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Meet a #futureshaper: Steve Gautieri

Here's how he makes the technology that keeps food fresher for longer

Steve Gautieri’s office is not confined to a cubicle. 

His laboratory is often in the real world working in -40 degrees Fahrenheit blast freezers, climbing along roof support beams and rooftop air handler ducts or in three-story tall banana ripening rooms.

That adventure makes his job feel like more than just a career.

“I really don’t consider it work,” Steve said. “It is a passion, a source of an adrenaline rush, a roller coaster ride.”

As a principal research engineer based in Lincolnshire, Ill., here is his #futureshaper story.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An inventor, engineer and scientist.

What do you do?

I make gadgets that make our lives easier, safer, more enjoyable and more productive.

What gets you excited about coming to work every day?

Anyone that steps in my circle of influence, begins to share the thrill of contributing to brainstorming the challenge of creating something new that can work better, ease an everyday life burden or provide a solution to issues not yet discovered.

It is exciting to see my children and their friends get inspired when they see something that I designed or invented in use at a sports arena, grocery store, parking garage, shopping mall, construction site and more. Consequently, they are all in engineering school today.

What about your work is most exciting to you?

Ammonia is the most efficient, eco-friendly with zero global warming potential (GWP), abundantly available and most cost effective refrigerant available. However, is life threating to humans and animals if the liquid is released. Where it migrates to, is unpredictable and changes vastly with weather conditions. In order to better understand this migration behavior, I perform experiments using the patented Ammonia gas sensor design to analyze large liquid ammonia releases. This gives valuable data to determine how the gas migrates in various weather conditions. With this data we can better understand how to save lives in a facility that uses several tons of ammonia as a refrigerant.

What do you wish people knew about Honeywell?

Honeywell invests in innovation, and recognizes those individuals that foster the ideas which result in new successful product offerings, solutions for more effective ways to build those products and the contribution to Honeywell’s intellectual property portfolio.

Why is the future important?

As the human population increases each year, it is important to discover more efficient ways of providing resources and food without compromising the planet's ecosystem, that provides both necessary to keep up with the demand.

How does your job make tomorrow better and safer than today?

Ammonia is used as a primary refrigerant in the food processing industry throughout the world. Since it is a dangerous gas, it is necessary to accurately detect leaks or background exposure concentrations that can reach unsafe health conditions.

What qualities do you think a #futureshaper have?

A #futureshaper should be an innovation change agent, technological disruptor and leader that radiates excitement and positive energy that is contagious to whom they interact with. They should demonstrate a principal-based driven camaraderie that promotes creativity, while encouraging the contribution, recognition and success of others.

If you were a fortune reader, what would you predict as the future of your industry?

As the resource demands are increasing, the gas sensing and flame detection industry is exponentially increasing. Mankind is developing more complex materials for manufacturing, environmental control, controlled atmosphere food storage and refrigeration. Code enforcement agencies are requiring more gas and flame detection for safety and health conditions. In addition, processing facilities are using gas detection to determine if a slow leak is present saving money in lost refrigerant.

What do you do for fun?

What I do at Honeywell is fun there is never a dull moment. Outside of science, engineering and waking up at 4:30 a.m. from a dream that’s the next patent, I am also a concert pianist and composer.

I like to demonstrate how things work to others, show how science and technology work, using real world scenarios. Mesmerize our youth by showing how technology and science can make our lives easier so we can have more free time to do the things we want to do.

I enjoy showing someone how to fix a car with a tube sock, empty soda bottle and potato peels. Or show teenagers how to turn cow manure into electricity when the power goes out and fix something using available objects around me.

Learn more about what it is like to be a #futureshaper.