Rich Reel

Updated 2024 Jan 27

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

Click for larger...
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 classes from beginner thru A2.  More about square dancing below. 

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 host these websites: 

This popular 'app' brings a lot of traffic to Tap for BPM Beats Per Minute
"View Source" to see how I did it.  Still decent Google ranking: search "tap bpm" or "tap tempo". 


I'm a multi-disciplinary product design engineer and pretty good at making things.  Hobbies have overlapped with career interests my entire life.  While I work as a full-time employee, I'm completely independent owning significant capital equipment and space to work, ideal for an early startup.  I'm social, outgoing and love to help others learn, grow, gain experience and be successful.  I can frustrate some managers that wish to steer me toward high-value tasks; balance with low-level tasks is actually essential to my health and happiness. 

I've been with Ultima Genomics since July 2022.  Before that, 12 years at Genapsys (now defunct) and 21 years with Applied Biosystems (now ThermoFisher Scientific) before that.  I've worked on a wide array of projects supporting scientists and engineers with many in the past 30 years in some way connected to DNA sequencing. 

One particularly successful project was the (now obsolete) ABI PRISM® 3700 Genetic Analyzer which significantly sped up sequencing the first human genome in the very early 2000's.  In addition to building the first proof-of-concept unit, I designed the final instrument's detector, wrote firmware for instrument control, and had a hand in the detector design of its successor, the 3730, only recently discontinued. 

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

"Ph.D. scientists tell me what they want; I get it for them."  I prefer a smaller team with others in very different disciplines.  With a minimum of discussion, I quickly take analytical instruments from concept to prototype, and sometimes to production. 


Continuing education is a passion taking 30% or so of my time including numerous special classes, seminars, good ol' paper books and all manner of on-line resources, usually in parallel.  I regularly attend local trade shows in optics, electronics, embedded, semiconductor, plastics, medical device and machine tool.  I've been focused on practical technology for a long time to be ready ahead of anticipated need. 

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; I'm rapidly 'catching up'. 


Work History


Perhaps with the exception of optics, most here is active, current and fast.  My engineering lab and machine shop support doing much of it at home.  (See Prototype Shop below.) 

I maintain my own personal licensed copies of Solidworks*, Altium Designer*, LabVIEW and AutoCAD (* = subscription active) for work and home projects. 


Work a long time in an industry and patents tend to accumulate.

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:  11,155,865   11,021,748   10,494,672   10,450,604   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


Work Ethic

Loving work, balancing tasks and feeling a sense of forward progress has allowed me to stay sustainably close to 100% productivity with little need of a break.  Mixing different things at different times effectively gives me a break from the others and it's been working for quite a while.  My secret is dividing time equally between 'thinking', 'doing', 'education' and 'infrastructure' without feeling guilty for working "only" 1/4 of the time.  This allows time to be productive, 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.  Working for a company with interesting problems to solve helps too!

I believe accomplishment is fundamentally correlated with organization.  When things are set up with everything needed close by, easy to find and easy to use, doing many things becomes easy.  I hate cleaning and organizing but being organized is critical to sustained productivity with a large accumulation of legacy projects to support.

Prototype Shop

I maintain private prototype workshops in Hayward and Brisbane with significant additional equipment and assets on the premises where I work.  Everything is paid for and maintained in decent if not excellent working condition.

Key equipment:

Also: a second manual milling machine, 2HP 21" metal band saw, Burr-King belt grinder (which I love!), small sinker EDM (eats broken taps), CO2 "snow" cleaning and deburring (-80C), 2KW 28KHz ultrasonic welder, diamond grinder, metal casting (induction, hot pot, furnace), basic wood-working, a full complement of high-quality tooling, inspection and much more.  I keep common materials in stock for rapid turnaround. 

My home shop was Genapsys' model shop.  While the team was careful not to weigh me down too much as we grew, I was able to meet everyday needs for special parts and modifications across multiple projects on-the-side, typically overnight, while maintaining a full workload - in addition to parts for my own deliverables. 

Almost ready:

Interesting parts over the years include complex flexures, highly polished and fully functional acrylic aspheric lenses and aluminum aspheric mirrors, thermally bonded pneumatically-actuated microfluidic lab-on-a-chip consumables w 100um channels (machined COC + TPE), holes in glass as small as 75um (0.003") diameter 1mm (0.040") deep, numerous sophisticated fluidic and pneumatic manifolds (some used in production), highly specialized (fully custom) fluidic rotary valves, intricate laser-cut seals (including cleaning them), gears 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 have made whole parts smaller than a millimeter. 


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 Ranchero Squares, Western Star Dancers (Facebook page) and my new club Swinging 21'ers (Facebook page).  I called for El Camino Reelers until they changed their dance night.

Calling Bio

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 from the Callerlab Mainstream and Plus program 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':

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 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.

Random videos of my calling (YouTube)

Had a memorable 50th birthday party with live band and caller Darren Gallina
YouTube: Square Dancing at Rich Reel's 50th Birthday Party 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 to ensure pages are light-weight and work internationally.


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
call me 415-990-6751, see Richard Reel on Facebook