Depth Perceptions

Welcome to the first installment of my blog–wherein I’ll be exploring new ways that our team innovates in the highly competitive nuclear power and subsea markets, as well as product breakthroughs and challenges faced by engineering and manufacturing entities like BIRNS, Inc.

I started with this company back in 1975 when my father, Jack, was running it. He’d since made the split from the original Birns & Sawyer team and was focused on the marine side of the industry. (I guess you could say we were working on a new ‘big picture’ approach that didn’t include underwater camera housings.) Birns Oceanographics was born, and with it, exciting new opportunities for illuminating the depths in ways never before possible.

As a small family business, we relied on a lot of trial and error, hard work, solid engineering, and ultimately, our good reputation in the industry as the combination of those attributes began to work together in our favor. Now, nearly 40 years later, BIRNS, Inc. has branched out into deep submergence connector systems, and high performance lights for marine and nuclear power applications that are trusted all over the planet.

It’s been an honor to take my father’s dream and expand it into incredible new territories. I’ve learned countless lessons during that time–about leadership and the complex markets in which BIRNS now operates. I wish I could say that they’ve all been painless, but that’s far from the truth. However, I’ve learned that hiring smart, independent thinkers who can play well with others–while not being afraid to disagree with me on things they really believe in–is key to the growth and innovation of the team. I’ve learned that taking calculated risks can make the difference between positively shaping the perception of your brand and always wondering “what if… ?” And, I’ve learned that reputation can mean everything.

(As you can see from the photos, my career has spanned me pointing at pieces of paper with engineers to, decades later, actually writing on pieces of paper with engineers.)

Some things never change…and some things are meant to. I guess the trick is knowing the difference and making the right call.