As we close the books on our first year at Esterline Research & Design, I couldn't be happier. Happier about my decision to partner with the people I did, and the direction we are going. As the only partner of ER&D who's not an engineer, these are few personal observations I have made over the past year.
Fair warning to engineers: This is not a technical paper, and at times includes such things as humor, speculation and vagueness.
1. Engineers are incredible multi-taskers.
It's probably about as consistently true as saying car salesmen are good talkers.
Maybe it's the nature of the work. Quite possibly it's the nature of their personality types. Whatever the reasons, the results speak for themselves. The ability to work on several things at one time efficiently is difficult for most of us. The fact that we aren't talking about simple, repetitive tasks is even more impressive. At any given time in our office they might be prototyping something, putting the finishing touches on something else, writing a proposal, coding a complex algorithm, etc. - ALL while making significant decisions regarding the business itself.
2. The RF and Microwave Industry is poised for explosive growth.
An increasing number of applications within the automotive, industrial, military, homeland security, scientific and medical community that perform detection, testing and measurement functions - combined with demand for commercial broadband, wireless communications, satellite systems, etc... Well, you get the picture.
3. Being a partner in a startup company is challenging, but gratifying.
Knowing you aren't inheriting and managing someone else's vision (or lack thereof) is refreshing to say the least. That's not to suggest we aren't all capable of following a bad idea off a cliff, but it's our call to make when those situations arise. If you've ever been forced to march over a cliff you saw a mile away, you understand the frustration in having no control over your destiny.
4. I've learned to speak a different language.
Again, being the only partner who isn't an engineer, this year has been a bit of a learning curve for me. The decision was made early on, not to separate myself from the genius's (as I refer to them) in the office. Our thinking was, even though my role as Chief Marketing Officer doesn't require an engineering background - the exposure would be beneficial. As it turns out, it was the right decision. I'm not suggesting they aren't still way over my head in knowledge, but at least I can speak the language now. I'm starting to think if I have any aspirations of learning Spanish, I should spend 6 months in a room with 3 Spanish speaking individuals. I'm pretty sure that would do the trick.
5. It's fun to say "I can't talk about that" to friends and family on occasion.
When working on projects for the military, aerospace industry, federal government, etc. you often run into stringent non disclosure clauses. There's a lot of excitement around knowing something your'e doing is going to be used in a rocket (for example). The downside is, you can't talk about it. The one consolation prize is being able to say "It's classified, I can't talk about it" and you aren't joking. Not everyone gets to say that, and (admittedly) I never expected I would be able to either.
Happy New Year to all. Here's to a very exciting 2015!
Wayne Lesperance, CMO
Esterline Research & Design