What is your educational background?
I graduated from Syracuse University in 1997 with a bachelor’s of science degree in electrical engineering.
When did you first get interested in electronics?
I’ve been interested in electronics for as long as I can remember. I built my first circuit around the age of 10 while trying to build an alarm to keep my brother and sister out of my toys. Since then, electronics have been an overlying passion, a hobby and now my career. It is an absolute dream come true to work in this industry, and I love going to work every day.
What have been your biggest challenges during your time as CEO of Dean Technology Inc.?
With no formal training in the area, the biggest challenge for me personally has been learning to manage people. I think the concepts and theories behind corporate management are natural and logical for an intuitive engineer. However, the management of people is a dynamic process that needs attention every day. I’ve had a great deal of help from those around me, and I’ve come a long way, but it hasn’t been without its struggles, and is something that I continue to work on.
Tell me about some of your greatest accomplishments during your time as CEO?
I’ve taken a small business of 17 employees in one location and turned it into a global corporation of almost 300 in three countries. I’ve organized partnerships with suppliers and customers in foreign countries and located domestic acquisition opportunities that have rapidly increased our growth. In addition, I worked to create many new products to meet our customers’ needs, which will help carry us into the future. In the seven years or so that this has all taken, each element of progress has been built upon the previous successes and failures. To me, it’s that overall progress that has been the greatest accomplishment.
Where do you see the electronics industry going over the next five years?
I believe that there will be an ever-growing need for companies to reduce costs and focus on efficiency to remain competitive, and that this will lead to continued consolidation. While there has been an ever-growing trend in moving the manufacturing of electronics overseas, I believe that process will slow some while companies evaluate the true costs and savings, realized or not, in overseas production. We will certainly see many new products and technologies that will help reduce size and increase performance and efficiency, all while becoming more and more environmentally friendly. The electronics industry will continue to grow as societies rely more heavily on technology and as the generations that grew up with electronics begin to become the predominant controllers of economies.
What advice would you offer other young CEOs on the key to running a successful business?
Very simple: Stay focused on the customer. Without successful customers there is no value in all of the other parts of business. I suggest building a great team of people and then relying on them to help you reach your goals. The better your team, the better you are as a CEO.
What keeps you busy outside of the office? Hobbies? Passions?
My biggest hobby, my continuing passion, is electronics. And I’m not talking just the components we manufacture but all electronics. I love the end results, the consumer-ready products. I am very interested in home theater and automation, and spend a great deal of time integrating these into my own home. I love to travel. When I have free time, I can be found planning a trip to enjoy life abroad, from an African safari to a week on the beach in Mexico. It is an ambition of mine to see the entire world. I also have a passion for automobiles, especially those in which you can see the engineering excellence in performance.
If you could sum up your everyday job in three words, what would they be?
Fun, challenging, exciting. CEO
Note: Dean Technology Inc. is the parent organization of HV Components, CKE, High Voltage Power Solutions Inc. (HVPSI) and Anshan Sun Locus HV Components Corp.