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.
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.
For the second year in a row, my year-in-review blog is being delivered well into the new year. That is getting dangerously close to a bad habit, so I will have to work on that for next year. On the plus side, this should get posted in February and thus I am technically only a month late of my goal of January for the target date. Normally I would not start at the end of the year, but this year is an exception because the single biggest piece of news is what happened at the very end of the year …
2015, I moved to the greater Milwaukee area to launch a new DISTek
office. At the time, I was the only employee in the area but we wanted a
temporary office we could use to accommodate our growth prospects in this
region. We managed the “growth” reasonably well, growing to 8 employees
here … but the “temporary” extended a little longer than expected. Though
we started with a 14-month sublease, we ended up staying for three and a half
years. That all changed in December when we moved to a new office
location. We packed up everything during the end of November and the
first part of December, then made the move on Friday, December 14.