The Pilot Group Staff
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About the President

The company president, Alan Schier, founded the company in 1990.  While being an engineer at heart, he has managed to profitably (for the most part) run a business and grow its technical scope well beyond his own personal capabilties.

Alan began with an automotive repair business. He then went on to graduate with honors from Stanford University in 1986, receiving a Bachelor's and Master's degree in mechanical engineering. Other academic honors include the F.E. Terman Engineering Award, Rotary Foundation Scholarship, election to the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society and election to the Phi Beta Kappa liberal arts honor society. His limited career before The Pilot Group also yielded honors including the Finnigan Corporation Award for Engineering Excellence, several NASA Tech Brief Awards, published articles in the area of spacecraft control, and a handful of patents.

Since founding The Pilot Group, he and his staff have achieved other notable accomplishments in the course of meeting the needs of their clients. These include:

  • Design of the world's largest digital servo control system (at the time) used for the two hydraulic snakes in the movie "Anaconda", each having 120 coupled degrees of freedom.
  • Design of the optics mounts for some of the world's largest spectrographs for the Keck and other telescopes.
  • Design and fabrication of the highest performance gas pressure control system in regular industrial use, accurate to 0.1 psi over a 1000 psi range with a resolution better than 0.02 psi.
  • Design and fabrication of the world's fastest research telescope mount, used in the RAPTOR and ROTSE programs.
  • Design and fabrication of the highest precision MTF measurement system used in a production environment.
  • Design and fabrication of a linear actuator capable of supporting 100 kg (220 lbs) with a position resolution of 2 nm over a stroke of 5 mm. The actuator has no rolling or sliding parts and dissipates less than 2 Watts.

Alan speaks fluent German, some French, sang bass in an award-winning acapella group, and can, in fact, play the piano. He would love to get his hot-rod BMW running if he could ever pry himself away from his wife and two kids.