Searcher Spotlight: Alan Hirata

Only an engineer would analyze the equipment for a better methodology of bleeding control in the midst of caring for a patient—but that’s what Alan Hirata confesses to. Fortunately, his analytical trains of thought have only come during EMR training and not in the field.

"Being an engineer, I always like a problem in search of a solution," he says.

In SAR, he is constantly finding just that. Alan joined the team shortly after his wife, Tamie, came on board in 2007.

He's quiet—perhaps because he is busy analyzing—but Alan also has a wry sense of humor that he willingly aims at himself. When asked about leisure activities, for instance, he countered that SAR counts as one, doesn't it?

"Remember, I’m an engineer, and what we classify as fun is vastly different than that which is considered to be so by the general public," he says.

Alan is a Palo Alto native who, like Tamie, attended UC Berkeley (which is where they met) and so, too, lives now in Martinez with the rest of the Hirata SAR clan.

One form of engineering wasn't enough for him, so he double majored (or is it triple?) in electrical and nuclear engineering, and computer science. His career has led him through stints at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, at Flex Products, Inc., and at Siemens, working on everything from designing light rail vehicles to overhauling, repairing, and testing nuclear reactors. Currently he is a transit bus electrical design engineer at Gillig.

Ever examining the world around him, Alan looks at SAR as an interesting puzzle. "Given the choice of traveling on a nicely maintained trail or a steep hillside full of chest-high botanical growth, SAR always chooses the chest-high botanical growth," he says, tongue in cheek. "This is a metaphor for life, but I don’t remember what it means."

On the more serious side, though, he sees SAR as a well-engineered product. He sums it up thusly: "Take people from diverse backgrounds and interests, train them, put them together as a team, pay them nothing but compliments, and watch them kick buttocks and get the job done!"