Q: What was your career path to becoming a Polycom DE?
Tony: My career started when I was 8 and I built my first plastic model. This taught me how to associate 3D parts with 2D images as well as how to follow instructions. I also learned to appreciate color, material and finish. All of which are essential for the products we build and deliver today.
I started as a mechanical engineer in the early 80’s and applied for a position at a new startup called PictureTel (founded by Brian Hinman who founded Polycom). Jeff Rodman hired me as the first mechanical engineer. I stayed with PictureTel until 1999 when the company was declining.
After that, I went to an MIT startup and was hired as the hardware director. I mentored young engineers who completed every crazy impossible task I gave them. They taught me that you can’t do what you say you can’t do, but if you take a chance and try you can do almost anything.
The dot com bust changed everything and PictureTel asked me back as a Director of hardware.
Polycom acquired PictureTel in 2001 and I remained director until 2014 when I moved to the technical ladder as a Principal Engineer and 2016 when I was promoted to distinguished engineer.
Q: What do you credit as the reason for being promoted to DE?
Tony: I attribute the promotion to my can do attitude and my perseverance and advocacy for great industrial design through the years including VSX, HDX and Group Series development programs.
More importantly, I have reached out to all of the cross functional teams around the globe to help unify our approach to product design and I believe they are all appreciative of my contributions.
Q: What are your areas of expertise?
Tony: My expertise includes-
Hardware Quality Assurance
What inspires your work?
Tony: I am inspired by beautiful design, form, function and fashion.
I love designing and building leading edge high tech communications equipment. The people I work with to achieve this also inspire me.
Q: What are some of the most memorable moments of your career?
Designing and building my first commercially available product in 1980. It didn’t make much money but I was proud of creating something from nothing.
Installing the first 30 FPS codec in 1988 with Mike McCarty at 1:00 AM just in time for delivery to a show the next morning. PictureTel made millions of dollars on that product, it put us on the map.
Designing and shipping the first fully integrated mechanical pan tilt zoom (MPTZ) camera in the industry. The specs still serves as the bench mark for cameras today and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but is one of my biggest achievements.
Winning an Industrial Society of America (IDSA) award for a camera I developed in 1998.
Tony: I am an avid boater and fisherman between May and October when there is no ice on the water, I also go ice fishing once a year. I play both the guitar and the mandolin. I love building things that fly; such as airplanes, drones, rockets, cats etc. I also love working product design for Polycom.