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Matthew Sidley: 2014 Finalist Young Engineer of the Year

Matthew Sidley traces his interest in electronic communications to his days as a high school student in Portland, Ore.

“Personal cell phones were becoming ubiquitous,” said Sidley, who is a senior electrical engineer for Harris Corp. RF Communications Division. “I developed an intellectual curiosity towards communications.”

That curiosity, coupled with a relish for challenges, helped prompt Sidley to choose a career in electrical engineering. After acquiring a bachelor’s degree at the University of Michigan in 2010, he came to the Rochester area to work for Harris Corp. as an electrical engineer. Sidley still counts himself lucky to have joined the international telecommunications equipment manufacturer right out of college.

“Harris really is the best-in-class for wireless communications,” he said.

While working full time for Harris during the day, Sidley spent his nights as a part-time student at Rochester Institute of Technology, where he pursued a master’s degree in electrical engineering.

“It was great, because I was able to continue to develop my skill set in the evening … and directly apply that knowledge the next day at my work,” he said.

For his master’s thesis, Sidley designed a cuff with an antenna array that could be used to measure human blood glucose levels.

“What I was doing was using an antenna as a sensor,” he explained.

The device worked well in the lab, Sidley said, and researchers at RIT have continued to work on developing it.

Sidley currently leads the team at Harris that is designing the antennas for the mobile user objective system.

“It’s a next-generation satellite communications system,” he explained. “It basically connects users across the world.”

In addition to his work at Harris, Sidley is vice chairman of the Antennas and Propagation/Microwave Theory and Techniques Society of the Rochester Section of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a professional organization.

“I can’t say enough how much I’ve enjoyed my time being a part of IEEE and the Rochester tech community,” he said. “They go hand-in-hand really well together.”

The enthusiasm and expertise Sidley has demonstrated in his professional roles have drawn accolades from his colleagues.

“(He) is a remarkable young engineer that we are fortunate to have in the Rochester area,” said Greg Gdowski, executive director of the Center for Medical Technology and Innovation at the University of Rochester’s Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and chairman of IEEE’s Rochester section.

Mike Costanza is a Rochester-area freelance writer.

4/10/15 (c) 2015 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email [email protected]


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