Sixteen Candles on My DMC Cake

Sixteen Candles on My DMC Cake

I can't really imagine it right now… I don't feel different…  I don't feel like I look different… but, I've been here at DMC for 16 years.

I found DMC through a random encounter with Frank in Texas. Later, when the government decided that oil research wasn't needed any more (oil had been at $16/barrel for years) and shut down my lab, I called Frank. Within a couple of weeks I was working at DMC on Evergreen Street in Chicago.

Since then DMC has adopted three different logos, relocated to three different offices and has hired an additional 70 plus people in two additional office locations.
In those early days, the marching orders were to take the project you were handed and go make it happen. We relied on each other for help (fortunately we had cell phones), large user manuals (the internet was a thing, just not that big of a thing) and a data capped ISDN data line for internet service. 
With the passing of time, we've grown exponentially as a company. Projects are larger, teams are bigger, and now we’re training new engineers in the best practices learned through long days in hot factories.
Unlike other companies, where the corporate motto like "Don't Be Evil" is dispensed with the moment it becomes inconvenient, DMC has stuck by its core values through the years. Even though these were not defined when I joined, the spirit of all seven core values have been alive since I started:

  1. Hire Smart People: I can't imagine any other place where the majority of my coworkers would qualify for Mensa membership.
  2. Respond to the Customer: I've taken my share of late night phone calls and fixed things from unusual places.  The work our clients do doesn't stop and neither do we.
  3. Make Things Happen: I just borrowed decommissioned equipment from one customer to revive an obsolete machine from another customer.  If it is within reason, we make it happen.  Sometimes, even if it isn't within reason we find a way that is.
  4. Be Profitable: There's a very good reason this isn't first on the list.  We need to make money to stay in business and so that we have happy, healthy engineers but it is never our only focus.
  5. Share Information: We have always shared source code with our clients: and are more than happy to help our customers take control of the maintenance of their software if they desire to do so.  More than once, I've dug out the information from a decade old project to help a client I haven't talked to in years solve an issue with a machine.
  6. Have Fun: If I recall correctly, there was drinking with my soon-to-be colleagues immediately after my job interview.  
  7. Tell It Like It Is: Our clients can make the best decisions when they have the right facts.  Whenever the laws of physics allow, we always work to find a solution that will help resolve a challenging situation.  The good news usually speaks for itself.

Just as the company has evolved while maintaining its core values, I've had the pleasure of migrating from neophyte engineer (we didn't have titles back in those days) to one of the Principal Engineers here at DMC. I've learned so much that I don't even realize that I've learned some of what I've learned! I've worked in almost every industry you can imagine, from rockets to cookies, and traveled the world from China to the Middle East.
I got lucky finding DMC and I'm genuinely proud to work here. I look forward to another 16 years with DMC.

Leon Grossman, Principal Engineer, celebrates sixteen years at DMC Chicago.


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