Click on image to enlarge

Click on image to enlarge
The Morgan Hill Business Park, though a business failure, was a beautifully landscaped park and provided a nice home for WILTRON. Shown above, and below, are two of WILTRON’s six headquarter buildings. The fountain in the lower picture was not a part of WILTRON’s building area and was removed by the new Business Park owner since some people in the community were concerned about its appearance and its water consumption. Since Leticia and I had lovingly designed the fountain it was offered back to us. But we had no place for it so it wound up in the dump.

Click on image to enlarge

Building 12C
Taken from intersection of Jarvis Drive and Sutter Blvd.


Diversification Pays

When you get a very specific system that fits into a specific telephone company’s office, what do you do when they stop all capital buying, perhaps for some regulatory or financial requirement? The secret here is to diversify. Bell South may be your customer this year, Korea, next year. WILTRON prospered because it was international, always ready for the next state or country to come on line

When WILTRON was founded it was one of perhaps 20 small electronics companies in the field of measuring instruments. A few of them were competitors of ours; most were making related instruments. I saw the other company leaders and their new products at trade shows once or twice a year. Thirty years later WILTRON was the only one left. About half of the 20 companies were victims of Hewlett-Packard which targeted their products, did a better design job and put them out of business. Several companies went out of business because the owners died or made really foolish mistakes. Several of the companies were able to sell out for a few million dollars so the founders wound up with a little nest egg. In these cases the company and its products usually disappeared in a few years. The last sizable number of these companies failed because they had been oriented to the high tech military market which was greatly reduced at the end of the cold war with Russia.

Although WILTRON felt the loss of the military-related market, it had diversified into the telecommunications market. Another reason for its survival is that it took over the remaining military market as other companies abandoned the field.

Here are the secrets of developing a 180- million-dollar company, one that goes on to greater heights after its sale.

1. Use the best new product strategy to give the company the chance to succeed.
2. Select employees using exams and friendly, informal interviews to discover the applicants’ real interests.
3. Motivate employees by profit sharing bonus.
4. Indirectly motivate by company excursions, family picnics, Christmas parties, employee publication.
5. Train employees to improve their immediate and long-range potential.
6. Plan for the right merger which will carry the company on to new heights.

If I had to name two top secrets of the modest success I had, they would be product strategy and, interestingly enough, good personal assistants. I had the good fortune of brilliant, hardworking personal assistants, who took care of secretarial work, but also served as administrative assistants and department heads. To mention standouts in the order of their appearance: Shirley Lindholm, Donna Scheel, June Shaull and Deanna Martinez. Some very capable men filled out the team: Duane Dunwoodie above all, the ill-fated Sam Cox, Bob Bathiany, Mark Evans and others. These managers had enormous capacity and capability. All I had to do was provide strategic thinking; I didn’t have to be present on a day-to-day basis. After the first six or seven years of start-up of the company, I was able to devote half of my time to other endeavors such as traveling abroad, studying French and Spanish literature, and finally establishing my music conservatory.


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