Rich Reel

Updated 2019 Jul 28

e-mail: r_AT_all8_DOT_com

        Richard T. Reel     Hayward, California   USA        
( currently staying in Brisbane, CA with my partner Tony Attard )

e-mail: r_AT_all8_DOT_com

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Photo by Al Loup     Photo by Marc Haberstroh       Photo by Marion Redd

Square Dance Caller

I call weekly for 3 area square dance clubs, teaching 1 or 2 classes from beginner thru A2.  More about square dancing below.

My calling schedule: Rich Reel's Calling Schedule (calendar)


ALL8.COM - Square Dance Calling Notes, and host to several international square dance email discussion lists: sd-callers, challenge-sd, lgcwsd, gca (please let me know if you'd like to join).

I also host websites: 

This popular 'app' brings a lot of traffic to Tap for BPM Beats Per Minute
Search "tap bpm".  "View Source" to see how I did it.


I love engineering and have been excited about it since I was a kid, with hobbies overlapping career interests my whole life.  I'm social and outgoing yet still have a nerd side.  I am extremely detail oriented and learn fast at a highly technical level.  And I own significant capital equipment, ideal for an early startup.  I love to teach so my diverse knowledge benefits the entire team.  With high-level and low-level skills, I can frustrate some managers that wish to steer me toward high-value tasks; a balance of both is actually essential to my health and happiness. 

I currently work for Genapsys after a layoff from Applied Biosystems now ThermoFisher Scientific after more than 21 years with the company.  I've worked on a wide array of projects supporting scientists and engineers across the organization.  In recent years, most projects were in some way connected to DNA sequencing. 

One particularly successful project was the (now obsolete) ABI PRISM® 3700 Genetic Analyzer which helped complete the first human genome.  In addition to building the first proof-of-concept unit, I designed the final instrument's detector, wrote firmware including the operating system for instrument control, and had a hand in the detector design of its successor, the 3730

I do two basic types of work in R&D...

I work on teams of 1 to 20 engineers on projects ranging from hours to years long.  "Ph.D. scientists tell me what they want; I get it for them."  I take analytical instruments from concept to prototype, and sometimes to production. 


...and numerous special classes, seminars and all manor of on-line resources.  I regularly attend local trade shows in optics, electronics, embedded, semiconductor and machine tool. 

I believe I have ADHD.  Too much of my early education wasn't right for my learning style; a classic late bloomer.  The internet has profoundly accelerated my learning process.  Now with so many different ways of learning available that work for me, I'm rapidly 'catching up'.  The majority of my free time is devoted to education in all subjects, but mostly in practical technology and deepening and broadening my skills.


Work History


Perhaps with the exception of optics, most everything listed here is active, current and fast! 

I maintain my own licensed copies of Solidworks*, Altium Designer*, LabVIEW and AutoCAD (* = subscription active) with both work and home projects advancing my knowledge.  20+ years in the biotech industry has allowed me to develop important vendor relations and accumulate a large network of friends who are specialists and industry professionals.

Work Ethic

Loving what I do, balancing tasks, and feeling a sense of forward progress has allowed me to stay sustainably close to 100% with little need of a break.  I believe the secret is dividing time equally between 'thinking', 'doing', 'education' and 'infrastructure' without feeling guilty for working "only" 1/4 of the time.  This allows enough time to be productive, yet do the right things, stay current, accumulate new skills, and research, purchase, install and maintain strategic capital equipment to greatly expand what can be done quickly. 

Another secret is organization.  I fundamentally believe that what one can accomplish in one's life is directly correlated to how organized they are.  Once things are set up, with everything needed close by, easy to find and easy to use, doing many things becomes easy.

Patents:  7,477,381   7,139,074   6,927,852   6,921,908   6,690,467  
Key Inventor:  8,446,588   8,102,529   7,709,808   7,611,614   7,483,136   7,430,048   7,177,023   7,014,744  
Team Patents:  10,266,892   10,260,095   9,926,596   9,285,297   9,274,077   9,152,150   9,194,772   8,384,899   8,384,898   8,361,807   8,169,610   7,978,326   7,486,396   7,468,793   7,428,047   7,407,798   7,280,207   7,265,833   7,235,163   7,112,266   6,856,390   6,797,139   6,596,140   5,384,024  
(patent numbers link to


Prototype Shop

I maintain a private prototype workshop in Hayward with additional equipment in Brisbane and at Genapsys.  Everything is paid for and maintained in excellent working condition.

Key equipment:

Other equipment: 2HP 21" metal band saw, Burr-King belt grinder (which I love!), diamond grinder, small sinker EDM (eats broken taps), deburring, surface plate w height gauge, basic wood-working equipment and a full complement of high quality tooling. 

I keep thousands of dollars of common materials in stock for rapid turnaround.  I am our company's model shop.  I've been able to meet the everyday needs for special parts and modifications across multiple projects on-the-side, typically overnight, while maintaining a full workload.

Coming soon:

I've made many interesting parts over the years including complex flexures, highly polished and fully functional acrylic aspheric lenses and aluminum aspheric mirrors, thermally bonded COC + TPE pneumatically-actuated microfluidic lab-on-a-chip w 100um channels (machined), holes in glass as small as 75um (0.003") diameter 1mm (0.040") deep, 2-sided circuit boards, gears, fluidic and pneumatic manifolds, intricate seals utilizing precisely aligned 2-sided laser cutting, and machined insulating firebrick.

All machines are set up with high magnification.  Without correction my eyesight is marginal, but with aids, I can confidently "eyeball" within +/-10um (+/- .0005") and make whole parts smaller than a millimeter.  Regular (fast) tolerance is +/-100um (+/- .004"). 


Square Dancing

I started dancing with Foggy City Dancers in 1995 as a new year's resolution.  I dance at these local clubs.


Square Dance Calling

I call and teach for Western Star Dancers, El Camino Reelers and Ranchero Squares

I first picked up a mic at the GCA caller school at the 1996 IAGSDC Convention in San Francisco.  I didn't do much with calling the first couple years while I focused on Challenge dancing.

My first calling was filling in at a C3 workshop (tape group) with thanks to Pete Herman.  My first real calling was a tip a week of Mainstream at Santa Cruz Squares (currently on hiatus) with thanks to Neil Heather.  My Santa Cruz Squares tip became a Plus teach tip and I graduated my first dancers 6 months later.

I began calling club nights (Mainstream and Plus level) for local clubs August 1998 including Diablo Dancers (my very first "club night"), Foggy City Dancers, and Santa Cruz Squares (as substitute caller).  Diablo Dancers was the most supportive of my calling in the critical first years.  I graduated my second bunch of Diablo Dancers Plus dancers April 2000. 

October 2003 I accepted an unexpected offer to teach Western Star Dancers' beginner class which is the moment I say I became a "real caller" calling regularly.  Since then I've been calling 3 nights a week on average with a variety of additional engagements including dances, club nights, review tips, demo tips, picnics, parades, and even while on tour in China.

Since my first Advanced class in 2006, with loving support from El Camino Reelers, I called a tip or so per week of Advanced until joining Ranchero Squares as club caller in Apr 2018. 

2009 marked some important 'firsts':

Videos of me calling (YouTube)

Me and Calling

Square dance calling is a unique blend of music, kinetics, puzzle solving, teaching, showmanship and of course social skills.  I primarily 'sight call', which is making up choreography on the fly from a menu of calls the dancers know then observing the dancers to resolve the square allowing true connection between caller and dancers. 

As square dancing doesn't so-much reward in dollars (but does reward!), I'm thankful I have a good job that allows me to enjoy it without having to make a living at it.  I have no plans to make calling any more than a hobby - albeit a serious one. 

My joy is teaching, both dancers and callers.  When I sense interest, I organize a Newer Caller Workshop and Hoedown for local budding talent. 

Calling is just one aspect of square dancing that has been an important catalyst for my own personal growth and development, in more ways, and for far longer than I ever imagined. Web Site was started as a place to keep my square dance calling notes.  Instead of writing on scraps of paper, I write it here.  I invite you to discover my 'secrets'

I hand-code all HTML using Notepad and/or Textpad for the PC (as if you couldn't tell) mostly to ensure pages are light-weight and work internationally.  If I had time (!), it'd be fun to pursue actual website design.


Other Interests

"Never seek for love.  Those that seek for love only manifest their own loneliness.  Only the loving discover love and they never have to look for it."  D. H. Lawrence

Please let me know what you think about and of course, ask any question at all.

e-mail: r_AT_all8_DOT_com
or call me: 415-990-6751 or find me on Facebook