change in the last five years, consolidation. It seems that everywhere you look you can see companies merging or being acquired by larger ones. This used to be an industry filled with small companies run by scientists/engineers who had decided to pursue their technology ideas on their own. Those are rapidly disappearing, either they are being absorbed or they are simply fading away because they cannot compete with the new big guys on the block. MTR How has the industry changed from when you began your career? RC Well, besides M&A mania of lately, I think that we are now in the business of providing solutions to customers while in the past we were just making gadgets, sometimes in the hope that somebody could find an application for them. We still do some of that because it can lead to innovation but the most important part of the business is providing complete product solutions to specific applications. MTR What has been the pinnacle of your career? RC Well, first of all I really hope I haven't reached the pinnacle of my career yet. Looking at the past I cannot think of any specific time or event that I would call a pinnacle. If anything qualifies it would be the period from 1992 thru 2001 during which I was the owner of SonTek and which was filled with many moments of personal satisfaction. www.seadiscovery.com MTR What investments are SonTek/YSI making today that are intended for the long-term health of the company? RC The most obvious investment is our new facility. It is a modern building that gives us room for expansion and provides a comfortable working environment. Besides that, we have recently hired several very capable people of the kind who can figure out what to do by themselves and we are looking at hiring more of those over the next few months. Of course we are also investing heavily in equipment and software for manufacturing and R&D. MTR How have industry and/or customer demands and changes significantly affected the product and service offerings of SonTek/YSI? RC There have been many industry/customer changes over the years which have forced SonTek/YSI to change, to adapt its products to the new requirements. I would say that most of it has to do with the fact that Doppler technology has gone from being a novel new idea to becoming the standard for water velocity measurements. Twenty years ago only a handful of highly trained people would consider using a Doppler system, or would even believe that it worked. Today we have Dopplers being used by high-school students and even politicians take for granted that they do work. Along with that change came changes in customer Marine Technology Reporter 47 This used to be an industry filled with small companies run by scientists/engineers who had decided to pursue their technology ideas on their own. Those are rapidly disappearing.
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