Flavio Develops Digital Solutions in a Winter Paradise

Flavio Fontana once executed an autonomous drone show for the world-famous metal band Metallica. Today, he continues his work developing ventilators at Hamilton Medical in the Digital Solutions team. Here, he is able to push himself professionally while still being based in the alpine region he lovingly calls home.

It’s no coincidence that Flavio Fontana ended up at Hamilton, he explains, while enjoying the view of Graubünden Rhine Valley from Crap Sogn Gion – an impressive mountain ridge in the Laax skiing and snowboarding area. Flavio originally comes from Murten in the canton of Fribourg, but now lives in Graubünden. He is based in Laax and is therefore only a few minutes away from one of the most beautiful places in the world to him.

He has been snowboarding, skiing, and mountain biking in the Graubünden mountains for years now. That’s why him and his wife were sure they wanted to move to Graubünden. “Spending enough time in the great outdoors has always been important to me. Doing sports in nature and sharing that with someone is truly wonderful. At the same time, it was important for me to have an exciting job that challenges me and offers me a future in which I can develop myself. Hamilton was an obvious fit for me with my background.”

Today, he leads development teams at Hamilton Medical AG and, with his teams, drives innovation in digital solutions for ventilators. A few years earlier, Flavio studied Mechanical Engineering with a specialization in Robotics at ETH Zurich. Since then, he has had an intensive professional focus on the interaction between hardware and software. “Both hardware and software fascinate me:  mechatronic systems that you have to make move, for example.”

As mentioned, after completing his studies, he initially ended up working with drones. In 2018, he even toured Europe with the metal band Metallica, a fleet of drones in tow. His employer at the time, which played a major role in shaping him in his first professional role, developed an autonomously controlled drone show for indoor spaces. This was the first time something like this had ever been achieved, thanks to Flavio and his team. Another use for autonomous drones was found in warehouses. “Using the same technology, we developed a system that completes automatic inventory checks in department stores. A fleet of drones flies through the department stores and the next morning the inventory check is done,” Flavio explains.

At Hamilton, he works on ventilators – a completely different product. No more drone extravaganzas or European tours with stars from the entertainment industry. So doesn’t he get bored at Hamilton? “Not at all. It was a conscious decision to move to Hamilton. After six years, I was looking for something new. At the same time, I wanted a job that wasn’t strictly prescribed and where things weren’t always completely clear. I was looking for a job where I could put myself out there and have an impact.”

And surprisingly, his current job has many parallels with his old one, Flavio explains. As he puts it, the software architecture is very similar. The methodology of developing a product is exactly the same as what he was doing before. A real point of interest for Flavio is the aspect of safety, which must be guaranteed one hundred per cent – another parallel with his former role. “It’s critical that both drones and ventilators do not fail under any circumstances. The fact that the system you’re developing has to work all the time, in every environment, is a special challenge that I particularly enjoy.” To ensure that this is the case, both systems have multiple backups.

Flavio has found the perfect combination, as he says. In the Digital Solution division, he and his team have a lot of room to maneuver and therefore a big impact on the products. At Hamilton Medical – a leader in the field of intelligent ventilators – he can not only develop products, but also himself. At the same time, his beloved Graubünden mountains are closer than ever. “A company with this combination is rare in Switzerland,” says Flavio enthusiastically.

Flavio takes advantage of the opportunities Hamilton offers him and hits the slopes for a while in the winter paradise of Graubünden. In the afternoon, he continues work from his home office.

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