Education for a Lifetime
By Tim Gunn, Director of Product Support
When I think about my early days at MultiTech, I think of having two very different teachers.
I was a student when I first started working at MultiTech. I would attend my tech school classes during the day and come to work at night where I worked in the manufacturing department. I think I was employee number 23. It was during these evening work sessions that I first got to know Raghu Sharma. He also liked to work at night.
I guess Raghu saw something in me. He would come to work at night and bring his college textbooks, asking me to read certain chapters from the book he brought. The next night we would discuss what I had read. I loved these discussions, but I also started to notice that I wasn’t getting a lot of work done. I remember pointing this out to Raghu.
“Don’t worry about that,” he told me. He became my mentor and I’m so glad he did.
That was 41 years ago, and it was these early conversations with Raghu that got me so excited about the business and everything MultiTech was doing. I switched my curriculum focus from business programming to electronics and when I graduated, I became MultiTech’s technical support department. A team of one, I guess.
After my start in tech support, I moved on to engineering where I helped develop MultiTech’s smart modems. I administered the programming to the designs Raghu created. When our company moved from New Brighton to Mounds View I became the modem manager. I remember at this time it was all I could do to manage our existing commitments and try to keep up with Raghu and all of the new things he was creating. He was always challenging us to learn more. A few of us at this time were also doing global certifications of our analog products.
I am named on 17 different patents of MultiTech’s and played a role in defending our intellectual property throughout the years. We even went to the Supreme Court.
When our company reorganized, I moved back into a heavier technical support role. I loved this move as it matched my mentality. I’ve always believed everyone is our customer, both internal and external, and that it’s our job to go where we are needed to solve problems. In my current role as director of product support, my primary responsibility is to handle the escalation of clients and, hopefully, deescalate the situation. It’s never dull and I get to spend a good part of my day problem solving. What could be better than that?
I also direct the certification department and our documentation group as well, both are roles that I had to do in years past, with more problem solving and constant learning to help expand MultiTech’s global presence, as well as provide constant feedback to the other MultiTech teams.
Our company has solved a lot of problems over the last 50 years, particularly for our customers. We’ve helped people in agriculture, healthcare and energy. We’ve made a difference in people’s lives and it's all because of the people we have here.
It’s the work ethic that MultiTech seems to bring out in everyone. It’s that "Let’s not give up, what can we do?" mentality and I’m so proud to be part of it. I know that whatever problem we face here at MultiTech, our culture promotes our pulling together to get past the challenge. It’s what’s made us go for the last 50 years. We’ve been a good partner to our customers and a family to each other.
Now we have to keep it going. With new technologies on the market, continuing MultiTech’s growth will depend on our ability to mesh the talented people we already have working here with the new interns and permanent hires that will join our team. It's up to us to train the next generation, just as Raghu did for me 41 years ago.
I can't wait to continue to do my part, I will bring the textbooks … or at least point to the now electronic versions of them.