Rich Reel

Updated 27 Dec 2015

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 a total of 4 classes from beginner thru "Plus".

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


I love engineering and have been excited about it for a long time.  I'm social and outgoing, but don't let that fool you, I'm as nerdy as they come.  But unlike many other 'nerdy' engineers, I have especially strong technician/craftsman skills which I keep sharp ... to help you!  With both high level and low level skills, I can frustrate managers that wish to steer me to more high-value tasks; a balance of both is actually essential to my health and happiness. 

I am currently working for Genapsys after a layoff from Applied Biosystems now Life Technologies 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 the last years most projects were in some way connected to DNA sequencing. 

One particularly successful project was the (now obsolete) 3700 Automated DNA 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 one of its processors, 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 and seminars.  I regularly attend local trade shows in optics, electronics, embedded, semiconductor and machine tool.  Much of my education comes from an inner drive to be useful. 

The internet has profoundly accelerated my learning process.  I believe I have ADHD.  Too much of my early education wasn't right for my learning style.  Now with so many different ways of learning available to me that work, I am rapidly 'catching up'. 


Work History


After a good portion of a lifetime of dedication to 'thinking', 'doing', 'education' and 'infrastructure', I've accumulated a broad and useful set of both skills and capital equipment.  Perhaps with the exception of optics, most everything listed here is active and current. 

I own licensed copies of Solidworks*, Altium Designer, LabVIEW*, MATLAB* and AutoCAD (* = current paid subscription) with 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.

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:  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 shop in Hayward in a 2-car-garage-sized separate building.  Everything is paid for.

Key equipment:

Other equipment includes a 2HP band saw, Burr-King belt grinder (which I love!), diamond grinder, deburring, surface plate w height gauge, basic wood-working equipment and a full complement of high quality tooling.  I stock common materials for rapid turnaround.  Just to be clear, it's a prototype shop; I am not set up for volume manufacturing. 

Coming soon:

Beyond-the-usual examples of parts I've made include complex flexures, prototype quality aspheric lenses (acrylic) and mirrors (aluminum), and small holes in glass: as small as 75um (0.003") diameter, 1mm (0.040") deep.  I am set up to work at all machines at high magnification.  Without correction my eyesight is sliding, but as corrected, I routinely do amazing things at the tiniest scale.  I've made whole parts smaller than 1mm size and when needed can confidently "eyeball" position to within +/-10um (+/- .0005") in X Y and Z.  Fast "regular" 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 and El Camino Reelers and teach two classes at Sunnyvale 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 call a little less than a tip a week of Advanced. 

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 a wide array of 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 is an activity that doesn't so-much reward in dollars (but does reward!), I'm thankful I have a good job that allows me to enjoy square dance calling 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 all of my square dance calling notes.  Instead of writing on scraps of paper, I write it here.  I invite you to discover all of 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