In the early 1990s, the world was in a state of change. Germany was reunified in 1990, the dissolution of the Soviet Union happened in 1991, Yugoslavia was breaking apart in 1992, while here in the USA another presidential election cycle was brewing. It was into this world that DISTek was born on April 1, 1992. Company founder, Matt Dickinson, brought his experience in electronics for the agricultural, aerospace, and factory automation industries and setup DISTek as a contract provider of embedded electronics engineering services for off-highway equipment.
Suffice it to say that technology was a bit different back then. As just one example, the Motorola International 3200 was introduced as the world’s first digital cell phone. If you do not know what that device looks like, just do a quick Google search. Of course, Google did not exist then; the company founders had not yet even met and were still doing their undergrad work. And the world-wide web existed, but just barely. The third website was added to the web in February 1992. And if you were using your PC to look for this information, you would likely not have been using a graphical operating system on your state-of-the-art 66 MHz Intel 486 CPU; Windows 3.1 was not released until 5 days after DISTek was formed. I personally give credit to DISTek for the moderate successes we have seen from Microsoft, the personal computing, and internet usage in general. If you find the changes in technology over just 25 years a bit crazy, send me a note on my pager because – guess what – SMS (aka text messaging) did not exist until December of 1992.
In national news of the era, several high-profile criminal convictions were taking place in early 1992: Mike Tyson, Jeffrey Dahmer, John Gotti. A notable non-conviction led to the Los Angeles riots in late April. But not everything was bad news. This was the era when the winter and summer Olympics were held in the same year, so sports fans were treated to both in 1992. The winter games showcased Bonnie Blair in speed-skating, among many other athletes. The summer games included the inaugural USA Dream Team in basketball and the Unified Team of some former Soviet republics. We also saw an entertaining outsider presidential candidate in Ross Perot, perhaps the first and last time a candidate has put together infomercials to air on network television.
In the early years of DISTek, two notable events took place. The first was a move of company headquarters from Missouri to Illinois in 1994. With that move came the opportunity for DISTek’s first explosive growth phase, doubling in size in 1995. Yes, Matt hired his first engineer thereby doubling DISTek’s capacity. DISTek remained at this level for a couple more years before the next phase of DISTek growth kicked in … [Click here to read The Present – Part 1.]