May '17

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rv-pro.com May 2017 • RV PRO • 35 in the home market for a long time, but it's relatively new to the RV market." The challenges in front of ASA for, say, the next 40 years, are keeping ahead of the constant change in technology and continuing to solve problems that arise in the markets it serves, according to Irions. "We're always being innovative. We're always coming out with new products. It's in our design, our testing and our brand names," he says. "That's the main difference between us and the competition that we have in the RV business. We have a lot of competition in the industry, but they are mostly distribution and their products are not for mobile use and have to be modified. We don't do that. We go from a ground-up approach for a mobile application." Engineers are the key to ASA's success, according to Irions. Of the company's 140 employees in Elkhart as well as other staff in China and Taiwan, about 110 work in jobs that would be described as white collar. Among the company's workers overseas, Irions says, "they are mostly degreed workers. These are high-level people – a lot of them with advanced degrees." Moving forward, ASA's demand for engineers and highly skilled workers is only going to increase, adds Barrow, the com- pany president. "We don't need general laborers; we need sophisticated per- sonnel," he says. "Then we will add efficient computer systems and process and products." ASA Products Tested Tough Beyond the company's highly skilled workforce, another advan- tage ASA Electronics has in the marketplace is its dedicated testing facility in Elkhart, according to Irions. It's hard to underestimate the value of the testing that's done, he says, because to serve the mobile markets well, products have to be proven to stand up to the rigors of the road (or water environment, as the case may be). ASA's has equipment designed to test vibration and thermal activity. On the marine side, testing includes resistance to salt and water. Nothing hits the market without first undergoing extensive testing, according to Irions. "It's a lot of work: design, validation, testing, debuting soft- ware," he says. "Everybody asked me when I first started if I was an engineer. No, I'm not. But I thought we needed to do the design work. It's the advantage we could get on our competition." Technology has undergone massive changes since the time that ASA got started. Even in the past 20 years, change has been significant, Barrow says. "Twenty years ago, there was FM radio. That was it. There was The TVs pictured here represent just a few of the models ASA Electronics has sold over the years.

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