Robert Banks


What is science to you?: 
To me science is a process of solving problems using various tools. Sometimes those tools are technical and sometimes they are not. It is the process that is important and the way those results are used that makes it an intellectual process and can be defined as science.
I am married with a beautiful daughter who is 16 months old and just loves to run around and takes things apart. I am from Delaware and recently moved to Minneapolis. I have a passion for volleyball and I love to travel. I spent 6 months living in India workign with rural villages in areas of providing safe drinking water.
What technology do you use every day?: 
I use too many technologies everyday to count them, but here are a few: Car, cell phone, computer, Internet, and television.
What I do (my job): 
Product Manager - Marketing/Engineering
Technology that drives me crazy: 
Braces - I suffered through for almost 3 years and I know the results were important, but the pain involved was just too much. I think there must have been a better way. Perhaps orthodontists should get together and work out some other method do save our mouths.
How do you use math in your daily life?: 
I use math daily in many aspects of my life. I am constantly calculating if I have enough time to go somewhere, finish a project, or make a phone call. Beyond the basic calculations, I am also making conversions between metric and English units, determining flow rates of various pieces of equipment, and estimating pressures based on a given set of operating parameters. Fortunately, there are many computer programs that will help with these calculations, but without understanding the science behind the math, the output of the computer program would not make sense.
Technology I love: 
Cell phones/Blackberry/wireless internet - because of the various wireless technologies, I can work from home, car, or sitting on the beach. Some people think that is a huge negative, but I don't like sitting at a desk so any chance I can change my environment and still get my work done is a huge increase in the quality of my life.
I would invent: 
Safe drinking water machine - I would invent some way to take really dirty water and make it pure and safe to drink. And the machine would do it in a way that was very affordable, generates no waste, and provided an adequate supply for all. I have seen lives change tremendously just because they now have access to clean and safe drinking water. These changes have given them more time to do other things like read, grow food, and live longer thus improving every area of their life.
Where I do what I do: 
General Electric
I wish I were an expert in: 
Foreign languages - when I learned languages in school (French, Spanish, and Latin) I learned so much about the culture of different places including the people in those cultures. This allowed me to see into lives of so many others. By understanding the differences between people, I was better able to tolerate and appreciate those differences. Eventually I learned that it is those differences that make us individuals and allows the human race to thrive. I wish I could understand all cultures the same way. Motorsport racing - I would love to be an expert motorcycle, car, boat, or anything fast. My only fear is of getting injured or worse. If I were a professional with lots of experience and training I could feel more comfortable and get to do more of that type of sport interaction. Finance/Economics - far too often decisions in engineering are made based on the financial situation and it is nto good enough to have a technology expertise. I do enjoy learning, it is just a matter of finding the time to get all of those learnings.
Dream jobs: 
I think the coolest job that someone could do is one that allows him or her to really enjoy what they do and make an impact in the world that makes it a more positive place. I have come as close to that as I could imagine with my product management job. I work with small rural villages in remote parts of the world and 3rd world nations to bring them safe drinking water. I think you know you have a dream job when you would do it even if you weren't paid!