For Rosti Talis, sports have been a lifelong passion, helping him manage his diabetes. His career at Nova has allowed him to live out his dreams of an exciting career in the sciences while balancing a career as a soccer referee.
I am 32 years old and from Ramat Gan. I recently got married in a beautiful celebration with friends and family. I have a BSc in electrical and electronics engineering from Tel Aviv University, and I am almost finished with my master’s degree. I also love sports, and exercising helps me balance my type 1 diabetes.
I have been working at Nova for about five and a half years and currently, work as a system engineering team lead as part of the ELIPSON project. I started at Nova in 2017 as a student in the CTO team during the first stages of the project. At the time, we could only imagine that it was possible to make RAMAN technology commercially viable–one that could work outside of the lab and create exceptional value and benefits for our customers.
What exactly do you do as part of your job?
I manage a team of system engineers, and we are expected to be experts on the Nova ELIPSON system. We are responsible for developing new features for the system, improving its stability, making sure it works well according to customer’s requirements and solving the challenges that the service team brings to our table. In addition, we support all the other entities that work on the product, hardware, optics, and software, as well as the service people and product managers.
When additional customer needs arise, we come up with concepts for solutions, prepare and perform feasibility analyses for them, and eventually create requirements documentation for the hardware or software teams, defining what they need to develop.
How do you manage to maintain the level of enthusiasm after being here for five and a half years?
Simply put, my work keeps me engaged and interested. Over the years, everything here has been very dynamic. The project matured and moved departments, and I matured and moved with it and eventually got promoted. This type of environment suits my personality and character. I like change, and things here change all the time—the perfect fit for me.
When I started working at Nova as a bachelor’s student in electrical engineering, I worked in the CTO team on the Nova ELIPSON project. It actually started as a prototype, and then we progressed to the alpha and beta stages, eventually producing it as a live commercial product.
Today we are already at an advanced stage, and the production and service teams are operating more or less independently. So, the challenges I face are constantly changing, creating the dynamic environment I enjoy.
You mentioned sports earlier. You have another line of work that is related to this, right?
That is true! Before I started working at Nova, between my military service and college, I was looking for a job, and my girlfriend (now my wife) suggested that I sign up for a basketball refereeing course. I liked the idea, but then I realized that I was more interested in soccer refereeing because it’s a sport that I live and breathe and am incredibly enthusiastic about. I completed a course, and at the beginning of my soccer-referring journey, I refereed games for young children aged 10-12. I gradually progressed to my position today as an assistant referee in the Israeli Premier League and a FIFA international assistant referee in Europe.
Since I have had diabetes since childhood, regular physical activity helps me balance my sugar levels. At every game, I have candies in my pocket in case my blood sugar levels drop.
And what are your goals for the future in this field?
I aspire to reach the top, as I’ve always aspired to reach the highest level in everything I do.
My ambition is to continue improving and working as a referee in the leading games in the Israeli Premier League and advance as far as possible in Europe.
Amazing! Do you see yourself at some point working only in this field?
No! I really enjoy this combination of the two worlds together, which are the two worlds I really like. I think the variety helps me succeed in both of them separately. Being a football referee and working as an engineer at Nova reinforce each other. At the most basic level, when I have a bad day, either at work at Nova or refereeing a bad game, I tell myself that I have the other job to cheer me up. That reminds me everything will be fine.
Being a referee also keeps me fit, which contributes to my health. On the other hand, working at Nova helps to keep my mind sharp. It allows me to constantly learn new things and evolve as a professional in the field of science, engineering, and technology, so it also keeps both my mind and body sharp.
How do you deal with having to travel a lot?
Both of my careers require travel, and this year was a little complex as I needed to travel quite a bit for Nova and for soccer.
On one occasion, I had a series of three flights to games in Europe, and then I flew to the USA on behalf of Nova. After that, I only wanted a little time to rest without traveling. But in the end, it’s an interesting experience. I get to experience new places and meet interesting people, so it is for the best. At Nova, they support my second career, so I’m able to combine both my passions.
How do your friends react to you being a soccer referee?
Everyone is very supportive and encouraging, and I really appreciate it.
Occasionally people recognize me from the stands or I get a close-up on TV during games, and then I immediately receive lots of supportive calls and messages. It’s funny because, in practice, I’m not part of the game–in my opinion, I’m a function of the game. My goal is to keep the game fair, honest, and professional.