The Boeing Company - KSC - Dan Kovach - Sr. Scientist Specialist
As a senior scientist specialist with The Boeing Company at Cape Canaveral and an inventor/hobbyist in his spare time, Dan Kovach has amassed an impressive body of expertise in microcircuitry. Kovach generously makes that expertise available to the small businesses that turn to the Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program (SATOP) for help.
A native Floridian born in Hollywood, Kovach can trace his interest in engineering back to his childhood, noting that he always was interested in tinkering and building model rockets. “I realized I wanted to be an engineer in seventh grade,” he said. “I remember it well because I had a teacher who had an electrical light blinker gadget that he brought to class. I was really interested in how it worked and I wound up building one myself.”
Kovach went on to study engineering at Miami Dade Community College, where he received an associate of arts degree and an associate of science degree in engineering technology. He then earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Florida Atlantic University.
A member of the Boeing Delta Expendable Launch Team since (1992, Kovach performs various aspects of launch processing and ground support equipment design. Kovach has built his expertise in microcircuitry and microprocessors both on the job and during his spare time.
“Over the years, there have been many changes in electronic components, from the older transistor-transistor logic and dual inline packages to the high density ball grid arrays of today,” Kovach said. “Years ago, I would breadboard various circuits such as instrumentation amplifiers and LED circuits. Then I started playing around with microprocessor circuits, but the boards were big and bulky and required a lot of power back then.
“If I had an idea for something, such as a weather monitor or laser communications device, I would just draw up the circuit and put it together. Ask my wife – I always had some gadget I was working on,” he explained.
Kovach also purchased equipment that allowed him to solder and assemble micro miniature chips for a biomedical application. He currently is working on devices that use high brightness LEDs and one day would like to design a product and take it to market.
“Dan has been of immeasurable assistance to a number of our requestors who have benefited from his microcircuitry knowledge,” said Chris Gilfriche, SATOP senior program engineer. “He is a significant contributing factor to SATOP’s continued success.”
One-On-One With Dan Kovach:
What job you would have had if you had not become an engineer and why?
It's hard to think of doing anything else other than engineering, but I guess I would have been a teacher.
Do you enjoy any pastimes not related to engineering?
Yes – I am an audiophile and home theater enthusiast. I also enjoy gourmet cooking, gardening, and community volunteer work.
Engineering project you wish you could have worked on:
The Mars Exploration Rover. It is the essence of what space exploration is all about.
Personal accomplishment(s) of which you are most proud:
I consider myself a successful engineer. Each project I work on gives me a sense of accomplishment when it's complete. I also am proud of the acrylic modern art paintings I have done.
What do you enjoy most about being a SATOP volunteer?
There is no one thing. When I see a project that is interesting, it starts me thinking. All of the people who post requests for assistance are enthusiastic about their projects. Their enthusiasm is wonderful to see and it gives me a jump-start of energy trying to find solutions. It's hard to describe the feeling you get when you find a solution and present it to the requestor – it's very rewarding. One of the best things about all of this is that it allows me to see problems in a different perspective, and gives me ideas about other things.