Sergio Ponce de Leon, Director, Product Design
Ann Arbor Office, Michigan
What current project(s) are you working on?
I manage the design and development of NetPoint, where I focus on prioritizing features and designing and testing new interfaces. We’re currently working toward the commercial release of version 5.2, which features a new schedule reliability analysis module based on PMA’s Core Traits of a Reliable Schedule protocol.
What is your career highlight at PMA, so far?
My highlight at PMA has been having the opportunity to influence such an innovative product (NetPoint). I’ve been able to help spec, design, and deploy new interfaces and features such as NetRisk, Visual Target Mode, the automated software update system, and the new schedule reliability analysis module.
What is something new or innovative happening in your industry?
It has been said that “AI is the new UI,” which means that artificial intelligence is the new user interface. As advances in machine learning lead to next generation voice and motion recognition, and as computing devices continue to miniaturize, traditional interfaces of computer screens and mice, or even smartphone screens and fingers, are giving way to devices that can be worn, spoken to, and gestured with. These developments are introducing new and more natural modes of interaction but that still must be “designed” in order to be successfully integrated into our everyday lives. Interaction design is more than just how things look, or even how usable they are; it involves taking into account core human values so that issues of privacy, health, ownership, security, and social connectivity, for example, are not violated.
What university or college did you graduate from?
I received a B.S. in Urban and Environmental Planning from the University of Michigan, where I’m also now pursuing an M.S. in Information with specializations in Human-Computer Interaction and Information Analysis and Retrieval.
What is your favorite local establishment/feature (restaurant, museum, stadium, etc.)?
The Raven’s Club, an early 20th-century speakeasy-style cocktail bar & restaurant on Main Street in Ann Arbor.
I’ve traveled to 39 countries (and counting!), where I’ve seen the Great Wall of China and the Taj Mahal; hiked to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro; been chased by a rhinoceros; gone gorilla trekking and great white shark cage diving; been bungee jumping, sky diving, and SCUBA diving; and camped overnight in the Amazon rainforest, where I swam with pink river dolphins and caught piranhas for dinner!