Profile: Donald Sweeney

iNARTE is pleased to highlight the career of one of our certified professionals, Donald Sweeney, who was recently awarded the IEEE EMC Society’s Laurence G. Cummings Award for years of outstanding service.

Sweeney knew he wanted to be an engineer after graduating from a technology program and short stint working as a technician. This led him to enroll in an electrical engineering program at the University of Illinois.

“After graduation, I worked for 11 years in the research and development division of the Teletype Corporation,” Sweeney said. “I worked with some of the first ink jet printers, high voltage power supplies, liquid metal printing using magnetic deflection, and logic designs before multifunction integrated circuits even existed. I was also involved in the development of bubble memories and later semiconductor processing.”

After this, Sweeney was transferred into impact printer development, which led to his first EMC involvement—helping to solve the problem of an electro mechanical relay that was arcing and causing interference to very low-level logic.

In 1979, Sweeney joined Extel Corporation and soon became their senior EMC engineer. In this role, he was tasked with setting up an EMC test laboratory, which became so successful it was opened to outside testing.

By 1983 the EMC test laboratory was so successful that Extel became concerned that they wouldn’t have time for testing their own products, which led to outside testing services being discontinued.

“My boss realized that as a result I would probably want to go into my own testing business to accommodate all my current customers,” Sweeney said. “Amazingly, he made that transfer easy for me.”

In the same year Sweeney started D.L.S. Electronic Systems, Inc., which has become a well-known global EMC, environmental, wireless, and product safety laboratory.

A short time after opening D.L.S., Sweeney became aware of the NAVLAP accreditation program being developed by the Navy, which led to D.L.S. becoming one of the first labs to be accredited.

“As part of this program I was grandfathered in as a NARTE engineer and technician due to my many years of experience. However, in 1999 I voluntarily took the NARTE exam to prove to myself that I truly deserved to be a NARTE EMC Engineer.

“iNARTE certification meant a lot to me because I had actually met the requirements. This brought me to the realization that it would be good for my employees to also meet these requirements. I am proud to say that we have had more than enough iNARTE engineers to qualify our lab as an iNARTE testing facility.”

One of the highlights of Sweeney’s career is having a paper published on “Mitigating Excessive Emissions”.

“This paper has survived more than 30 years and recently was reissued and as second edition where I was able to explain the concept in more detail showing actual data recorded in the lab.”

The paper is available here. Sweeney also recently presented a webinar in collaboration with iNARTE. Click here to view the webinar.