Hi, My name is John Pollock. I have over 25 years experience in engineering and engineering management. After obtaining a BS in Mathematics with a dual major in Computer Science in 1985 from Northern Arizona University, I worked for Sperry Avionics as a software engineer. This initial experience solidified my love for hardware and software integration. Attention to detail, understand the task and any task you communicate with, debug techniques, and documentation habits, are all engineering abilities that I picked up from my mentors in that very first position.

 In 1991, I left Sperry (changed to Honeywell) to start my first stint at being self employed. Unique Equipment Company was a very successful business that designed and built custom high technology factory automation solutions.

This opportunity allowed me to work in edge leading technologies with engineers leading in their fields. From manufacturing solar cells for satellites, aligning fiber to VCSELs for optical communications, to disk drive texturing, and necrotizing cancer cells with laser pulses, Unique Equipment Company led the way.

My partners and I built UE from a 2 employee company in a rented 1 room  office in South Phoenix, to 40 employees in a company owned building in Chandler.  In 1997, Unique Equipment was awarded (by AZTECH)  for being in the top 10 fastest growing companies in Arizona. That growth, along with the people we surrounded ourselves with, afforded me opportunities to understand what it takes to create and maintain a cohesive team in a very fast paced and highly customer-centric environment.


In 2000, my partners and I  sold Unique Equipment to Newport Corporation (NEWP).  They found us after a nationwide search by a company located in New York City! We realized that without our dedicated and hard working employees, we would have never been recognized as a top systems integrator in the country. In that, we gave over 25% of the proceeds from the sell to our employees or as I like to say, to our 4th partner. To this day, that ranks as one of the most satisfying moments of my professional career.

As a Director of Engineering for Newport, I managed engineering departments through some very difficult times in the industry that resulted from the DOTCOM bust. This involved closing facilities, moving technology from one location the next, and massive lay-offs, actions that have to take place but are not enjoyable for anyone involved.  Not enjoyable, but a whole lot to be leaned about maintaining that cohesion that we had worked so hard to create. In 2005, it was decided that the Chandler facility would be closed and its disk drive business would be moved elsewhere. I wasn’t involved with this because I had been traveling to Oakland CA every Monday for the past 17 months trying to establish a cohesion with the engineering team at that location.  In April of 2005, I was included in one of the final reductions in force.

I wanted to design electronics to fill in some knowledge that I lacked and to see what has changed since my early years, so I jumped into designing a very powerful battery powered keychain that utilized a 32-bit ARM 7 micro-controller with and OLED display and several sensors. I followed that up with developing a couple of low-powered wireless devices utilizing a 900Mhz radio and Bluetooth LE and I continue to look for opportunities that affords me the fun that I have creating technology. Everything I build for Innovation Play gets puts into a prototype to show proof of concept that can be demonstrated to prospective partners and consumers. I then ‘take it on the road’ to get validation of the idea or in many cases, validation that the idea is not marketable. It’s not a road for those who give up easily but you know you are where you want to be when you have to force yourself to sleep and you wake up in the middle of the night to write down notes for the following day.

As interested and driven as I am in new technology, the journey has proven to just as interesting and educational. I have written 2 government grant requests, 2 or 3 provisional patents, several business plans and all the while I have followed a shortened version of an NPI process I was involved with developing at Newport.

Thanks for stopping by….
John G. Pollock
InnovationPlay LLC

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