After serving as president of Logan-based Juniper Systems for 13 years, Robert Campbell is now in charge of electronics manufacturer Campbell Scientific.
The young Campbell took the place of his uncle, Paul, on Sept. 1, Campbell Scientific announced in a news release over the weekend. Paul will continue working for the company as a non-executive chairman of the board. Replacing Campbell at Juniper — the largest subsidiary of Campbell — is DeVon Labrum, a 17-year veteran of the rugged computer systems producer, who has worked as vice president of sales and marketing for the last four.
Robert and Paul reflected on the work of Campbell Scientific, its future, and their careers in an interview with The Herald Journal from the company’s headquarters at 815 W. 1800 North on Monday. Robert said he was excited about his new gig.
“I feel a tremendous sense of responsibility and am excited for the potential we have in the future, building on the legacy we have established,” he said of Campbell Scientific, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year as a manufacturer of scientific stationary data collection systems.
Campbell Scientific was founded in 1974 by Eric and Evan Campbell, Rob’s uncles; their six brothers and father, Sanford Campbell, also provided initial start-up investment, according to the company’s website. That same year, Campbell Scientific introduced its first product, the CA-9 Path-Averaging Laser Anemometer — used to measure the direction and speed of air movement used by military and government customers.
Today, Campbell Scientific has 500 employees and approximately 20 subsidiaries worldwide and has shipped more than 300,000 data loggers since the company’s first data logger was sold in 1975, according to the company’s website.
“I think what the Campbell name means to me, in the business sense, is, taking care of the customer and taking care of our employees who take care of the customer,” Campbell said. “Honesty, integrity and ethics … What I hope to continue on is for Campbell to be an asset to customers by producing high-quality products.”
While Juniper designed, manufactured and sold handheld field computers and data acquisition systems for natural resources, agriculture, industry, land survey and other markets, Campbell Scientific focused on stationary scientific data collection. Its products are used by all kinds of researchers — from academics to government — in areas of science from weather to water resources.
Campbell Scientific’s technology is part of the Utah Agricultural Weather Network, administered by the Utah Climate Center at Utah State University; the company’s instruments are also being utilized by researchers as part of iUTAH (innovative Urban Transitions and Aridregion Hydro-sustainability), a statewide project initiated in 2012, aimed at exploring how population growth, a changing climate and land use are affecting the state’s water resources.
Paul said the advancements in data communications are the biggest factor in allowing Campbell Scientific’s product offerings to evolve — advancements that weren’t even possible 15-20 years ago.
Rob said Campbell Scientific’s customers are becoming increasingly reliant on mobile technology and data communications.
“They’re just exact to pull the data from wherever they are …. the customer’s expectations are increasing. They’re going to have more expectations as far as ease-of-use (with Campbell Scientific’s products). They want to pick up those instruments and not have a 300-page manual to do so.”
Campbell Scientific has also enjoyed the expansion of its international presence. This year, Campbell Scientific opened a Southeast Asia office to serve Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
“We see it as a critical mass for business growth,” Paul said of the new office, which currently employs three people.
At the same time Paul announced the opening of the Asian office, he was awarded the WTC Utah Champion in International Business Award.
Asked about his decision to step down as president, he laughed and said, “Why not now?”
Noting that he’d still be on the company board, he said it’s time for “new blood” in Campbell Scientific, and Rob would “be able to do bigger and better things.”
“What I’m most pleased that we as a company have accomplished is that we continue to be an economically viable business, locally-owned, privately-held, and we hope to be that in the future,” the senior Campbell said.