Aftan Engineering was founded in 1996 by Karl E. Peterson, PE. He had a career with AT&T Western Electric as an electrical engineer for over 30 years and wanted to continue to help manufacturing companies with automation challenges including robotics and vision systems, control systems for pipe swaging and printing press paper handling, crosstalk measurements for communication cables, and various timing system solutions. Together with his wife, Anna Mae, they ran Aftan Engineering Services Corporation for 22 years. Lisa A. Peterson, Ph.D., PE took ownership of Aftan Engineering in 2019 with a focus on continuous improvement and sustainability. Lisa worked for AT&T Bell Laboratories as an electrical engineer, serving as an integrated circuit designer, manufacturing engineer, engineering manager, and various other leadership roles, leaving AT&T in 2001.
From there, she worked with two venture-funded pre-IPO companies in the Lithium Niobate electro-optics industry. She became increasingly interested in the environmental impact of manufacturing operations, development and the built infrastructure of society. She completed a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering, building on the MBA and Master’s in Electrical Engineering earned earlier in her career. Her research focus was on sustainability assessment of storm water management in site development projects, analyzing the life cycle impact of various alternatives from an environmental and economic perspective, as well as studying the social aspect.
Aftan was chosen as the name of the company because it means evening or rear in Scandinavian languages. With Scandinavian ancestry, this company name reflected on our passion for engineering to continue even after a successful career in a corporation. We leverage the skills and knowledge of decades of experience to bring effective and efficient solutions. Having experience and reflecting back on that experience is the strength that Aftan Engineering brings to your company.
The logo is a blue circle with the letter Æ in green. The letter ash or æ is a letter in the alphabet of Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic and Faroese languages which is also the two first letters of our company name, A and E. The green color of the letter represents our quest for delivering environmentally green and economically profitable solutions. The blue circle represents our earth, and the circular shape represents the circular nature of processes including continuous improvement and sustainability.
While we can still support the electrical engineering services that we previously supported, we feel that there is an even greater need to support sustainability and continuous improvement initiatives. From our years on manufacturing floors, we realize that the regular staff of a company is tied up in day-to-day challenges, pressured to try this and try that in addressing problems. While the “try this, try that” process gives the appearance of activity, it is not necessarily forward movement, and it can leave big savings on the table because of not having time to identify the root cause accurately and properly address the issues. To maximize the savings opportunities, a data-driven process to truly identify the root cause is critical.
Similar to the data-driven process of a lean six sigma program for continuous and breakthrough improvement, sustainability assessment is also a data-driven process. Sustainability, by definition, offers solutions that meet today’s needs without compromising the needs of future generations and covers the domains of the environment, the economy, and society. With the busy schedules of employees, it can be difficult to dedicate the time needed to do these well. Having been through numerous ISO 9001 and 14001 audits, we remember the stress of knowing what was desired to do while realizing the time available to do it. Then with the ISO14001:2015 standard came the “Shall” language for life cycle thinking. Getting third-party assistance can be a wise investment.
While incorporating Life Cycle Thinking into an Environmental Management System does not require a formal Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), the learning associated with the Life Cycle Impact Assessment results in significant environmental, economic, and societal benefits. A true LCA involves complex datasets and complex software. For many companies, LCA is not something they would do daily. If it’s not a tool in your routine toolbox, employees will spend time relearning each time they touch it. And if it’s not done correctly, the results will be incorrect; although it may not be apparent that it is incorrect. Life cycle thinking, without a data-driven process like LCA, relies on tribal knowledge which might also be incorrect. Tribal knowledge informs us on how to do things because that’s how we've done them in the past or that’s what we believe about a certain topic.
In summary, Aftan Engineering is well-positioned to handle your Sustainability and Continuous Improvement challenges.