In the mid 1980s, fresh out of the University of Iowa, David Schultze, with little more than his Bachelors degree to his credit, moved to Phoenix and began to carve out his niche in the valley’s rapidly expanding Silicon Desert. After a few years of industry grooming by companies like MicroAge (Tempe, AZ) and Intel (San Jose, CA), Schultze experienced what is now referred to as corporate downsizing. Fortunately it happened early enough in his career to create a indelible impression. As a result, he went on to form an independent marketing firm representing high technology companies soliciting contracts for Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico territories. Seeing a niche for a line of computer interface products which were consistently being but not offered by the companies he represented, Schultze founded Portable Systems Solutions, Inc. with the idea of fulfilling that niche.
“Those early days were tough,” Schultze recalls. “All I had were a couple of ideas and a lot of enthusiasm.” One of the most formative of those ideas, it later turned out, wasn’t even his. “Back in those days, computers were not heterogeneous – they couldn’t talk to each other because their operating systems were incompatible, they spoke in completely different languages,” Schultze explains. “There was a small high-tech company in Southern California that had developed a solution to this problem but it was for legacy computers (DEC) with no designs for the now modern IBM PC type hosts. I saw many more applications for this high speed parallel technology.”
When Lockheed acquired this computer interface company (Lockheed’s Subsidiary, MDB Systems, Inc. in Irvine, CA.) the decision was made that they no longer wanted to remain in this strategic part of their business. Schultze was given the opportunity to sunset this business for them, and he eventually brokered the entire technology to Honeywell’s Industrial Automation Systems Division in Phoenix, AZ.
“From that day on I was hooked,” he recalls. “I had began pursuing my passion for computers and information systems in college, and now was my chance.” Armed with that passion and his proven marketing skills, Schultze has been creating solutions to problems inherent to the information processing industry and marketing them ever since. It was a combination of luck and circumstance that caused Schultze to begin focusing his attention on mobile computing when, in early 1991, he began to adapt the same high speed parallel technology for mobile applications. “I was fascinated by the emergence of laptop and notebook computers, and I saw them as the wave of the future.”
It is fortunate for Schultze and Portable Systems Solutions, Inc.’s shareholders that he correctly gazed into the future, 1995 saw notebook and laptop computers really make inroads to being as functional as desktops, mobile computing is the fastest growing market segment in the entire information systems industry.
For the last five years, Portable Systems Solutions, Inc. has been on the cutting edge in providing mobile computing interface and interconnect solutions. With an installed base in the thousands for PSS’s first generation products. PSS then introduced a line of associated interface and interconnect products. The PortaSCSI interface and interconnect solutions have been recognized as the highest performing and most functional products of their kind by companies like IBM, Hewlett Packard and NEC. (continued)
On the heels of that success, Portable Systems Solutions has just introduced its second and third generations of interface products, the PortaSCSI PCCard. These new and exciting products are based on the same embedded control technology, but it is packaged in a much more contemporary format known as the PCMCIA or PCCards which is used in all modern notebook computers. “PCCard packaging is state-of-the-art, and allows for much higher performance than anything previously on the market,” Schultze explains. “And that,” he believes, “coupled with the rapid growth in the number of mobile computers, translates into a substantially larger market than existed for the first generation product, the PortaSCSI.” How much more substantial? “I estimate, and current industry trends would seem to support my conclusion, that the worldwide market for interface PCCards for mobile computing applications, might be as much as ten times greater than the market was for the first generation product. Anyone who buys a CD-ROM or CD-Recorder for their notebook computer needs a interface. Microsoft is distributing software suites on CD-ROMs, so everyone needs a drive to be able to load these new applications and Operating Systems.”
And what of the future for Portable Systems Solutions, Inc. and David Schultze? “Nothing is as constant as change – technology is changing faster than one can purchase it. All sorts of various mobile computing solutions are coming out at a dizzying pace. The real challenge is not to merely keep up, but to stay ahead, and that’s precisely what PSS is doing,” according to Schultze. “We are constantly striving to take a proactive approach to the rapid changes in this business, to be ahead of the game” On the subject of PSS’s market share, Schultze is even more emphatic. “Niche marketing is what it’s all about, and based on the collective experiences of our first-class team of engineering, marketing and finance professionals, I’m satisfied we are quite well positioned to grow our market share and help the mobile professional become more productive and make his or her computing dollars go further. We like the interface niche of the computer hardware business; it has severe barriers to entry, is extremely complex, and our main competitor (Adaptec, Inc., Milpitas, CA) has posted unprecedented profits. As long as our products continue to help others succeed, we’ll be successful.”
Arizona Business, Super bowl Supplement