Benjamin Jefferson, Vice President of Technology Development, has been with the company since 2006. His 15+year career has focused on software development for embedded electronics in the mobile off-highway equipment industry. He started with DISTek as a Software Engineer focused on electrohydraulic control systems for agricultural vehicles and implements. While with DISTek, he has managed embedded software development projects and teams, has worked with the business development team, and is active with the executive management team. Benjamin’s technical expertise includes C, C++, CAN, ISOBUS, SAE J1939, MATLAB/Simulink, and Digital Signal Processing.
You would have to be living under a pretty big rock to not realize that the in-person-conference scenario has changed quite a bit in the last 18 months. I know of a few in-person events that have happened since most everything shut down in March 2020, but they are few and far between. So, needless to say, I am looking forward to a chance to get back together with some fellow industry professionals at SAE COMVEC in mid-September. Of course, I expect there to be some differences from the last time we did in-person COMVEC, but as engineers, we live in a constant state of change anyway.
I just scrolled through old blog posts and realized I have been writing a Year in Review post since at least 2014. If I did not know better, I might think I was being typecast for this role. Either way, if 2020 is the last time I do a Year in Review, then it certainly is one that provided a lot of differences to highlight.
Each year in September, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) holds a Commercial Vehicle Congress (COMVEC). At this event, engineers and technologists come together to collaborate on technologies for commercial trucks, defense vehicles, and off-highway equipment. DISTek has been a participant and exhibitor at COMVEC for many years. It is a perfect fit for our industry focus, and many of the technologies discussed are wholly, or partially, driven by electronics and software.
I have been a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) for a number of years and have attended several different SAE events over the last decade. In 2018, I started attending the SAE WCX, a show focused on passenger car technologies, formerly known as the World Congress. Insights into the technologies of today and tomorrow in passenger cars are definitely informative as DISTek seeks to be ready for new technology applications in the Off-Highway industry where we focus. Of course, not everything is directly applicable, but much of it is to varying degrees.
I just looked back at my Year in Review blog post for 2018 from a year ago, and I see that it was posted in late February with a stated goal to get the next one done on a timelier schedule. So here you go, hot off the press and still in January! In 2018...
In mid-September, the Agricultural Electronics Foundation (AEF) once again hosted a fall ISOBUS Plugfest in Europe, this time in Antibes, France. Antibes is in the French Riviera along the Mediterranean coast – the views were spectacular, the food was great, and the hospitality was fantastic. The conference center facility was well-suited to host the Plugfest and even though it did not have an attached hotel, there was ample lodging within walking distance to meet the needs of the Plugfest attendees.
The next ISOBUS Plugfest is just around the corner from May 07-09 in Lincoln, NE. If my quick mental count is correct, this Plugfest is lucky number 13 for me. I first attended in Austria in September 2012 and have been at each Plugfest since … except in 2016 when I had to miss the spring event due to a freak medical issue. In the seven years I have been attending, AEF has almost doubled in membership, hundreds of products have been AEF certified, and Plugfests have lengthened from two to three days each.