I had the opportunity to attend two major events in March that involved both AEF and AEM participation. The first event in New Orleans was a joint AEF Plugfest at the same venue and overlapping with the Commodity Classic show which is partially sponsored by AEM. A little over a week later was another event sponsored by AEM: Ag on the Mall.
30 years ago DISTek founder Matt Dickinson took a leap of faith and stepped away from his Monday – Friday job at a company in the St Louis, Missouri area and started a consulting business from his basement. It is those humble beginnings that would lead to the formation of DISTek and pave the way for what it is today.
Love is in the air…. Alright, so yes, I’m a little late for the Valentine’s Day cliches, but here at DISTek we pride ourselves on continuous improvement and growth, in order to keep up employee morale, maintain an employee-first culture, and retain the best and brightest in our industry. We truly value all employee voices and strive to maintain open communication and transparency at all levels throughout the organization, to continue to be a premier workplace where our ESOP continues to flourish and benefit our employee owners.
So, what are DISTekians saying they enjoy most about being a part of the DISTek team? Check it out!
In my work, I build Hardware-In-The-Loop (HIL) test benches. We connect prototype vehicle Electronic Control Units (ECUs) and their software to the HILs. The HILs replicate the various electronic actuators controlled and monitored by ECUs when they are connected to vehicles. We try to use the actual devices that would be used on the equipment, but there are a myriad of different reasons why this is not feasible for testing. A lot of the devices would take up too much space on the HIL. Some can be rather noisy when operating and others require complicated cooling systems to operate for extended periods of time. That is why I often create electronic circuits that will simulate the current feedback characteristics of the actuators.
If 2020 was the year that COVID-19 hit us like a tsunami wave, 2021 seems like it was the year we all tried to figure out how to respond to it. In the news, companies would roll out back-to-office plans only to have them postponed or modified. In-person events would get scheduled and then change to virtual or be cancelled, or in some cases, held in person but with restrictions or mitigations. If nothing else, the COVID-19 pandemic has at least improved our knowledge of the Greek alphabet.
Every good software developer in the off-highway industry codes with safety in mind, right? So, what’s all this functional safety stuff about and why do we need to know it? DISTek continuously strives to stay on top of things like this, and recently DISTek engineers were lucky enough to get answers to all their functional safety questions in a 3-day training session. We received training on Functional Safety Standards ISO 13849 and ISO 25119 by the experts at UL. Being familiar with these standards will help us add structure and consistency to our software engineering work on safety-critical systems.
Here at DISTek, we value collaboration, teambuilding, and delivering unmatched value. We provide our clients with dedicated engineering teams that provide unparalleled value by freeing our clients’ time up so they can focus on broader business challenges. Our proven approach is not only extremely beneficial to our clients but brings significant value and meaning to our employee-owners, as well.
When I hear the term “why statement”, I think about a defining, short proclamation that explicitly states my purpose – the reason I get out of bed in the morning, what fuels my passion, what motivates me, and why I do what I do. Why statements can be personal in nature, but they can also exist at the company level.
What does it mean to own a car versus renting a car? For me, there is a huge difference between the two. Admittedly, I am not the type of individual that returns a rental car clean and washed, as I know the rental company (who actually owns the car) will take care of that. However, with the car I own, I make it a priority to wash it at least once a week to keep the paint maintained and the car looking nice. I make sure when I fill up with gas to clean the interior a bit. I do monthly check-ins to make sure everything is operating efficiently. I also check my tires regularly for wear and tear. In other words, I am inclined to take more care of something I own versus something I am renting.
I had the opportunity once again this year to attend COMVEC 2021 with fellow DISTekians Nick Elliott and Benjamin Jefferson. COMVEC, (Commercial Vehicle Engineering Congress), is a conference sponsored by the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers). It is dedicated to discussing the latest and future trends pertinent to commercial vehicles in the on-highway, agricultural, construction, industrial, military and mining sectors. The theme of this year’s conference was “Energy, Sustainability, and the Future of Commercial Vehicle Transportation”.
In Part 1, we discussed the challenges of virtual collaboration and fundraising for the past season of FIRST robotics. In this Part 2, lets discuss the challenges of competition and community outreach.
Participating in competitions themselves has been very different. The main draw of robotics for students each season is to compete, of course. Our competitions are always a fun and exciting time. The energy is infectious. It’s where all our hard work pays off.