Jonathan Poulter, Developer in Wilmington, DE, United States
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Jonathan Poulter

Verified Expert  in Engineering

Electromechanical Engineer and Developer

Wilmington, DE, United States
Toptal Member Since
February 2, 2024

Jon is a creative and critically-thinking electromechanical engineer with 12 years of experience in diverse industry segments. He has a proven ability to combine logical thinking, problem-solving, and strong programming with time management and leadership qualities. Jon has extensive experience in testing and on-schedule commissioning of systems for everything from a NASA mission to industrial automation projects, including an AGV system at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.


C++, SOLIDWORKS, AutoCAD, Microcontrollers, Yaskawa Motoman Robot...
Logical Systems
PLC, Human-machine Interface (HMI), AutoCAD...
Hitachi America
Excel VBA, Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), Microsoft Excel




Preferred Environment

Windows, Visual Studio Code (VS Code), Rockwell Automation, AutoCAD, Autodesk Fusion 360

The most amazing...

...project I've worked on is the commissioning of the rocket motor control system for part of the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) mission.

Work Experience

Senior Electromechanical Engineer

2021 - PRESENT
  • Programmed and tested a robotic arm and custom end effector to demonstrate automated installation and removal of mechanically locking fasteners.
  • Prototyped an electromagnetic adaptor for a torque tool to work with a magnetically locking nut plate.
  • Designed and specified the electrical components of a proposed satellite-docking mechanism.
Technologies: C++, SOLIDWORKS, AutoCAD, Microcontrollers, Yaskawa Motoman Robot, Embedded Systems, Embedded C++

Controls Engineer

2016 - 2022
Logical Systems
  • Automated batching for a chemical manufacturing facility using ControlLogix with a distributed human-machine interface (HMI) system.
  • Designed and programmed replacement electrical and control panels to modernize natural gas metering equipment.
  • Wrote technical documentation, including project proposals, training documents, functional specifications, and software standards.
  • Oversaw and advised entry-level controls engineers assigned to assist with various automation projects.
Technologies: PLC, Human-machine Interface (HMI), AutoCAD, Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), Visual Basic

Engineering Technician

2016 - 2016
Hitachi America
  • Performed daily, weekly, and monthly preventative maintenance tasks to maintain a linear accelerator, patient positioning system, and C-ring X-ray scanner.
  • Set precedents for future systems by sending testing data to Hitachi's global headquarters and the Food and Drug Administration for analysis.
  • Wrote code to simplify the analysis of treatment data using Visual Basic in Microsoft Excel. This Excel Workbook used multiple scripts to summarize the data automatically for easy understanding.
Technologies: Excel VBA, Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), Microsoft Excel

Systems Installation Engineer

2013 - 2016
  • Installed 10 automated guided vehicle (AGV) systems, performing electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, and software testing and debugging.
  • Worked with the R&D department to test experimental navigation technology to eliminate the need for LiDAR-based navigation.
  • Wrote custom, vehicle-specific code for every installation to meet customer needs and varied environments.
Technologies: C++, AutoCAD, Acceptance Testing

Avionics Engineer

2012 - 2013
Alliant Techsystems (ATK)
  • Spearheaded performance and environmental survival testing of electronic control units and electromechanical actuators for the LADEE mission system.
  • Performed data analysis using MATLAB to ensure performance specifications were being met.
  • Wrote technical documents, including test plans, procedures, and reports.
Technologies: MATLAB, Acceptance Testing, Performance Testing, Simulink

Assistive Robotic Knee Brace
For my master's thesis project, I designed, programmed, and built a robotic assistive knee brace prototype, designed to aid wearers with a sit-to-stand motion. I completed it as a solo project but worked with my advisor from the IRON Lab within the ATLAS Institute at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

The platform the brace was built upon was a simple off-the-shelf knee brace purchased from a pharmacy. Using 3D-printed brackets, two linear actuators were mounted on either side to provide consistent, even force to the wearer's joint to allow motion. Limit switches were installed in the 3D-printed brackets to ensure motion stopped in the same position each time. The microcontroller used to operate the system was an Adafruit Feather, programmed in C++ through the Arduino IDE.

Initially, control of the knee brace required a PC-based user interface through both hardwired and Bluetooth connections. The final version incorporated electromyography (EMG) sensors, which can detect muscle activity. With sensors attached to the muscles of the brace wearer's leg, the controller could tell when the user was trying to bend or straighten their leg and actuate accordingly.

Robotic Installation of Self-Locking Bolts Using a Custom End Effector
Self-locking, vibration-resistant bolts are of great interest to those in the aerospace and defense industries. With an increased focus on in-space servicing, assembly, and manufacturing (ISAM), the use of safety wire fasteners is not realistic. Automating the installation of fasteners that don't require safety wire could be crucial for building space infrastructure.

Working with a team of mechanical engineers at Enduralock, we designed a custom end effector that could be installed on any robotic arm and interface with Enduralock's fasteners. Given that the projected environment is in space, gravity and friction could not be relied upon to retain the fasteners before installation or after removal. Using an electromagnetic clutch and brake, a cam system was developed that could retain Enduralock's Silver Lock fastener without interfering with the locking mechanism.

Using an Arduino MEGA 2560, a Mountz torque tool, and the previously mentioned clutch and brake, a full prototype was built and demonstrated on a Yaskawa robotic arm. A full installation and removal cycle was performed autonomously to meet the project requirements.

Rocket Motor Pitch and Yaw Control System
While working for Alliant Techsystems (now Orbital ATK), the company was contracted to develop the third-stage rocket motor for NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) mission. As a member of the avionics team, I was tasked with leading the commissioning of the Electrical Control Unit (ECU) and Electromechanical Actuators (EMAs). This started with writing an in-depth test plan and test procedure for approval by all interested parties.

Throughout the performance of the test procedure, functional tests were performed on a custom set up, requiring the actuators to perform pre-programmed maneuvers. Data from these tests were collected and analyzed using custom MATLAB functions to ensure performance metrics were being met. These performance tests were performed before and after vibration resistance tests and before, during, and after environmental survival tests, including thermal cycling and thermal vacuum testing.

After all of the testing was completed, I was responsible for writing a test report detailing the results of all of the testing that had been required. Upon approval, the ECU and EMAs were mounted to a rocket motor and utilized to put a satellite in orbit around the moon in 2013.
2019 - 2021

Master's Degree in Robotics

University of Colorado - Boulder, CO, USA

2008 - 2012

Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering

The Pennsylvania State University - University Park, PA, USA


Engineer in Training (EIT)

National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES)


AutoCAD, MATLAB, Microsoft Excel, SOLIDWORKS, Autodesk Fusion 360


C++, C, Python, JavaScript, C#, Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), Visual Basic, Embedded C++, Excel VBA, Simulink, Embedded C


Windows, Visual Studio Code (VS Code)


Acceptance Testing



Industry Expertise

Yaskawa Motoman Robot


Microcontrollers, PLC, Human-machine Interface (HMI), Rockwell Automation, Software Development, Performance Testing, Mathematics, Ethics, Circuit Analysis, Signal Processing, Electronics, Control Systems, Software Engineering, Robotics, Electrical Engineering, Arduino IDE, Embedded Systems, Electrical Design, Physics, Engineering Design, Robot Operating System (ROS), Machine Learning, User Interface (UI), Economics, Linear Systems, Power Management Systems, Communication, Computer Networking, Digital Systems, Computer Systems, 3D CAD, User Experience (UX), Technical Writing

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