Victor Business Products

By Charles Knell – I left my government job at the U.S. Navy to work for Victor Business Products. Saying that transitioning from government to private industry was a shock would be an understatement. My last position at the Navy was that of a Supervisory Project Engineer. Project Engineer was the position that Victor Business Products wanted me to fill.

My first project was to guide the development of a computer printer. A prototype of the mechanical portion of the project was in testing when I joined the company. The prototype was built in the model shop and many parts were made one at a time. However, the company still needed production parts which could be manufactured in large quantities at low cost.

The next step of the development was to build the mechanical part of the printer using production parts. So, my first task was to know every production part that we were missing. The first thing I did was to get a listing of every mechanical part. I needed to learn what every part was. So, I went to the drafting department and got copies of the drawings of every part. I was responsible for getting the purchasing department to expedite receipt every production part that we were missing.

The next thing I did was make a PERT diagram. This showed every project milestone and how it related to other milestones. Nowadays, this job is done using project management software and a personal computer. However, we didn’t have personal computers, so I created it using drawing templates, paper and pencil. It goes without saying that it was difficult to update. My job was to track the completion of each milestone on the diagram.

In parallel with building the mechanical part of the printer with production parts, electronics was designed to interface with it and also with an associated computer. However, by this time I asked to join the electrical design team. I was given the task of designing the power supply. This went well and the manager of the design team liked me. However, when his boss disrespected him in front of his team, I lost all respect for the company. I left Victor Business Products to join a company called Telemed.

Months later I saw the finished printer at an electronics show. It had made it into production.

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