Q&A: 25-Year Digitize Engineer John Ermatinger on the Past, Present, & Future
By Andrew Erickson
September 16, 2022
DPS Telecom acquired Digitize this year. That, obviously, has the potential to trigger big changes within the company.
That's why I decided it was important to hear from long-time Digitize employees who have a strong understanding of what Digitize has been over the years. They've also witnessed new changes during the last several months. What do they think of the new direction? What effect will this have on Digitize distributors and end users?
To answer these questions, I recently sat down with John Ermatinger, who has logged more than two decades in Engineering and Sales at Digitize. He's seen a lot over the years.
That makes John one of the most qualified people possible to discuss where Digitize is been, and where he sees us going after new ownership began in June 2022.
Q: Hi, John. To start with, please introduce yourself and your multiple roles at Digitize during your career here.
A: Sure. To all of our Digitize distributors and users, let me say this:
I have enjoyed more than 25 years at Digitize. In that time, I’ve been proud to provide the equipment and support to meet your needs.
I’ve worked in our Test Department testing new systems, restored used products to working condition, and provided general technical support.
In Tech Support, I had to learn a lot about Digitize systems and other manufacturers’ systems, as well as the interactions between them. I also learned that playing the “finger pointing” game goes nowhere. Pushing the blame onto other systems doesn’t accomplish anything. If you have a problem, you need a resolution.
I moved into Engineering to take on advanced technical support, system installations, on-site client support, training seminars, software testing, new product testing, and sales. That's why my office looks much more like an electronics lab than a typical business office. I get to play around with some very fun equipment that gets installed in some pretty amazing places.
What do you think will be the effect of the new ownership that took over at Digitize during the summer?
As you may know by now, Digitize got a new owner in June. Suddenly, we're new, improved, and rapidly growing.
Initial meetings and interviews with the new owner Bob Berry and his team were encouraging.
Bob’s other company, DPS Telecom, is in California. He has clients all over the US and abroad. They design and manufacture general-purpose monitoring equipment and have a great Engineering staff.
Even so, we all knew upfront there would be big changes. Change can be uncomfortable. I think we’ve all felt that at one time or another.
Bob and his team got right to work updating the Test, Production, QC, Stock Room, and Shipping areas with the latest in ESD protection. They were literally scrubbing, mopping, and waxing the floors with conductive “ESD wax”. Floor, shelves, and workspaces are all electrically grounded. All employees have new ESD apparel with anti-static overshirts and shoe straps.
All the workstations have also been updated. New lighting has been added throughout the work areas. We’re talking major cleaning and upgrading.
Heck, even Bob’s wife and two young kids were very involved in the heavy lifting of cleaning and upgrades. That showed me more than anything else how serious Bob is about improving Digitize.
That doesn’t exactly sound like a family vacation to New Jersey, now does it? (Don’t worry. After more than two months here, Bob did take his family to Disneyland - but he’s coming back next week to continue moving Digitize forward.)
Q: You're right about change being uncomfortable. For Digitize equipment users out there who are concerned about support for existing products, what do you say to them?
A: We’re improving rapidly, while still maintaining all existing product lines.
Digitize will remain “business as usual” in that we will maintain the existing Digitize product lines. For both new products and old, we have made changes to our manufacturing processes that will result in overall quality improvement. It has improved the way we do our jobs. These changes will be transparent to our clients.
Q: Tell us more about the quality improvement you've seen and expect in the future.
A: Sometimes, it takes an outsider to see the things you can’t. Our new ownership has and will continue to improve us, improve our systems, and improve our processes. You’ll get better, higher-quality products from Digitize.
Quality has been stressed here since Day One:
“Quality. Quality. Quality.”
“We will do better.”
“Our products will be made better.”
New staff is being added across Digitize, with a heavy emphasis on software and hardware engineers. Product improvement and new product development requires it.
Bob’s business model and strategies built DPS Telecom into a successful company with a reputation for high-quality, durable systems. Utilizing some of DPS Telecom’s team and knowledge has been a great resource for Digitize as we expand and improve.
Q: Early on as the possible acquisition was announced, you spoke strongly about the commitment you feel to the Digitize user base. Can you articulate that a bit more here?
A: I have built quite a rapport with you, Digitize’s distributors and end users, over the years. I have become quite close to many of you.
I feel an obligation to all of you. I want to ensure we will continue to support you long-term. Already, our current Digitize systems are being made better (and even packed and shipped better) with methods proven by DPS Telecom.
I feel really good about the future of Digitize. We will continue to give you excellent technical support while offering you new and improved life-safety and property-protection systems for years to come.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to call Digitize and ask for me.
Thanks for your time, John! We appreciate the update and your commitment to the upcoming growth at Digitize.
For more information on Digitize fire alarm monitoring systems, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 1-800-523-7232.
Andrew Erickson is an Application Engineer at DPS Telecom, a manufacturer of semi-custom remote alarm monitoring systems based in Fresno, California. Andrew brings more than 16 years of experience building site monitoring solutions, developing intuitive user interfaces and documentation, and...Read More