Today’s Pioneers of EMC

Originally published in the IEEE EMC Newsletter, Issue 231, Fall 2011

Our 2011 symposium has disappeared into history, along with that one week of the year when EMC experts and friends from all over the world get together for the exchange of ideas and words.  This year, the symposium committee tried a few new things on the exhibit floor that were intended to enhance the experience of all our attendees and exhibitors. Our symposium chair,
Mr. Ray Adams from Boeing, was very supportive to all of the committee members as they explored a few changes from symposia of the past. One experiment that he encouraged me to try was a unique attempt to honor important members of our society. That is the background picture into which we were able to paint the stories of about a dozen Pioneers Of EMC (POE). Readers who were there will surely recall the attitude of unusual excitement as we all got to meet and shake hands with engineers who are singularly responsible for what our industry looks like today.

Ray Adams approached me well over a year before our event took place to ask me if I would be willing to work with him on the exhibits side of the 2011 symposium. I can only guess that my long-time exposure to the entire Southern Californian EMC community was the primary qualification that he considered in proffering his invitation. Ray knew that, in my career as an independent Manufacturers Representative, I was constantly meeting and working with engineers and companies all over the SoCal territory. My job is to help them solve their EMC problems by matching their needs to the best products available. Since I work closely with many of our long-time EMC exhibitors in that manner, helping them on the exhibit floor was a natural fit.

Working on the exhibits floor with our symposium partners, Three Dimensions and GES Convention Services, was rewarding but difficult. Suffice it to say that I have a better appreciation of how much fun Mr. Boehner and Mr. Reid have on a daily basis! It literally did not matter what the topic was. On the exhibit floor there were always conflicting agendas and differing opinions! On everything from temperature to which fans were turned on to hours of operation to food, there were passionate advocates of various and sundry alternatives. The best news of all, however, was that in the end at the Exhibitors Breakfast on Thursday morning, there were no complaints and no angry exhibitors.

That was my personal goal – to make sure the exhibitors at our annual symposia would come to Long Beach and feel that their participation in our event was respected, appreciated and valued.

There were quite a few new ideas reflected on the exhibit floor; but this is neither the time nor place to discuss all of them. However, one of our ‘new ideas’ had rather impressive results and is worthy of special mention. Our Pioneers of EMC (POE) event appears to have been thoroughly enjoyed and supported by the entire membership.

It may be of some interest to society members to better understand what the driving factors behind this event were. While I was driving between account calls one day sometime during the month of March, I had the bright idea of putting together our POE display, After attending dozens of IEEE/EMC Society events over the last decade, I was struck by the realization that there was a pretty important class of people that our society does not generally have a good track record of recognizing.

Any attendee at an EMC Symposium event can visit Dan Hoolihan’s Historical display and discover when our society was founded and a host of other related information. We often put old EMC test and measurement equipment on display for educational purposes. It is pretty amazing what ‘we’ used to do with some pretty rudimentary hardware… and that was before ’software’ was even a word, much less a reality! Well, there’s another thing that new engineers and members of our profession can learn from visiting Dan’s booth, but it is a bit on the subtle side… EMC Test Standards always drove test equipment development and there were usually easily identifiable market leaders who drove the standards and then designed the necessary test equipment or procedures.

It was those leaders who generally made hard decisions a long time ago. They took a gamble that paid off for all of us who now make our living in the world of EMC Technology.

Our rule of thumb in looking for POE nominations from Symposia committee members and others were the following:

  • left the corporate world 30 to 40 years ago because they had a ‘better idea’
  • risked it all with no guarantees (at the time), but were successful
  • focused on some specialty niche area within the EMC industry
  • went back to their garage and developed that better idea into a marketable product or service
  • turned that marketable product into a company that impacted our industry
  • developed a product/expertise that has had significant impact on our industry
  • created a company that still exists today (in some version) and is critical to our industry
  • became (and remain to this day) a bit of a ‘guru’ both to their own company as well as to others
  • remained true to our EMC industry throughout and still contribute to it today

I leave it to future symposia chair and exhibit floor chairpersons to decide whether our POE honoring exhibit of 2011 was a new tradition worth repeating or whether it was simply a one-time ‘transient’. Regardless, it is with great pleasure that I take a moment to introduce the Pioneers Of EMC who were nominated for our 2011 EMC Symposium. The people that we honored and introduced on the exhibit floor at the 2011 Long Beach Symposia are, collectively, responsible for the gainful employment within our industry of at least 1000 people. They represent and/or support several hundred small businesses and have products in literally thousands of EMC test labs around the world. I am personally very proud to have been able to meet every one of them.


 1202 pioneers gt-photo1

Pioneers of EMC attending the EMC 2011 Symposium in Long Beach included:

(front row from left) Ray Klouda, Joyce Ware (daughter of Paul Bender), George Kunkel of Spira Manufacturing Corporation, Richard Parker of Fair-Rite Products Corp, Art Cohen of AH Systems, and Tom Klouda. Tom and Ray are the sons of Jim Klouda, founder of Elite Electronic Engineering.

(Back row from left) Richard Janiec of Retlif (representing Walter Poggi), Don Shepherd of AR RF/Microwave Instrumentation, Joe Fischer of Fischer Custom Communications, Brian Lawrence of iNARTE, Alwyn Broaddus of DNB Engineering, and Don Sweeney of DLS Electronic Systems rounded out the pioneers present in Long Beach.

photo by the EMC 2011 Symposium Photography Team


Arthur C. Cohen
AH Systems, Inc.
Art unofficially started his work long before he established AH Systems in 1974. However, once he graduated and moved beyond modifying Pringles cans in his basement, he developed a complete set of antennae that came to be depended upon by many people for whom EMC testing was ‘the great unknown’. Now, his company manufactures a complete line of affordable, reliable EMC test equipment including test antennas, preamplifiers, current probes and low-loss cables that are used to satisfy almost every possible test standard.

Paul Bender
AR Receiver Systems
Paul started Carnel Labs in his garage in November, 1961, as a calibration laboratory. He quickly became the key West Coast service center for the servicing of receivers, spectrum analyzers and other EMI instruments ranging from DC to 40 GHz. Paul and his team put their hands on (and repaired or calibrated) equipment used by the US Navy and Air Force, NASA, JPL, Hughes, General Dynamics, Rockwell and Litton Data Systems, just to name a few. In 1992, Carnel began manufacturing its own EMI product offerings based on their purchase and consolidation of the old Eaton line. Carnel Labs became the Receiver Systems Division of AR in 2002. Paul likes to say that he is still an employee in the field after 50 years, and he continues to enjoy the many challenges that it brings to him. He adds that he is happy to have a nice head of hair in spite of pulling out many of them due to those many frustrating challenges!

Donald Shepherd
AR RF/Microwave Instrumentation
“Shep” started work in his garage. He and his partner began work in an era when RF amplifiers were expensive, unreliable, difficult to work with, very touchy in performance and hard to find. One of Shep’s founding principles was to provide exceptional customer support. Over the last 40+ years, he has been persistent and has turned those dreams into a reality with worldwide reach. No EMC lab in the world is unfamiliar with the wide orange stripe and the quality and service that it represents.

Donald L. Sweeney
DLS Electronic Systems, Inc.
Today, Don is the president of DLS. However, his career has been varied and included stints at Extel, Teletype, Gates Radio and Collins Radio, along with specialized consulting contracts too numerous to list. He has devoted the last 40 years of his career to solving problems in electromagnetic engineering. Through his formal educational courses at various universities along with other teaching venue, there is hardly an EMC engineer anywhere today whose work has not been influenced by Brian (or new, up-and-coming ones who should not be similarly influenced).

Alwyn Broaddus
DNB Engineering, Inc.
DNB is a full service test lab, and world leader and expert provider of certification testing. We are honored to have Alwyn Broaddus, our founder, recognized as a Pioneer of EMC at the 2011 IEEE International Symposium on Electromagnetic Compatibility. Alwyn originally founded the company in 1979 to provide an electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) test facility with engineering support. Al was always noted for his interest in and willingness to solve unique or unusual EMC test problems, and DNB has retained that ability through the years. Today, DNB Engineering provides unrivaled EMC, Lightning, High Intensity Radiated Fields (HIRF), Environmental, Product Safety and Regulatory Testing to clients around the world, with a goal of providing a certified facility for customers where they will be able to obtain a qualified, unbiased, third-party product evaluation.

James Klouda
Elite Electronic Engineering Inc.
In many ways, Elite began aboard a USAF bomber sometime in the early 1950s. An on-board camera system started to interfere with the bomber’s autopilot when it was turned on. An urgent call was placed to the camera manufacturer’s new young engineer, Jim Klouda. With a little sleuthing, and a little shielding, Klouda fixed the problem and saved the day. Shortly after that experience, Jim founded Elite Labs. In 1954, Elite had two employees and a 2,500 sq ft storefront. By 1973, the company had grown 10-fold. Today, the company is three times larger yet, with 60 employees and more than 45K sq ft. Located in the heart of the country, the Illinois facility serves as both headquarters and the primary testing site with 27 RF test chambers in various configurations, sizes, absorber linings, power supplies and monitoring systems that can be tailored to meet exact testing needs. One thing hasn’t changed in 50 years: Elite remains dedicated to serving its customers and ensuring their complete satisfaction

Richard Parker
Fair-Rite Products Corp
For over fifty years Fair-Rite has been the first choice in cost effective ferrite components. The history of ferrites (magnetic oxides) began centuries before the birth of Christ with the discovery of stones that would attract iron. However, Richard came sometime after that, and he focused his early efforts on using ferrites for EMI energy attenuation. He was a pioneer and a pathfinder in that area. The company he founded so many years ago now offers a comprehensive product line that includes a wide range of materials and geometries for EMI suppression, power applications and RFID antennas. It would be hard to find any other product on the market today that can offer such a fast, simple and effective way to suppress unwanted EMI energy.

Joseph Fischer
Fischer Custom Communications
FCC has been a stable background supplier to our industry for almost forty years now. During that entire time, FCC has consistently been a reliable source for specialized transient protection devices, RF test and measurement instruments and EMP test systems. Joe ‘got the bug’ many years ago and has never looked back. His indomitable partner Virginia (congratulations on a marriage of over 50 years!) has always been by his side providing just the right push of encouragement that he needed. He (and she) is still there at FCC providing innovative, high-technology products that meet the specialized needs of our industry.

Brian Lawrence
iNARTE, Inc.
Brian Lawrence began his EMC career designing stealth materials for the British armed services. In 1973 he moved to the USA and established a facility providing these materials to the US Navy. In 1980 he joined Rayproof to develop their anechoic chamber product line. Rayproof later merged into Lindgren RF Enclosures and then into ETS-Lindgren. Brian retired as Managing Director of ETS-Lindgren UK in 2006. He is now Executive Director at iNARTE, the International Association of Radio, Telecommunications and Electromagnetics. iNARTE has expanded its personnel credentialing programs and is today affiliated with RABQSA , a part of the American Society for Quality.

Walter Poggi
Retlif Testing Laboratories
Walter started Retlif over 30 years ago to provide a qualified, knowledgeable site for EMC compliance testing to FCC Parts 15 and 18. At the time, he was one of the first competent suppliers of these services on the east coast. He recognized a great need and rose to the occasion. In the years since, Retlif expanded their own test offerings, but Walter did a lot more than that for our industry. He was a key driver and contributor for the first EMC laboratory accreditation program through AVLAP and was similarly effective in working with the ACIL. Walters fingerprints are sprinkled throughout many of our Standards bodies and within many of our internationally recognized and accepted trade agreements.

George Kunkel
Spira Manufacturing Corporation
In his earlier years, George was a ubiquitous writer. He was always extremely active within the EMI/RFI and electromagnetic industry and has authored and presented over 100 papers internationally. His papers, inventions and products are invariably focused nicely around his own area of particular interest – EMI gasketing. The unique gasketing that Spira markets has had impact on many other manufacturers; both competitors as well as users. George has taught several courses on applied electromagnetic theory at UCLA and other sites. He held the position of chairman of the Technical Committee on Interference Control of the EMC Society of the IEEE for seventeen years. Unlike many, his listing in several “Who’s Who” publications was earned, not bought.

To close this article, I’d like to thank those pioneers listed above for their perseverance, individualism, entrepreneurial spirit and innovativeness through the years. Their work has impacted how all of us now do our jobs.

I’d also like to offer my thanks and recognition to the following people who played a key role in helping to make our POE event a success: Mark Frankfurth, Dan Hoolihan, Janet O’Neil and Ray Adams. Without their assist and able support, this event would not have occurred and those people shown above would, once again, have not been singled out for this recognition. My apologies to those we missed this first time around. Hopefully, the POE idea will be further refined and again presented to our community next year… favicon


author taylor-gene Gene Taylor
is a Manufacturers Representative with Altamont Technical Services in Southern California. Gene and the entire ATS organization, are concentrated particularly on offering test and measurement solutions to their customers in CA and NV who have EMC/EMI testing requirements (and that’s just about everybody, nowadays!). He graduated from CSU in Northridge, CA with a BS in Physics/Physical Sciences then engaged in post-degree studies at UCLA in business and marketing. He made a particularly prophetic career decision in 1972 and has never looked back from a lifetime of technically-oriented, ‘top-o-the-pyramid’ type sales and marketing. He has been focused specifically in the ‘black magic’ world of EMC for about ten years. Gene can be reached through the company website at

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