Welcome to my blog

Welcome to my blog.

I didn't do this willingly. Were it not for a friend of mine who was the publisher of our region's largest newspaper and social media guru, I would continue with my belief that those who blog have inflated opinions of themselves. Do I really care what Joe Smith is thinking? Does Joe really think he is that important?

Apparently I now believe I am that important. (I know my mother does.) At least I believe I have some thoughts that some people might find interesting—perhaps even useful. So here goes. But first a little about myself (in case you care):

Until I started Water Analytics in 2009 all I knew about water quality instrumentation was from a college textbook. I knew even less about manufacturing. When I set my sights on purchasing Aquametrix I Googled "pH probe" so that I could refresh my memory on how one works. I am in good company. The closest Richard Branson ever got to the workings of an airplane—prior to starting Virgin Airways—was when he flew first class.

I do know something about instrumentation, albeit from an academic perspective. As a graduate student in the chemistry department of MIT, a post-doc at SRI International and a researcher at the NASA Ames Research Center I spent 15 years studying gases in the atmosphere though their spectra. A spectrum is the absorption (or emission) of light at different wavelengths. Every gas in the atmosphere has a unique spectrum that not only identifies it but can allow one to determine its concentration and temperature. The one gas I focussed on at NASA was ozone. You probably remember that the ozone hole over the Antarctic was the environmental crisis de jour—until global warming came along.

Between NASA and my starting Water Analytics I contracted the EOMC virus—early onset midlife crisis. I ditched science in order to start a high end portrait photography studio in my home state of Massachusetts. For just over a decade it satisfied my need for creativity and I am proud of the legacy of large portraits that still hang in homes around the Boston area. But ultimately my addiction to science and technology came roaring back.

To brush off the rust, I enrolled in a program at MIT designed for people who had left the world of technology and wanted back in. Even though the creators really had in mind women who left to raise families they took me anyway. So I found myself in a classroom of twenty somethings (MIT does not do adult education) studying atmospheric chemistry. In spite of feeling like the proverbial fish out of water I did quite well. In fact I landed a job before the program was over as Director of Technology at Agiltron, a small R&D company just outside Boston. I managed a wide range of programs doing things you only read about in magazines or watch on PBS—like miniature neutron detectors, super batteries and (I am not making this up) implanting transmitters in crickets to carry information on the battlefield.

The R&D projects were all fascinating but it was the company's purchase of a company that manufactured Raman spectrometers that really captivated me. As the person in charge of absorbing Raman Systems into Agiltron I learned how to get an instrumentation company off the ground—how to make them, sell them and develop them.

A few months after I got the bug I just had to buy my own company and I knew that, although I understood the world of air, the world of water was not only more interesting but far more promising. So I looked for a company that I could buy that made water quality instrumentation and that was small enough that I could handle.

So I found Aquametrix and bought it. I moved it from the Toronto area to Andover, a town north of Boston that is endowed with many high tech companies. Many people assume that Water Analytics was a fully functioning company that existed before 2010 but the fact is I created Water Analytics for the main purpose of holding Aquametrx.

If you'ev ever bought a company you know that you never get exactly what you think you are getting. I am very blessed to say that, though I have encountered a few surprises, I did inherit a small line-up of products that really were solid and very well respected. They did not fixing. But like any other product, they are always in need of changing.

That's where I come in.

Mark