VITA leadership changes, industry mergers, acquisitions

An era is coming to an end at the Standards Organization () as Ray Alderman, the organization’s long-term Executive Director, is retiring from his everyday leadership role and becoming Chairman of the VITA Board of Directors. Jerry Gipper, VITA’s current Marketing Director, will take over Alderman’s position effective January 1, 2014. John Rynearson, the Technical Director of VITA, will also be retiring from VITA early next year.

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Figure 1: Ray Alderman

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Figure 2: Jerry Gipper

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Figure 3: John Rynearson

Alderman has been a one-man PR voice for VITA during his tenure, contributing to the growth of such VITA standards as , , and . He’s been the face of VITA for the nearly 20 years I’ve covered this market and also my favorite quote. Alderman never shies away from controversy on military technology and policy issues nor when delivering a colorful remark about competing standards such as and the telecommunications market. In his role as chairman, I’m confident the one-liners and analysis will still be coming, perhaps even more so with all his new free time.

John Rynearson started with VITA in 1987 and became Technical Director in 1993. Prior to VITA he was a co-founder of Mizar in 1982 and took on the role of vice president of engineering. In his role as technical director Rynearson ran the VSO meetings and was the quarterback of the study and working groups, shuttling VITA standards through the ANSI accreditation. He also maintained the VITA website and for several years authored the standards update columns in VME and Critical Systems magazine.

“I have been truly blessed to have John as the technical director of VITA during my tenure,” Alderman says. “It has been a privilege to work with John. I have great respect for his integrity and skills; I could not have asked for a better person to be the technical director of VITA.”

At this time Rynearson and Gipper are working together to manage this transition and will make an announcement once that is finalized.

While much more low-key than Alderman, Gipper brings decades of embedded industry technical and marketing experience to the role. He spent more than 20 years at Motorola Computing Group and has worked with VITA on various initiatives dating back to the 1980s. In addition to his marketing duties at VITA, which began in 2005, Gipper has also worked as an industry consultant at Embedify, LLC. In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that he also is a colleague of mine at OpenSystems Media where he is the of VITA Technologies magazine. Gipper will continue to lead the magazine after taking over his new position. He said he looks forward to carrying on the “open standards, open markets” tradition of VITA and expanding to such markets as telecommunications.

Gipper has also been running the Embedded Tech Trends (ETT) conference the last two years. ETT is the current iteration of the old Bus and Board Conference that was held every January in Long Beach, CA. While the 2014 agenda is not yet set Gipper says it will be expanded to include some content from , such as technology updates, as many sponsors are members of PICMG and VITA. For more information on participating in the 2014 conference as a sponsor contact Jerry at jerry.gipper@embedify.com. For more on the 2013 event, visit www.embeddedtechtrends.com.

Some of VITA’s member companies are also undergoing changes in terms of mergers and acquisitions. As summer ended officials at Emerson announced that they signed an agreement to sell a 51 percent stake in the company’s Embedded Computing and Power business in Carlsbad, CA, to Platinum Equity in Los Angeles, CA. Under the deal, Emerson will get about $300 million USD in cash and will keep a 49 percent non-controlling interest in the business, which will then operate as an independent company. “Emerson purchased Motorola back in January of 2008,” Alderman writes in the 2013 VITA State of the Industry Report. “This transaction is the latest in a long line of mergers and acquisitions involving Motorola, the originator of the VMEbus specification back in 1981 and driver of the VMEbus market for many years.”

Not long after the Emerson announcement, Eurotech in Amaro, Italy announced that it was selling Parvus Corp. in Salt Lake City, UT to Curtiss-Wright Controls in Charlotte, NC, for about $38 million USD. Parvus will be part of the Controls segment’s Defense Solutions group. Parvus is known for their PC/104 products, small rugged computers, and communications technology.

jmchale@opensystemsmedia.com