Most people like to believe their job serves a vital purpose—that it contributes to the greater good in some small way. For Lucas Wilson, a research scientist on the radar team at Numerica, there’s no questioning the impact his work will have. As a member of the Air and Missile Defense Department, Lucas’ main objective is to protect people from the growing threat of unmanned aircraft systems, also known as drones.
Lucas has been integral in the development of Numerica’s Spyglass™ Spyglass™ short-range surveillance radar which was designed specifically to detect, track and help counter drones.
“The long-term purpose of my work is to protect our soldiers and our military,” says Lucas. “That’s something I feel good about.”
Working at Numerica is the Best of Both Worlds
Lucas graduated from Colorado State University with a major in Math and Computer Science and was hoping to land at a company that would let him flex both areas of expertise. That’s exactly what he found at Numerica—and it was just a stone’s throw away from CSU.
“The opportunities at Numerica have both a good amount of computer programing and math as well,” says Lucas. “This role has a great blend of both, which I enjoy. I was excited to find a local company that offered that.”
But Lucas has found that Numerica is more than just a job where he can put his degree to work—it’s a company that celebrates growth and curiosity. He views himself as surrounded by seasoned experts who push him to branch beyond his comfort zone and explore new areas of learning and application.
“I am constantly being pushed,” says Lucas. “I have some incredible mentors that help me learn. It’s a great development environment. I have learned a tremendous amount from my peers, and it’s been a great first career experience out of college.”
One of Lucas’ favorite aspects of the job is the diversity of tasks he gets to tackle. From programing projects to designing user interfaces to interacting with customers. In fact, it’s that last aspect that reminds him just how big of an impact his work—and the work of his team—can have.
“We are customer-orientated and have a high emphasis on providing high-quality products,” says Lucas. “I even get to interact with our customers and get to see them use our software directly. It is a great learning opportunity. That is really fun for me.”
What’s Lucas’ biggest piece of advice for folks entering the field or anyone interested in working with Numerica?
“The advice I would offer is to always be learning,” he says. “Don’t be intimidated by the hard stuff. Things get easier as you keep learning. You can learn to make the hard stuff easier. Once you tackle that problem you can then move on to the next challenge.”
Become a Swiss Army Knife
Lucas credits his desire to learn and the encouraging atmosphere at Numerica for his ability to act like a Swiss Army knife on the job. He’s always developing his knowledge base and is ready to contribute to multiple projects.
“I think the diversity in what I do is unique to Numerica and keeps me here,” he says. “That’s something I appreciate about the culture here at Numerica.”
Right now, that work is largely associated with Spyglass radar, where Lucas contributes in a variety of ways. He integrates multiple systems including radar and external sensors, ensures all of the systems are freely passing data back and forth, and helps build the user interface for the radar.
These contributions go into a body of work that help protect the United States military from newly developed threats like drones, which is one of the biggest challenges.
“We’re seeking to find solutions to the increasing problems that drones are presenting to our military,” he says. “Drone are becoming smarter and smarter. We are continually racing to improve our technology to combat them. We are focused on determining what the largest threats are, and how to develop solutions to overcome them.”
For Lucas, that means leaning into both his Math and Computer Science expertise—and showing up to work each day in the knowledge that his work is serving a very vital purpose for the greater good.