A mid-size company blends needed electronics with acquisitions.
One could forgive Paul Domorski for running a little scared. How else can people describe an executive whose guiding business book is none other than Only the Paranoid Survive by former Intel Chairman Andy S. Grove?
That critically acclaimed book documents the impact that disruptive change can have on a company and its leaders. Grove’s case study about the power of what he calls strategic inflection points can be viewed as something of an oxymoron: It is a blueprint of sorts for managing unpredictable technological upheavals and the resulting chaos.
“The first thing is, you don’t like to be surprised,” explains Domorski, the president and chief executive officer of EMS Technologies, a fast-growing, acquisition-minded supplier of wireless connectivity solutions for the defense, aerospace and logistics markets. “If you are paranoid, you typically find there is more good news than bad news that occurs.
“You tend not to be surprised with new things in the market. If you go at it somewhat paranoid, I think you lead a better life. I have three kids who are college age. I tell them the things that cost you lives in video games are the same ones that get you in this world. You need to be cognizant of the things around you.”
Not that he is worried about
Those acquisitions also are part of the company’s drive to downplay individual components and focus on integrated systems, a path it has been on for years. After all, defense accounts for about 30 percent of
Nevertheless, the 52-year-old Domorski drives himself hard and keeps a close eye out for unexpected developments. A native of Red Bank,
When Domorski was just nine years old, his father, who designed NASA space flight centers, passed away. His mother died five years later, leaving Domorski’s grandmother to raise him. Domorski found healthy outlets for his grief. Standing 6 feet, 4 inches tall as he grew up, he played basketball and dove into academics with a vengeance. He finished high school in three years and graduated from college at age 19. After his parents passed, Domorski says, “I was always wired into the next challenge.”
At that time, Domorski says, he was the youngest person to receive a bachelor’s degree from
“Graduating from college at an early age, if that’s all you do, that becomes irrelevant when you are 52 years old like I am,” he reflects. “You have to continue to exceed expectations and challenge yourself. Those challenges manifest themselves in business success.”
Indeed, since Domorski took the executive reins at
In 2007, the last full year for which statistics are available,
Acquiring Satamatics extended
Three weeks later,
Despite the torrid acquisition pace,
“I would say that overall, we want to grow the company and create extraordinary results,” Domorski continues. “It’s part of my DNA and part of the company’s DNA. The company has always had great technology, talented people and attractive markets.
“What we’ve done is look at the markets we think we can win at and those we can’t and doubled down on those where we think we can win,” he explains. “We’ve had early success but see it as a long way to go to build something really special. We think we are on that path as evidenced by the numbers.
“We’ve had the ability to operate our technology at some of the fastest speeds in some of the most hostile environments,” he declares. “Everyone can do it standing still; we do it on three planets, we do it in remote search and rescue locations, we do it at 30,000 feet, we do it in Costco freezers, we do it on the B-2 bomber and the F-22 Raptor.”
Nearly 90 percent of defense-related sales stem from deals with such prime contractors as the Boeing Company, Raytheon Company, Lockheed Martin Corporation and Northrop Grumman Corporation. These customers rely on
At press time,
Under a planned upgrade program, the new EHF system will allow the B-2 to send and receive battlefield information up to 100 times faster than its current ultrahigh frequency satellite communications system. The Air Force plans to retrofit all 20 B-2s flying today with the new EHF system.
The Navy plans to buy 500 MH-60R Seahawk helicopters designed for search and rescue.
Founded in 1968 in
In 1999, EMS helped introduce live satellite television programming for
So, does that mean Domorski, who plays basketball at 6 a.m. twice a week when he is not on the road, finally will be able to put his feet on his desk and coast a bit? Don’t bet on it. He seems to scan the horizon constantly for signs of trouble—and opportunities.
“Our goal is to realize the value of the company and enable the company to achieve its potential in the market,” Domorski concludes. “We’ve been focused on the plan. We have a great team, and our job remains to continue the string of successes.
“If we do that, we will create a bigger company. You are only as good as your last quarter or your last year. Whatever then happens externally, you can look yourself in the eye and tell yourself you did the best job you could have.”