Industry Profile: Recon Instruments QA Tester Mike Jensen

12 Jul, 2012

Job Title: Quality Assurance Tester at Recon & budding musician
Employer: Recon Instruments
Years on snow: 14
Days on snow: More than your average bear
Currently Riding: Forum Eddie Wall Destroyer 156 with Burton Customs
Currently I am: In the office looking out the window and wishing I was out cliff jumping on this glorious Vancouver day

Shay: Tell us a little bit about yourself
Mike: I grew up on the Sunshine Coast, Gibsons BC. The Sunshine Coast is awesome in the summertime, lots of skimboarding, skateboarding and cliff jumping. But in the winter it just rains and there’s not much to do. So when I was younger, I would go to Vancouver as much as possible with a couple of buddies and ride Grouse, and when we got wheels we began to head up to Whistler. After high school I moved out to Victoria for a year for a change of scenery, but I only shredded one day that year so it was time to move on! I then moved to Vancouver, got a Whistler pass, and enrolled in an Engineering degree at the University of British Columbia. I have met a great crew through the UBC Ski and Board Club. Now, we try to get up the hill at least twice a week and travel to the interior whenever we can. I got involved with Recon this year and it’s been a really exciting ride. I’m also a musician; I love to play guitar, harmonica, drums, and produce tracks too.

Shay: How has snowboarding changed your life?
Mike: Snowboarding is directly responsible for all of my best friends and the job that I have today. It’s given me a love for adventure, as well as doing things that completely terrify me.

Shay: How did you get your start in the industry, who or what opened up more opportunities for you?
Mike: I got my start in the industry through the people I met at the UBC Ski and Board Club. In my first year at UBC I was put in a dorm room with the (then) President of the club so I was immediately involved. It was here that I met my buddy (and now co-worker) Ali Saheli on trips that we took up to Big White and Revelstoke. We rode a few chairlifts together, I told him I was in Electrical Engineering as was he, and he told me he worked for Recon. After work every Friday there’s drinks at the Recon office with Foosball, a keg and food, so he invited me in one afternoon. This was where I met the Head of Engineering, and I just “happened” to have a résumé on me at the time… total coincidence.

Shay: How has your previous education or work experience helped you in your current job?
Mike: My education from UBC Electrical Engineering (although incomplete) has been an asset in my ability to problem solve in a technical environment. But my years of snowboarding have been equally valuable for my current role at Recon. It’s simple, if I didn’t snowboard, then I wouldn’t get to test Recon’s groundbreaking tech.

Shay: Tell us about your role at Recon Instruments and a description of the work you do?
Mike: My roll at Recon is as a Quality Assurance Tester. Our team is the last screen that our products have to go through before they hit the shelves. We scrub the product thoroughly for bugs, classify the bugs, and then report them back to the developers to make sure that what the consumer gets is the absolute best product. Luckily for me, our product gets used on the ski hill! So every couple of weeks I get shipped up to Whistler for a few days of field testing. Recently we’ve been doing a lot of testing and data collection for our jump detection application.

Shay: If you had to make up a job title that most accurately described what you REALLY do, what would it be?
Mike: Software Developer Nemesis. I’m pretty sure they hate seeing emails from me pop up in their inbox.

Shay: Describe the craziest day/moment you’ve had at your job?
Mike: It has to be one of the last times that we went to collect data for the jump app. The test we were doing was for cliff drop detection, in the middle of May. We found a thirty foot rocky cliff drop, unfortunately into sticky hard pack. I hit it three times and was pretty close to clipping each time!

Shay: What are some memorable experiences from working in the industry?

Mike: It’s great to wake up for field testing and know I’m being paid to go riding. What’s more, I get to play with the most advanced Heads-up Display gear in the world. It’s crazy to ride with all my stats and data being tracked and relayed direct-to-eye, in real time. I know a bunch of riders that would kill to have my job.

Shay: What do you think are the biggest challenges that the snowboard industry faces and what changes would you like to see for the future?
Mike: I think that a big challenge we face today is that we need to continue to look after our mountains and not take them for granted. Especially as we have such an awesome backyard here in Vancouver. As for changes, I would like to see more of this: – because snowboarding just isn’t enough like rollerblading!

Shay: What advice would you give to people wanting to work in the industry?
Mike: Utilize everything you have. Try and combine all of the things that you love to do and see where that takes you. Keep your mind open and act upon every opportunity.

Find out more at:
Twitter: @reconinstrument
Instagram: reconinstruments
Website: or
Check out my music here:

About the author


From the beginning of time, I was Shannon. From the beginning of snowboarding, I was Shay. From the beginning of online communities, I was Shayboarder. In the end, I’m the writer, photographer, editor, publisher, guru of sorts, product tester, curvy girl, and most importantly the snowboarder behind it all. Follow me on this journey through snowboarding, mountain biking, traveling and fun experiences!

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