Fred Starkey

Mr. Starkey, an electronics hobbyist from a very early age, finished high school with an Indiana Radio & TV service license, courtesy of the local vocational school. He worked as a technician in audio repair shops, commercial audio & CATV installations, and campus television services, while earning his B.S. in Electronics and Computer Technology. videog ame repair.

He began his engineering career developing test program sets for linear automated test systems at Delco-Remy. Process failure analysis of the incoming product stream provided the opportunity for advancement into four new areas of expertise: engine controls, thick film modules, robotic assembly, and most importantly – environmental test. Later moving to Delco Electronics Division, Mr. Starkey continued test program set development with an emphasis on socket hardware development for radio mixer and receiver chip test. These assignments renewed and refreshed Mr. Starkey’s RF background, a skill that would prove crucial.

All of my GM work was as a contract employee. The first assignment at D.E. netted a very earnest offer of direct employment from my manager in the radio group. I absolutely stunned him by politely turning him down. My exit from Remy had been the result of a typical GM political shake-up; in this case the parting of ways between Roger Smith and Ross Perot. The crew at Remy had fought to keep me, all the way to the divisional level, with no success. After a long summer of hope, I worked late into Christmas Eve tying up my work for GM colleagues who had become good friends. There was no bucking corporate. I would watch as one of those friends worked himself into a heart attack, an unfortunate side effect of living too close to the production facility and being called in after hours for months on end. When the offer came from D.E., my wife and I had retrenched in Indianapolis; bought a house, had our first daughter, and the taste of GM politics was still fresh in my mind. In retrospect, I should have accepted. It was the last place I might have had a traditional long-term career

Mr. Starkey shifted briefly to test program set development under naval contracts before returning to Delco as a manufacturing engineer in the Instruments & Controls group.

“We were developing production lines for instrument clusters. My manager, Don K., was a senior GMI fellow, intent on developing his people. In addition to production planning, it was here that I learned FMEAs the right way. It ended as all things GM, in political upheaval; we had our choice between Flint, MI and Mexico. I circumvented all of that by breaking off my right foot in a recreational accident. I’m sure Don felt his investment wasted, but by then I had finally accumulated enough expertise to really do something. He would be pleased with the result…”

Early in its development of Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems, Starkey was recruited by Schrader Automotive and tasked with North American OEM representation for TPMS development team. He was responsible for development and execution of TPMS qualification and directed the launch quality activities of the first GM and Chrysler programs. Within the development program, Mr. Starkey was deeply involved in design reviews, analysis, and forward product planning. He holds three patents in the TPMS field.

  • U.S. Patent 6417766, of major defensive value to Schrader Electronics Ltd.
  • U.S. Patent 6580365, a variation of the above. (Both concerning auto-location of sensors.)
  • U.S. Patent 6970076, a new concept in the art of tire pressure monitoring radio frequency selection.

“My wife and I wanted to go to the Carolinas. I had been chasing Bosch in Anderson. Schrader was almost an accident. They had come fishing in the Indianapolis paper for a Delco person, but placed their ad all alone in the A’s – automotive engineer – instead of the E section! I must have been one of the few to spot it. Turned out to be a great match. Of course, Bosch called the same week, finally ready to hire me!”

Upon leaving Schrader, Mr. Starkey began a technical consulting practice which remains active to date. In addition to further service to Schrader, he has enjoyed two long term clients.

“… lost a passionate turf war to open our second plant. At 42 and not wanting to relocate, the only real choice was to set out on my own. My team in Northern Ireland kicked things off with validation projects for their growing customer base and threw additional prospects my way, but 9/11 put a real damper on things. It’s been a continuous (re)building process.”

Through the mid 2000’s, Starkey performed Electrical Systems Engineering work for Myers Motors, helping return the Corbin Sparrow EV to the market as the Myers NmG.

“We kept the EV lights on while Tesla got off the ground. We had a chance – before GM announced the Volt. Capital prospects simply vanished with that announcement. Fortunately, EV investment is happening again. There may yet be a place for small producers of commuter cars. Myers put a lot in place for the future.
Click here for a brief synopsis of my Myers contributions…”

Starkey is a past presenter at IQPC’s Intelligent Tire Technology Conference for the 2007 and 2008 seasons. His workshops dealt extensively with the validation of direct Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems, as practiced by Schrader, and which form the basis of SAE J2657.

Tire pressure monitoring start-up RightPSI recruited Mr. Starkey’s services in 2007, on the strength of the IQPC conference presentations. He has directed evaluation and continued development of their award winning automotive tire pressure indicator since that time.

“The recession took down my major clients and me with them. I ended up working as a delivery driver for several years while putting things back together. We resumed small steps in 2012, continuing until a new opportunity arose.”

Mr. Starkey now serves directly, as Vice President of Product Development at RightPSI. His role is Primary Investigator for development of an aviation version of the company’s product, under a Small Business Innovation Research contract to the U.S. Air Force.

His career choices are unduly influenced by opportunities for windsurfing, paddle sports, and open-water swimming. Starkey maintains a well-equipped shop, supporting both professional and personal activities. Capabilities include electronics fabrication and test, general fabrication, machining, and carpentry. Much of this capability is directed into automotive restoration, EV conversions, and maintenance of the “family fleet.”

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