Can you give us some history on how Spectrum Control developed over the years to include so many well-known brands in the microwave industry?
Over its 70-year history the company acquired many well-known brands, such as Weinschel, Inmet, Spectrum Control, Spectrum Microwave, and Sage Microwave. The goal was to offer breadth and depth of electromagnetic spectrum capabilities to our customers. Many of those product brands operated semi-autonomously until the recent past. We have now shifted to a more collaborative approach to create deep connections between business development, sales, product line management, engineering and manufacturing teams, company-wide, to spur innovation and develop more vertical integration. Renaming the company Spectrum Control was a great way for us to announce our unified approach that will help customers control the spectrum with great technology, products, and capabilities.
You have more than 35 years of industry experience including most recently as CEO of Abaco Systems. How has the experience served you best in preparing for this role?
My experience in electronic warfare, communications, radar, and sonar has served me well as I worked with our executive leadership team to further shape game-changing components and systems for Spectrum Control customers. In my previous leadership roles, I recognized the importance of organic growth, the development of disruptive products to differentiate us, and the commitment to significant investment in R&D. These pillars have proven valuable as we advance Spectrum Control and create a new future and improved culture.
You took over as CEO a little over a year ago, what changes in strategy and direction of the company have you made?
It has been an exciting, rewarding journey getting to know our incredible team, and meeting with customers to understand their needs. Our business is complex, but our priorities are simple. We want to be the easiest and best possible company for our customers to do business with, the best possible place to work, and a powerful force for improving human lives through our technology and solutions.
In an era of unprecedented supply chain pressure, we are actually improving on-time delivery metrics. To do this, we have upgraded our manufacturing operations, adding new equipment and improving our systems.
First, let me say that there is no substitution for great engineering talent, and we aim to keep and grow that talent. Our customers come to us for clarity and for answers. Our world-class engineering and design capabilities enable that. We have taken steps to retain the incredible engineers that we already have, while also hiring new proven and experienced people to further strengthen our team. We have complemented that initiative with significant investments in R&D and achieved a cultural shift in how we operate. Determining the industry problems we can solve and the new products we can develop for our customers are at the forefront of all we do and think about.
What areas do you think have the most growth potential for Spectrum Control in the next few years?
We will continue to invest in our core businesses as an important part of our growth. Our components are considered best-in-class in most respects. Our growth will be further supported by our investments in technology to support open standards with higher levels of RF integration and smaller topologies that meet emerging trends and market needs for reduced size, weight, power and cost. Expanding our solutions in such a way will make us even more valuable to the customers we serve.
How does Spectrum Control leverage its technology for commercial versus military systems?
Commercial and military designers share a common goal of developing solutions that perform and deliver in the most extreme and difficult environments. They also look to work with the technologies and experts that can help them avoid or solve technical problems to reduce their system integration timelines. As one of the largest, vertically integrated, and standalone RF companies, our expertise in signal conditioning is unmatched, grounded in real-world experience. Our solution elements are the most advanced and reliable available today. It allows us to build smaller, more versatile solutions that utilize our miniaturized, high-performance amplifiers, filters, and advanced components. By doing so, we keep signals and critical information safe and secure, which is vital in military and commercial sectors.
There has been a strong effort in military systems to standardize systems with SOSA, VITA, etc. – how is Spectrum Control pursing this trend with their products?
We understand that many of our customers, particularly those in defense, need more open and standard designs. To comply with SOSA requirements and to maintain flexibility, our customers need vendor-neutral, easily replaceable components and assemblies. We embrace this! We know that our advantage is in making the absolute best, most dependable, most innovative solutions in the marketplace. This has always been our approach and design philosophy. We are investing to bring the open strategy to every part of our business and all our new product releases are completely SOSA-aligned.
As RF/microwave systems become more software driven, you seem to have adopted a “digitally enabled” RF strategy – can you tell us why you are pursuing that strategy?
We invested in technology and talent over the past two years to address evolving commercial and military requirements. One area is digital technology. Other companies have developed solutions that downconvert and upconvert the RF signals. Our solutions deliver the fidelity of a true RF solution along with integral digital control. This will save our customers the cost of integration and reduce the physical footprint of the modules. This line of solutions aligns with SOSA initiatives, as well as SWaP-C requirements, that are critical in emerging system designs.
What are the first products that will be available under this new platform?
Over the next few months, we will be unveiling complete solutions that are overcoming the challenges associated with our customers’ emerging designs. For the first time ever in RF we are going to be introducing digitally enabled “super” components and modules that are open, interoperable, and dependable. Such an approach allows the remainder of the design and integration to be done by our customers’ software developers. This is a massive leap in design and a significant opportunity for our customers.
One of the areas of excellence within Spectrum Control is filtering. How will you leverage that in higher level products and what advantages does that expertise give you in the marketplace?
We have vast experience and the skill sets to develop unique filtering technology, which sets us apart in the industry. We believe we have more filtering engineers in Spectrum Control than any other company in the world when you combine our electromagnetic protection and RF filtering—including SAW. EM filtering is fundamental to what our customers do, either to protect equipment, defend sensitive systems, or optimize signal quality. Our ability to combine RF filtration technology into miniaturized functional blocks sets us apart and serves as a pillar in our ability to create solutions that deliver high performance while also meeting the SWaP-C requirements that are becoming prevalent in commercial and military designs.
How do you envision the company being most successful over the next 3-5 years?
Spectrum Control’s success in the next few years is synergistic with the success of our teammates and customers. We are committed to creating a culture that encourages innovation to advance technologies that will revolutionize commercial and military designs. In turn, that will help our customers continue to create incredible solutions that tap the power of the electromagnetic spectrum to protect human life, advance their interests, and run their operations.