Employee Spotlight: Jason Mayes

Employee Spotlight: Jason Mayes

Jason Mayes, Systems Engineer

Jason, you have been working at DMC about nine months now. What do you like best about it so far?

I like the experience of working on all different types of projects. There is such a range of project work at DMC and it’s interesting to learn a software and then move on to a completely different field. I really enjoy working with the smart and funny team members at DMC. They are people I like to hang out with outside of work as well, as we have similar hobbies and interests.

What has been your favorite project?

A LabVIEW multi-state machine data acquisition project that I was involved with. It was my first experience with LabVIEW, and it was interesting to have hardware on hand to play with and witness the physical results in talking to different devices and pulling together the data.

Is it true you are eventually going to become Dr. Mayes?

I hope so! I am currently working on my PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame. In recent months I’ve been trying to keep writing and have had a few papers published - one on a new analytical method for approximating dynamic solutions of large scale linear flow networks, and another for a new computational method for non-linear networks.

You are also a letter holder at Notre Dame, despite never playing a sport there. How did you manage that?

I was a student athletic trainer at Notre Dame. I had played sports all my life and it was a great way to stay involved. I got to travel with the teams and watch games from the sidelines and I even earned a monogram letter, which is great when I’m getting tickets to head back for football games. Plus, it beat working in the dining hall to pay my way through college.

I am still a huge sports fan, especially of Notre Dame sports. Although I am from Texas, I don’t have much Texas sports allegiance. I would have had no reservations, however, rooting for the Mavericks against the Bulls. Dirk!

What are your other hobbies?

I love backpacking and hiking in our national parks. My favorite park is Glacier National Park in Montana. It feels more remote than other national parks and there are spectacular colors and views to see there. It’s very different backpacking off of the trails, and there are only a handful of people that you see for days. Glacier has about 1000 miles of trails and I have only explored about 150 miles so far, but I would like to go back and see more.

I also have various collections. For example, I collect vintage cameras. Photography is a hobby of mine, especially landscape photography when I am backpacking. Another random collection of mine is 1933 Goudey Indian Gum Cards. I found some in an antique store somewhere out west and now have about 50 in my collection. They portray famous Native Americans, explorers, and tribes. My favorites are Sitting Bull and Red Cloud, a Sioux Chief.

As far as technical hobbies, I recently downloaded an Android SDK that I am excited to play with. Furniture building is another fun hobby, with the help of a CAD program to help generate 3D models of the project prior to building it and a 3-axis mill to machine it on. So far I’ve made some chests as well as a pendulum clock.


I have heard that Lewis and Clark are your heroes?

I love being in the mountains and the idea of the American West. Lewis and Clark’s story is remarkable as far as scientific achievement, being the first people to measure and map the West. There is also a romantic ideal of crossing the plains and mountains. There is a great quote by Buffalo Bill that sums it up:

“I believe that a man gets closer to God out there in the big, free West. You feel differently about your fellow man out there in the West. He’s nearer to you and God’s nearer to you. You are filled with a true religion and a bigger realization of life.” - Buffalo Bill

What are your favorite places in Chicago?

My wife and I are big baseball fans, so Wrigley Field is a favorite place. We are on an ongoing quest to visit all of the nation’s baseball parks and this year we have trips planned to parks in Houston, St. Louis, and Minneapolis. Next spring we plan to visit all five baseball parks in California.

We also enjoy trying out different restaurants. Los Nopales is a great Mexican restaurant on Western, and there are also some Mediterranean places on Kedzie that we like. The best pizza in Chicago varies, depending on which of us you talk to, but Pequod’s and Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder are at the top of the list. We have also developed our own deep dish recipe that is in the running.

Mayes Deep Dish Pizza

Deep Dish Pizza Crust: This should make one 14" deep dish pizza or 2  9" deep dish pizzas.

1 Cup water
1 package yeast
1/3 cup oil mixture (95% corn oil, 5% EVOO)
1 T sugar
1 tsp cream of tartar
~2.5 C Flour

Pizza Sauce: Enough for 1 9 inch pizza. Just mix it together and give it a few minutes to blend.
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
6 fluid ounces warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
salt to taste

In a bowl, put water (luke warm), then yeast, oil, cream of tartar, and sugar. Mix with hand until yeast dissolves. Allow yeast to activate in bowl for 10 min or so. Then, pour in Flour a little at a time, mixing it until dough forms. Continue to add flour while kneading until dough is no longer sticky. Knead about 10 min.  Then, roll it into a ball, and put it in a bowl with oil brushed in the sides. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it double. If you’re in a hurry, throw the bowl in a warm oven for an hour or so, otherwise 3-4 hours will do.

Use a straight sided pan, a 9” round cake pan will do. Before adding dough to pan, add two tablespoons or so of corn oil and spread over entire pan, bottom and sides. Sprinkle cornmeal over oil, a tablespoon or two should be enough.  Hand stretch the dough out and press it up the sides of the pan. Once the dough is in place, take a fork and poke holes through the bottom and side to keep it from bubbling. Add a layer of mozzarella cheese. After the cheese, add your toppings. After the toppings, cover all the cheese and all the toppings with a layer of sauce. Sprinkle some pecorino Romano cheese and oregano over the sauce layer.

Bake at 350F for 45 minutes or until crust is done, rotating at 25 minutes.


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