GSSI’s Employee Spotlight is an interview series where we chat with fellow team members to get a glimpse into their careers and gain unique insight into our culture, history, and vision for the future.
This week our employee spotlight shines on Kevin Reardon, a long-time employee of GSSI that works in our engineering department as a Senior Mechanical Engineer.
Kevin Reardon is a mechanical engineer and had previous experience in semi-conductor test machines and office/ school furniture prior to coming to GSSI in 1988. With a multitude of GSSI product and innovations behind him, Kevin states, “The best part of my job is seeing my ideas, sketches and concepts become a reality and that reality becoming a successful product.”
RF: Kevin, thanks so much for talking with us. This is the first time we’ve interviewed an employee who has been with us for decades. I have to ask, what was it like when you first started?
KR: I can’t believe its been over 32 years since I’ve started with GSSI! Things have changed so much. When I started, we did all of the designing on the drafting board. The building in Hudson was pretty much a warehouse that we shared with a lace manufacturer. Next door, they had these huge power looms that shook the entire building constantly, so trying to put pencil on paper in a vibrating environment was interesting. At the time, the company had just under 30 employees, so you got to know everyone pretty quick and you became “part of the family.” I think that sentiment has continued even today.
RF: I imagine you have a lot of stories, and I’d love to know more about those days. Do you recall what your first product release was?
KR: Of course! The first products that I worked on were the PR8300 Graphic Recorder and the DT-6000. If anyone remembers using the graphic recorders you will never forget the smell or the dust.
Editor’s note: The PR8300 Graphic Recorder allowed users to scan GPR data in real time, while also providing a printout of the image as the user scanned. The system required a cassette that was loaded with a graphite paper roll. The alternative was the DT-6000. This was the “Digital Tape” recorder and provided users the ability to collect in the field and play it back or post-process when in the office.
RF: Come to think of it, I may have seen one of our Graphic Recorders in the GSSI Museum! I’m sure at the time, they were state-of-the-art, but looking at it now, it doesn’t look very easy to operate.
KR: You’re right about that! That’s what amazes me today, to see how far we’ve come. We now live in a digital world. Gone are the drafting boards, fax machines and catalogs, replaced by 3D CAD, digital simulation, email, Zoom and the Internet.
Back in 1988 if you wanted prototype parts, you had to create a fully dimensioned drawing, mail or fax the drawing (depending on size), wait for a quote and then a couple of weeks later you would have your parts. Today, I can generate a 3D model and send it to our 3D printer and have the part in the same day. It’s a fun time to be a Mechanical Engineer.
RF: As the HR Manager, that’s music to my ears! New and different challenges are important, especially true for tenured employees.
KR: We have a tag line here at GSSI “What we do here is pretty cool” and it is true. I get excited when GSSI finds a new use for GPR. When I started, the operators of the equipment were scientists, engineers, archaeologists, and geologists. Today the users also include construction workers, Department of Transportation (DOT) agencies, autonomous vehicle makers to name a few. The equipment has become much more user friendly and has expanded the usage of GPR. GSSI has provided the engineering department with the latest technologies; 3D printing, rapid prototyping services, and incorporating new manufacturing processes to make sure we are developing the best possible products.
RF: I agree, the GPR industry has certainly grown over the years and has so much potential. As does the company. In your years here, what do you think makes GSSI special?
KR: It goes back to when I first started at GSSI – the people. Over the years I’ve seen people come and go but it has always been a family atmosphere, especially these days. Back in the spring when we were all under “stay at home,” the employees voluntarily donated vacation time so other employees who couldn’t work at home would still receive full pay while we were shut down. Classy move. That makes me proud to be a part of this family. This type of culture is why we have been named the best company to work for in New Hampshire the last two years.
RF: Well… since you mentioned it, I’d love to share a little clip that we have of an interview with you to end this. Thanks Kevin, it’s always a pleasure!
Robin Finnegan, SHRM-CP, is the HR Manager and has been with GSSI since 2011. To check out current job openings, please visit our Careers page.