|Spotlight on Business
by Ev Chase
Scientist, Inventor, Engineer
Measuring electrostatic discharge. What!
"We have skills from what we've learned working for the test site that are far and above anyone in the electrostatic discharge manufacturing and testing business knows. We're telling these people all the time, this is how you should make this measurement.
'Well that's not how we do it,' they say."
"Well that's the way you should do it and one of these days you're going to have to change."
That's Jon Barth and he knows from what he speaks.
Barth and his electronics business has been operating from Boulder City since 1976 and he doesn't plan to move.
It too little more than 15 minutes for Jon to lose me in his scientific world of changing technologies yet to come. Coincidence of age and location of employment did put this writer in the position of building the equipment that was blown up at the Nevada Test Site giving Jon something to measure. That little bit of knowledge I remembered about rise time and attenuators at least gave me a start with the interview.
"We started doing this kind of stuff for the government and Sandia, Livermore Radiation Laboratory (LRL), and Los Alamos (companies which were involved in above and underground nuclear testing during the 50's and 60's) and at the time we did not know it was for underground testing. Some of it wasn't, but it slowly graduated into it," Jon says.
Like most people, Jon didn't start at the top and he didn't start in Boulder City.
"I started out in a technical school (where he met his wife, Norma), ValparaisoTechnical Institute in Indiana," Jon says, "then I went to Ohio State, then back to Valparaiso to get more engineering skills."
Jon was working with Goodyear aircraft before he made his move to a company where something happened to set his career in motion.
"I made a move to an electric company that made radio frequency equipment," Jon says. "A request came in from Livermore (aforementioned company at the Test Site) for a high voltage attenuator. Nobody else wanted to do the job, so I took it."
Jon took it, and eventually built his research and knowledge into a new career and a new business.
"I always wanted to start my own business. I went to my local surplus store and bought everything I could to make a tester."
Testers and attenuators and Livermore added up to a move closer to the Nevada Test Site. Jon, his family, and a successful business hit the road for Las Vegas.
They camped at Vegas Wash while he made trips into Vegas searching for a place to live, but it was when he decided to take a different route (through BC) they realized they had found the place they wanted to live.
"This was it, this is the place we wanted to be!.
"I had a friend who was a truck driver, so we loaded up this big 18 wheeler and hauled all this stuff downtown Boulder City to the old laundry building.
"We found out that the City Attorney at the time owned the place so we called him and started renting from him right away."
Over the years the building was sold twice and each time the rent was raised. The owners offered the property to Barth, but it was more than he could afford. He started thinking about something else.