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DK Tech Talk - Volume 1

New Adventures

Starting out on a new adventure is always a guessing game. Today I want to start a new tech blog that talks about the content that is created here at Digi-Key. I also want to talk about some interesting projects and interesting people I come across in my job. First though, let me introduce myself.

The year was 2010 and I was starting a new adventure in Thief River Falls. I was a former Jet Engine Mechanic in the Air Force and had attended college for Motorcycle Maintenance. My wife had just accepted a job in town and I was looking for work. Every paper listed jobs at Digi-Key Corporation and even though it was not my goal, I was open to anything; so I applied. A month later I was picking parts inside this giant cement building and walking what seemed like miles in the parking lot to try and find my car.

(Image source: Duluth News Tribune)

That was just the beginning for me though. Opportunity was everywhere inside this building. In the first three years of my employment I worked in the warehouse, sales, accounts receivable, and collections. The work was ever changing and challenging, but the cubicle life was hard for someone who was used to the flight line and motorcycle test drives. Digi-Key delivered again with a chance to go to school and earn my Electronics Technology and Automated Systems degree from Northland Community & Technical College and a move into the Applications Engineering department.

This time has also allowed me to see and participate in some amazing things. I have picked parts in our warehouse side-by-side with our President/COO Dave Doherty when the warehouse needed help. I have seen our maintenance crew jump start hundreds of cars in the parking lot when it was 50°F below zero and watched as we framed up a new 1 million-square-foot warehouse. I have been able to participate in a college robotics team that was able to compete on a world stage with teams I could not even speak to. And I watched as I introduced elementary aged kids to their first robot and seen the smile as they were able to make it work.

During these experiences I have become a fan of the engineering process, Thief River Falls, and above all else, Digi-Key. These experiences have allowed me to work with a team to help create and develop technical content on our Tech Forum. This, however, is just a small portion of the content that happens here at Digi-Key. We have Technical Articles, Blogs, Projects, New product Announcements, Videos, and more. We also have a huge number of technical employees and partners with over 800 suppliers all over the world.

Most Digi-Key content can be navigated to from the “RESOURES” and “TOOLS” tab menus. (Image source: Digi-Key Electronics)

I know this is a long introduction, however I hoped to show some of the experiences I have had and why I want to start this series of blogs to share some of these stories with you. My hope is to highlight some of the new and innovative content that we create here at Digi-Key. I will look at new, cool, and sometimes unexpected items we have here at Digi-Key in the “Yeah, we sell That!” section, and look inside the walls of Digi-Key and our community in the “Inside the walls of Digi-Key Electronics” section. Like all the content I write, I am open to discussion, questions, and contributions. Please feel free to comment below or send me your Digi-Key question so I can answer in the next edition.

Let’s look at some of the NEW CONTENT that has recently come out.

AdaFruit recently had the Maker.io project of the week: Techno-Tiki RGB LED Torches made with the Arduino Gemma.

Over on our blog page, we have Patrick Mannion who talks about Neonode Holographic touch controls at Sensors Expo 2019 (“Sensors Expo 2019: Neonode Holographic Touch Control Stops Designers in Their Tracks”).

RECOM Power shared an article in the Digi-Key library on “Board-Mount DC/DC Converters in Medical Applications.”

Lindsay F. has a post on Explaining MSL, while Nathan B. talked about inspecting crimp connections on the TechForum.

Yeah, we sell That!

As I hit the view all button on the website, it now comes up with just over 9 million parts. While Digi-Key is known for in-stock electronic components inventory, we are a little less known for our 14 lb. Brass Sledge Hammers. Seriously, for the engineer who has it all, their tool box will seem incomplete after seeing the specs! All joking aside, we do have an excellent selection of hammers available and many people never know we carry them.

Klein Tools 14-pound Sledge. (Image source: Klein Tools)

Safety is key in every work place. How about a new hearing protection hard hat? 3M part MT13H221P3E is a great example of the personal protective equipment that can be found on Digi-Key’s site from a variety of suppliers.

Inside the walls of Digi-Key Electronics

August means many of the local fair seasons are coming to an end. For me it means I am starting to play robotics coach for our local elementary schools and the Big Digi-Key truck is wrapping up parade season in many of the local town parades. Summer also seems to bring electronics meetings and summits and an increased number of visits to Thief River Falls. Recently, Chris Beeson talked about celebrating some big wins for Digi-Key in 2019. In this post he explained, “These awards are a result of our dedicated team of people – we know our success would not be possible without the contributions of each and every team member. We’re proud to have outstanding relationships with our more than 800 suppliers, many spanning decades, and these awards reinforce these strong partnerships in leading the market, innovating and growing together.”

This is really an exciting company, community, and industry that we are a part of. I hope I can convey that message and continue to share the stories, exciting content, and little pieces of Digi-Key that make this job an exciting and ever-changing adventure.

About this author

Image of Robert Fay

Robert Fay, Senior Applications Engineering Technician at Digi-Key Electronics, has been with Digi-Key since 2010 and is currently the TechForum lead, working on the forum since its inception in 2017. He holds a certificate in Aerospace Propulsion from his time in the Air Force and degrees in both Powersports Technology from Minnesota West, and Electronics Technology and Automated Systems from Northland Community and Technical College. When not at work or tinkering in his garage, Robert enjoys introducing robotics and engineering to kids at a local elementary school through an afterschool program.

More posts by Robert Fay