As a successful business leader, how do you perceive the changes that happened since the pandemic arrived? And in your perspective how did these changes affect the small businesses landscape, both in the U.S. and in Canada?
I have a somewhat unique position of being responsible for a company that has multiple job types. We own our production facility in Southern Utah, which employs over 100 production and warehouse jobs that are all essential to keeping our company running. They make and ship the products that generate the revenue that pays the wages for all of our employees, even the “white collar” workers that are able to work from home. It has been a challenge for everyone, but the warehouse team that shows up every day, wearing masks and limiting social interaction, have been hit the hardest. That said, we have a happy and engaged workforce that values the ability to be part of the Wilson Electronics mission. We were just honored with the Utah’s Best Company award for the third time.
Small businesses are certainly challenged with the pandemic, but we have shown that we are also flexible and resilient to do what needs to be done to keep everyone working. This is the advantage of being a smaller company; people can see a direct impact to the success of the company based on their individual contributions.
You have an impressive resume. You hold a degree from the University of Maryland Baltimore County in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA from Washington State University. What inspired you to pursue an MBA after engineering?
I love building things and solving complex problems that are at the heart of most engineering challenges, but also are part of running any business. How businesses operate fascinates me, and coming from a pure product and engineering background made me realize that I needed to broaden my education to understand the many different facets of business in order to be the most effective. That led me to a formal education in business.
Wilson Electronics claims to solve the world’s connectivity issues. But we’re all aware that the world is also facing a huge energy crisis. Most of the energy experts are speculating that unconventional sources of energy is the future of sustainable energy consumption. Would Wilson Electronics try to explore green and unconventional sources of energy?
Wilson’s mission to improve communication that in-turn, will improve the lives of those that are able to stay connected regardless of their location. That said, energy is a finite resource that needs to be used wisely. At its most basic source, all of our energy comes from the sun. Fossil fuels are a result of the sun shining millions of years ago. Wind, solar, biomass and other unconventional sources are all driven by the sun as well, but in the present. It makes sense to “short-circuit” this conduit of energy as directly as possible, which also leads to a much cleaner and infinite supply over time (for as long as the sun burns), and harvest energy as directly from the sun as possible. That said, we have to be realistic about the amount of energy that the sun can provide the earth at any point in time. This is finite in any unit of time. We must strive for efficient uses of all the energy that we harness. As the population continues to grow, we must improve energy efficiency, since the need will grow.
At Wilson Electronics, we strive to improve the efficiency of our products in every design we build, so that we minimize the energy consumed vs. the service they provide. We also can extend the range of signals that are already present, reducing the need for more power-hungry base stations. This is important to us.
Wilson Electronics is resolving connectivity issues almost everywhere-office, home, marketplace but can we get seamless connectivity during air travel too?
This is already happening today through satellite-based communications to the planes. It is mainly presented as wi-fi, while onboard. Although it is possible for mobile phone connectivity, while in the air, this is something that would be limited by individual country regulations. The current communications channels to the planes could be used and broadcast inside the planes on mobile frequencies, but it is currently prohibited by regulations.
We can understand that implementation of 5G needs more towers so that the users can enjoy a seamless network. But lately, the radiation from mobile towers has come under radar for its acute toxicity. Do you think this may discourage the installation of more mobile towers?
This is where science needs to balance out the hype. At one time, many people talked about 5G towers spreading COVID-19, which is untrue and a result of hype and fear mongering taking precedence over scientific facts. RF levels are measured by power at a distance and in order to be harmful, RF signals have to be very high-power at a very close distance. The reason that more towers are needed for 5G is because the distance that 5G mmWave travels through the air is very short – it dissipates quickly. If there were strong signals, then more towers would not have to be built. In other words, devices need a certain signal level density to operate, and towers are only built to reach that signal density. Once achieved, no more towers are needed.
Mobile, WiFi networks, and other internet-based communication helped the world to survive the pandemic. But in an after-Covid19 world, the WFH trend will continue and most of the business meetings will be organized virtually. Ergo the demand for internet and connectivity will become stellar in the coming decade. Do you think we are prepared to meet the astronomical demands of connectivity?
This is a continuing story. Data demands will continue to grow exponentially for many reasons. Wilson Electronics and many others are continuing to develop solutions to tackle these demands and will continue to develop new innovations to support this need.
On a final note, what is your key advice to small business owners during these challenging times?
Stay true to your mission. Take care to keep your employees and your customers safe and focused. Be flexible and adapt as needed to meet the demands that continue to challenge us each day. Remain positive. Keep calm and carry on.