ASME Computers in Engineering and Tribology Divisions. He has authored over 100 papers, edited nine books, and holds several patents. Dr. Rohde has received numerous honors and awards from such organizations as the ASME, the American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM), and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. He has given a wide range of invited talks at Universities, conferences, and organizations worldwide, and was named a "Distinguished Fellow" of the ASME in 2004. Dr. Rohde is a member of SAE, Tau Beta Pi, Eta Kappa Nu, Sigma Xi, and Fellow of the ASME.
William J. Williams, Ph.D., Chief Scientist (Emeritus)
Ph.D. Electrical Engineering, University of Iowa
M.S. Electrical Engineering, University of Iowa
M.S. Physiology, University of Michigan
B.S. Electrical Engineering, Ohio State University
Dr. Williams co-founded Quantum Signal and is the Chief Scientist Emeritus. He is a recognized expert in the field of signal processing, and has published over 170 articles in such highly regarded journals as Proceedings of the IEEE, IEEE Transactions on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing, Physica D, and Mechanical Systems and Signal Processing. He has written book chapters and given seminars at some of the world's most highly respected institutions. As a professor at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Dr. Williams has developed and taught professional education courses in advanced signal processing techniques to engineers in a wide variety of industrial pursuits. He holds several patents and is widely known for his contributions to the field of joint time-frequency analysis. Dr. Williams is an IEEE Fellow and member of Sigma Xi and Tau Beta Pi.
QS is a growing engineering company headquartered in downtown Saline, MI, three miles from Ann Arbor and a hundred feet from several awesome bars and restaurants. At QS, we work with clients to build new products and technologies based on state-of-the-art algorithms and software. Many of our projects, programs, and products revolve around intelligent ground vehicles and mobile robotics. Markets include homeland security, defense, automotive, consumer products, and anything else where there’s a client with a requirement and the need for a smart, driven engineering team.
We work hard and we play hard, and it's paying off. QS is always looking for highly motivated and intelligent individuals to be part of our growing team. All job positions are located at QS HQ in Saline, MI. We offer a competitive salary with potential for bonuses, generous benefits, flexible hours, fun and relaxed environment, casual dress code, the opportunity to learn new technologies and work on some really cool projects, and much more. Benefits include health, dental, short and long term disability, life, 401k, and more. US citizenship required. Quantum Signal is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.Join Our Team