By Paul Campbell
This year Campbell Scientific celebrates its 40th birthday. I have been here all but the first two years, and I’d like to take this opportunity to look back and highlight some of the milestones, summarize where we are now, and offer my vision looking ahead.
Evan Campbell, one of the founders, recently described his memory of an early milestone. He, along with two of his (and my) older brothers, visited the NOAA Wave Propagation Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado, in the fall of 1973 to explore the possibility of manufacturing a path-averaging laser anemometer that could be the basis for starting a new company. Their schedules allowed only a narrow window of time for travel from Logan, Utah, to Boulder and back. So they planned to take turns driving so they could get plenty of rest, meet during the day in Boulder, and then immediately return to Logan. The only problem was, they were too excited to rest and the three of them talked through the night driving to Colorado. Then after the meeting, with the added surge of new ideas, they talked all through the next night while driving back to Utah. It was during the road trip that they resolved to start a new company and call it Campbell Scientific.
Eric and Evan Campbell were the first employees, and their skills designing and building instruments were complementary. Eric did the conceptual design and electrical engineering, and Evan did the mechanical design and manufacturing. The first prototype instrument was built in our parents’ basement.
Campbell Scientific started as a family business, and I hope that we retain the nurturing influence of the family setting in the culture of the business today. I believe this can best be reflected through respect for one another as we work together in supplier-customer relationships, both internal and external to the company.
Today the company has its main office in Logan, Utah, with 300 employees engaged in marketing, sales, service, product design, and manufacturing. There are roughly another 100 employees engaged in Campbell Scientific offices in other countries. (See www.campbellsci.com/contact.) We continue to advance the technologies our customers need, and in this newsletter we announce several new or improved products for various applications.
The company is engaged in many different markets (see www.campbellsci.com/just-so), and we have been able to find common ground in these markets with our dataloggers while building or buying sensors and creating systems that deliver added value in each market. Looking ahead, we will continue our development of the common datalogger platforms across market segments, while adding value to systems in each segment through applicable sensor selection or development, efficient system integration, and positive user experience with our software products. We will continue our commitment to our manufacturing operations with a priority on quality and reliability.
It seems that the biggest change in the world around us in the past 40 years has been the dawning of the information age. With an expanding variety of computing and communication devices that can be used in data acquisition, processing, and presentation, one of the challenges we face in the company and in the industry is how to best participate in the innovations while hanging on to the values that preserve integrity and confidence in measurement systems and their underlying ability to transduce physical phenomena into meaningful information. Campbell Scientific will continue its focus on the physical observation with its associated time stamp, stored in digital form with reasonable assurance of downstream availability, able to be communicated via a variety of means, and made available to the user in a meaningful form. As information technology continues to expand the possibilities of data communication and presentation methods, we will seek to support standard protocols and either third-party or end-user added-value application software for data display, enhancement, and archiving.
Whether your relationship with Campbell Scientific is as an end user or a value-added reseller, I hope that you are able to look back on your past experience with satisfaction and look ahead with confidence that you can depend on us when your measurements matter. They matter to us.