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Editor at large

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Posted by Courtney E. Howard

Wow, upon writing the headline, a flood of fat jokes popped into my head, but I will fight the impulse (which is also a good dieting tactic). It just goes to show you: I should never write a blog on a Friday night.

I had an incredible week, traveling about Oregon visiting with knowledgeable, charismatic, and passionate executives at technology firms serving military and aerospace customers.

Here's where I went, who I saw, and what I learned (in a nutshell anyway):

FLIR -- David Strong, vice president of marketing, FLIR Government Systems, and Angel Bennett, a new hire for the company but a seasoned mil-aero veteran, treated me to a tour--sans camera phone. It is good that the receptionist requested my phone; I noted a few times when I would have wanted to snap a photo or two. Great stuff in forward-looking infrared, lasers, thermal imaging, and more.

Mentor Graphics
-- James Price, a marketing manager and all-around man in demand at Mentor Graphics, set aside some time to sit down with me and discuss electronic design automation, product lifecycle management, requirements tracking, and more. The company's IESF, a free mil-aero forum, takes place in little more than a week in Dallas. Price also announced an impressive list of speakers for the event, which includes Northrop Grumman, IBM, Teal Group, Patmos Engineering Services, and of course, Mentor Graphics. Moreover, he revealed that Q2 of 2009 was a record quarter for Mentor Graphics. Kudos! I would certainly love to hear more good news like that about the industry.

Tektronix -- Sophie Fauveau, worldwide marketing communications program manager, and Todd Baker, senior manager, discussed the company's latest advancements. The company has announced its highest-performance mixed signal oscilloscope. The new MSO70000 series offers integrated digital and analog analysis to system integration debugging.

RadiSys -- Happily, it was my first visit with RadiSys that did not take place hurriedly on a trade show floor. Lyn Pangares, director of marketing communications, and John Long, product line manager, sat down with me and discussed the company's history and its future. The company has, I have learned, an interesting back story. RadiSys was delivering commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solutions (COTSS? Sorry, I digress) that met the stringent requirements of the medical market. RadiSys and its products, therefore, caught the eye of engineers serving the mil-aero market. Customers were saying "we want your product in the mil-aero environment" and essentially pulled RadiSys into the community. The relationship enabled mil-aero customers to "access a level of technology not previously available" and "dip their toe into COTS," according to a representative.

Engineering Design Team -- I have heard nary a peep from Engineering Design Team in months, but, as I found out, it does not mean they aren't up to something. In fact, the company offers solutions well suited to advancing the state and use of digital video on the battlefield. As I learned at NAB?s Government & Defense Summit earlier this year, officials in the Department of Defense are actively seeking advanced technology for acquiring, processing, sending/receiving, viewing, and storing multiple terabytes of digital video captured by various sensors on the battlefield.

VersaLogic -- In a serene, farmland setting sits VersaLogic, a longtime provider of rugged embedded computers for mil-aero applications. In fact, VersaLogic has been making solutions such as its line of single-board computers (SBCs) for roughly 30 years. The company "has been very busy" and introduced three new products recently, and four or five others are due in Spring 2010, says a representative.

The economy is down and travel budgets are tight, but as long as my decade-old sedan will carry me, I will be out and about learning all I can from the welcoming and impassioned mil-aero community. See you soon!

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Welcome to the lighter side of Military & Aerospace Electronics. This is where our staff recount tales of the strange, the weird, and the otherwise offbeat. We could put news here, but we have the rest of our Website for that. Enjoy our scribblings, and feel free to add your own opinions. You might also get to know us in the process. Proceed at your own risk.

John Keller for MAE
John Keller is editor-in-chief of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, which provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronic and optoelectronic technologies in military, space, and commercial aviation applications. A member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since the magazine's founding in 1989, Mr. Keller took over as chief editor in 1995.

Courtney Howard for MAE Courtney E. Howard is senior editor of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine. She is responsible for writing news stories and feature articles for the print publication, as well as composing daily news for the magazine's Website and assembling the weekly electronic newsletter. Her features have appeared in such high-tech trade publications as Military & Aerospace Electronics, Computer Graphics World, Electronic Publishing, Small Times, and The Audio Amateur.

John McHale for MAE John McHale is executive editor of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, where he has been covering the defense Industry for more than dozen years. During that time he also led PennWell's launches of magazines and shows on homeland security and a defense publication and website in Europe. Mr. McHale has served as chairman of the Military & Aerospace Electronics Forum and its Advisory Council since 2004. He lives in Boston with his golf clubs.