Throughout his career Bill has demonstrated the ability to reach successful business decisions combining new product design with market research and business management. Given the fact that often there are several good ways to reach a goal, Bill does not bring canned solutions to the process of deciding future direction and product development. The years of building a business in a pioneer and emerging market have taught Bill the importance of asking questions. The task is to find the solution with the highest probability of success, i.e. the one that fits both that organization's own characteristics and the current stage of the market. He takes pride in having been a practical visionary doing what was possible to do (not necessarily easy) with the resources at hand.
1.Connections to other expertise. In my years in high tech business I have worked with excellent professionals in complementary professions when I sensed I did not know exactly the right answer. These professionals have specialized expertise in many fields of knowledge, such as: optics design, micromachining, machine controls, vision systems, metallurgy, medical device design, laser material processing development, laser job shops, research institutes and university research departments, marketing, sales management, manufacturing operations, financial operations, HR and personnel selection, legal questions, and patent law.
2.Coaching an organization through implementing a new process. The goal is to have a good buying experience, i.e. to minimize the new technology risk, help you understand the tradeoffs, pluses and minuses, and help your people become competent in using the new technology system.
- What does the process really need to do?
- What are the relative disadvantages, advantages, and costs involved with implementing the new technology?
- Which outside job shop or process development organization can develop the best testing program to prove out the new technology?
- Which areas will best help us test and evaluate the results? What is the purchase specification to implement the technology?
- What is our plan for implementation?
- How do we get the organization interested in and knowledgeable about the new process so it can be brought up expeditiously with a minimum of problems?
Understanding necessary personnel aptitude, QC, infrastructure, training, etc is crucial to a successful implementation.
Bill, a registered professional engineer, has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has completed substantial graduate work in electromechanical design at the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis. He holds thirteen patents, primarily in the field of industrial laser processing.
In 1978 he founded a production company, Laser Machining, Inc. (LMI), for industrial laser processing and laser system manufacturing. For close to 25 years Bill was the majority owner and engineering manager during the years laser technology transitioned from a pioneering to an emerging market and while 95% of other start-up companies disappeared.
From an initial investment of $15,000, and without further outside investment, LMI developed into a market leader employing 225 people. The company grew by reinvesting earnings and by carefully taking advantage of market changes. Bill kept LMI focused on opportunities that were challenging and profitable but did not reach beyond the capability of the company to provide a good solution for the customer. As a result, in 25 years of manufacturing more than 1000 systems, LMI only needed to give money back to two customers where the system did not do what was promised.
Prior to founding LMI, Bill worked at 3M Company in their Central Research Division, was an advanced concepts engineer for the U.S. Army Tank and Automotive Command, and in 1974 started the engineering consulting firm Lawson, Lawson & Assoc., working with his father Robert R. Lawson, (BS Eng 1932 Purdue Univ.). Their clients included Harken Yacht Fittings, and North Sails Inc.
Bill is a private pilot with twin-engine, instrument and seaplane ratings. He is an avid downhill skier and gadget maker in his home machine shop. Bill has served on the Board of Directors of the Laser Institute of America (LIA) since 1998, holding the offices of Treasurer and President. In 2004 he was named a Fellow by the LIA. In the community Bill was elected to the Somerset School Board for eleven years, and the Bass Lake Rehabilitation District Board from 1997 to the present.
Rita has a BS in Education from the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis. She taught English and German for 10 years and was a Fulbright exchange teacher at a college-prep high school in Solingen, Germany for a year.
A founding partner in Laser Machining, Inc (LMI) in 1978, Rita worked full-time as Vice President and Chief Communication Officer. Rita helped implement basic functions at LMI such as accounting, human resources, office administration, and marketing support. As the company grew she assumed responsibility for initiating and supporting foreign marketing partnerships, overseeing safety policies and practices, communicating with legal advisors and insurance suppliers, community relations, and editing marketing materials and the monthly company newsletter.
Internationally LMI developed business partnerships with a Japanese corporation to sell and manufacture LMI components, a major European sales organization, Korean and mid-East sales representatives, and established a subsidiary in Sweden. international business partnerships flourished due to her european experience and fluency in German. Rita was especially helpful in keeping both organizations from stumbling over differing cultural aspects that often impede good communication.
NewTech Development LLC
1917 County Road I
Somerset WI 54025 USA