How A Vice President of Operations Got His Start

By Ziad Alezabi

January 26, 2024

James Sutton (prefers the nickname "Jim") is the Vice President of Operations at Digitize. He is known for his calm demeanor around the workplace and his trademark moustache.

Jim is constantly being stopped around the office by Electrical Technicians, Sales professionals, and Marketing Writers so that they can ask him questions.

This is understandable, because Jim has been at Digitize for a long time and knows the equipment, services, and company like he knows his own name.

I decided to conduct an interview with Jim in order to understand what it is that made him stay at Digitize for a long time and how anybody that is up and coming in the field could become as knowledgeable and capable as him.

"I started back in 1979, leaving high school at the end of the day and coming here for two hours. Just shuffling around papers to get my foot in the door, you know? And I started working in the drafting department. As soon as I got out of school, I started working here full-time. 

I worked there for a number of years and then started asking Electronica questions to the owner and the people in charge. And slowly, they would tell me different things about how things worked, and I started to ask more questions and got involved in projects.

That sucked me into doing electronics and designing. I always wanted to be hands-on into a little bit of everything. If there was manuals that needed to be written, I was into it, and if there was cut sheets, I was into it.

You know, back in the day I used to hand-lay out the circuit boards on drafting boards and tape. There's been a couple of times I've left to other companies and come back, and then left and come back. I think a total of three times." - James Sutton

Since James Sutton has been with the company since 1979, I figured that he must have seen many promotions and job progressions. After all, he is the Vice President of Operations.

How Jim Climbed The Ladder

I decided to ask Jim what his job progression was like.

Well I started as a draftsman, then I ran the drafting department, and then I guess I became a project engineer. The titles were kind of loose and they kind of fit the need at the time. There was nothing that I ever said no to. A key to being useful is never saying that's outside of my pay grade. 

I was always interested in taking on something new and different and seeing how it worked out. My first project with the owner of the company, writing software, was on a small Apple 2e. He said, well, we'll do this much for doing the project. And I said, well, here's what we're going to do. Here's how I want to do it. I will work on the project, and if I'm able to create something that's useful to you, then we'll talk about getting paid for it. 

And in case I can't do anything, then we'll just let the water go under the bridge. This was for a product that eventually got sold to a client. Because I was new and fresh and taking on something totally outside my area of comfort, I wanted to make sure that I didn't overextend myself.

This got me to wonder what Jim did before working at Digitize. I doubted that Digitize was his first job because it is very rare for someone to find their career-long job on the first try.

Where Jim Started

It's comforting and sincere to find out where people came from, because it reminds us that we can achieve great things too. I asked Jim if he had worked other jobs before finding Digitize.

I was working at Two Guys which is kind of like the Walmart of the day, doing stock and all kinds of young kid stuff there. And then I saw the opportunity here for some kind of opening, so I applied for it, but I couldn't have that opening because I was in school. 

But they made a special position for me where I could come in at 3 o'clock and work until 5 o'clock. After I graduated from school, that got me a full-time position as a draftsman. And then slowly, the guy that was running the department moved on, and so they offered it to me, and I was like, yeah.

When you are first starting to look for a job after you have finished your education, you will be looking for someone to give you the initial and rare chance. Do not fall into the trap of trying to make the most money straight out of the gate.

Not only will you not learn anything on these jobs due to them requiring to bring your own knowledge and experience, but you will also limit your growth due to being confined in one strict role.

What Kept Jim At Digitize

It was clear to me that something at Digitize must have stuck with Jim to make him stay all of these years. I asked him what initially struck him when he first started working here.

It was professional and it was small. It was the owner, he was the one that decided things. He was really smart, but I found out other than being really smart, he was very persistent.

So, again, being really smart is not designing this mouse the first time, and it's 100% there, and then you sell it. It's designing the first one, testing it, finding the failures, discovering what you need to do to fix the failures, and then coming out with a second gen and a third gen, and being persistent about it. 

The only time you truly fail is if you just stop. I found that that was what stood out to me about the owner, was that he was very persistent. So failures just meant that there was another step that needed to take place to find out, discover the failure, discover how to fix it.

My interview with Jim made it clear that he was someone that came with a mentality of being ready to learn. That is ultimately what we look for at Digitize. At Digitize, everyone is onboarded at entry level and are given the opportunity to put in the time and effort to gain experience, knowledge, and a smart work ethic.

Do You Think You Have What It Takes?

If you are someone that needs an opportunity to prove yourself and come ready and willing to absorb years of knowledge from experts in the field so that you may one day be a leading figure like James Sutton, then you are the personality we are looking for.

Digitize hires constantly for:

  • Electric Technicians
  • Sales Engineers
  • Marketing Writers
  • Software Developers
  • Administrative Assistants
  • Shipping Clerks

Then Digitize is the right fit for you, and you are most likely the right fit for us. Everybody comes to the interviews believing that they have the best work ethic out of everybody else in the room. Are you able to back that up when you're actually hired?

To look at more jobs and apply, click here

You can also call us at (973)663-1011 in order to reach us quicker or to follow up on your application.

Ziad Alezabi

Ziad Alezabi

Ziad Alezabi is a seasoned marketing writer renowned for his expertise in crafting compelling content and strategic marketing communications. With a rich background in the industry, Ziad has contributed significantly to various projects, delivering engaging blog articles, impactful videos, and...Read More