When I showed up at Weed Instruments in Round Rock, something I’ve been threatening to do for three years, I was dumbfounded at how many of the people who work there were people I’d worked with in the past.
I knew Simon Appleby, the CEO, from his Polysonics days…and Troy Johnson, Dave Robertson, Jean-Marie Delbar, Mark McCray, Alan Gilchrist, and others from my own days at Texas Nuclear. It was a “ThermoElectron alumni association” reunion…
So, Weed is one of those small companies that does great things, and goes largely unreported. That’s too bad, because they have clearly shown that you don’t have to take products like thermocouples, pressure transmitters, RTDs, thermowells, and fiber optics offshore to make a buck. You can, by judicious application of strategic management, lean manufacturing, Kaizen, and a clear vision of what you want to be, make a highly profitable little company do very well thank you, right here in the US of A.
Weed is well known for its temperature measurement product line, but that’s not the biggest bangs any more. It’s nuclear qualified product line is growing, both in scope and in sales volume, as is their international sales market.
I wasn’t able to see my old friend Dave Robertson, because he is off in China at this moment selling stuff.
Weed’s Rick Pennavaria showed me through their fiber optic switch line…and their latest offering, which was the subject of a Control Global Industrial Networking Resource Center (from the pages of Industrial Networking Fall 2006 issue) Product Exclusive. This is an example of Weed focusing on a product niche and creating a product that just fits it superbly. As an old product manager and product designer, kudos.
Then Troy took me on a whirlwind tour of the plant, including the part where they make the old force-balance pressure transmitter that Foxboro made famous. I believe, and Troy agrees with me, that Weed is the only people still making this product, for the nuclear industry of course, and thus making it necessary for me to have a part of the Instrumentation Reference Book, 4th edition, (currently in preparation) continue to feature this technology which is rapidly coming up on a hundred years old.
Nice company, Weed.