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Polar Instruments has hired some talented technologists recently, including a new president, Dorine Gurney. At DesignCon, I had the opportunity to sit down for an interview with Dorine and Ken Taylor, Polar’s outgoing president. We talked about Dorine’s objectives for the company and Ken’s plans for life after Polar.
Shaughnessy: Dorine, nice to meet you. I'm sure you'll enjoy working with Polar. They're great people to work with.
Gurney: It’s been great to be here at DesignCon to see all the excitement around Polar and all the customers we have. We had even competitors coming and talking about our products and how great they are. It was a really good experience.
Shaughnessy: You've worked at Mentor, and you've worked at quite a few companies that readers will have heard of. Tell us a little bit about your background.
Gurney: I have been in the industry for about 30 years, mostly on the IC and the test and measurement sides of the industry. I worked at Mentor for 11 years and at Tektronix for 13 years, where I held positions in management, engineering management, and product marketing.
Shaughnessy: What's your background? Are you an engineer?
Gurney: Well, I am an engineer at heart. I like to solve problems. That's what I like to do, but I think through the years I've learned to understand that sometimes there are problems you can't solve. Sometimes to solve problems, you need help from others. So I've learnt through the years that engineering is one aspect of creating products and getting the progress going. And you also need some aspects of business and dealing with people and exchanging ideas and helping each other.
Shaughnessy: I know you just got to Polar three weeks ago, but what do you have planned?
Gurney: I don't want to discuss my plans too much. I'm still on a learning curve. I want to learn a lot about Polar and “the Polar way” in my first 30 days. I'm observing and asking a lot of questions. I'm trying to learn how Polar operates and understand the customers and what their problems are. I don't expect to change things dramatically initially, but I see some opportunities to improve things and I’d like to test some of these ideas with Polar and discuss them with the whole company. I mean, I'm not a dictator. I want to work as a group and decide together where the most important things to be done are.
Shaughnessy: I'm sure Ken's sort of been walking you through.
Gurney: Yes, Ken has been tremendous. It's hard to fill his shoes. He has so much experience. He's so polished in the way he speaks and presents things. He's a great advisor. I'm so happy to have him as a mentor and I'm hoping and excited that he decided not to retire too quickly. I'm hoping he will visit and take my phone calls and give me advice when I'm in the middle of a situation.
Ken Taylor: Well, this must sound like a mutual admiration society. I have to say that Dorine is extremely modest about both the breadth and depth of her engineering experience, and add to that, her marketing experience. I think, if I'm to pat myself on the back for anything, it would be persuading Dorine to come to Polar in the first place—it wasn't her intention. I did a great sales job on her. I was so much looking forward to this show because I was confident that we'd have a lot of what I would call Polar admirers, from current users coming by the booth to say hi, and to meet Dorine, and to tell her what a great company Polar is in so many ways. I feel vindicated in that.
Shaughnessy: Dorine, had you worked on anything before with Polar?
Gurney: I never had a chance to work with them directly, but I had heard about Polar when I was working at Tektronix. I worked with Ken’s wife but not directly with Polar products.
Shaughnessy: That's good. So, you sold the job, Ken.
To read this entire interview, which appeared in the April 2018 issue of Design007 Magazine, click here.
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