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VITA Hall of Fame

Since the announcement of VMEbus in 1981 there have been a great number of people and ideas that have had an impact on the development and advancement of open standards used in critical embedded computing systems. The intention of the VITA Technologies Hall of Fame is to honor and preserve the remembrance of those people and technologies that have had the greatest influence on the VITA open standards industry. Many others are to come – innovators and influencers who have made a significant impact on developing, designing, creating the technology, and ferrying the technical specifications into open standards. These are the people who have overcome the technical and procedural problems, the products that set new expectations. It is our pleasure to honor these primary contributors to this industry.

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  • Thursday, September 09, 2021 9:53 AM | Jerry Gipper (Administrator)

    Building a strong ecosystem of interoperable, open-source computing technologies goes beyond just the technical bits and bytes.  The need to understand the benefits behind the standards and what, as a community, can be built using them is an important aspect to successful market adoption. 

    Marty Simon, founder of The Simon Group, is known to many in our industry for his long commitment in helping member companies communicate the complex intricacies of critical embedded systems by shaping them into educational, relatable concepts as well as his expertise in publicizing the benefits and uses of open standards-based products across many industries.

    While many engineering-types in our industry often discuss the highly technical aspects of VITA and its open standards, Marty always had a question ready: Why is this important? His training in journalism positioned him to help discover the true meaning behind what open standards were trying to achieve, so that this essence could be explained to the markets the open standards would serve.

    Marty helped kick off the VME buzz by coordinating the first-ever trade press article on VME, that appeared in Electronic Products, circa 1986.  From there, he continued to build awareness for VITA’s technical standards through participation in industry events and marketing activities for companies employing VITA’s technical standards.

    Marty passed away on August 29, 2021. Obituary.

  • Friday, May 14, 2021 9:52 AM | Jerry Gipper (Administrator)

    Doug’s long involvement in open standards started back at the dawn of VME, first in the pivotal role of Director of Defense Marketing at Plessy Microsystems, which was one of the first companies to adopt VME standards in the 1980s. Doug transitioned with the company when it became Radstone Technologies, which is now a part of Abaco Systems that operates today. 

    Throughout his career with many leading embedded computing companies, Doug has loyally championed open standards to help facilitate interoperability and technology reuse, supporting VITA’s mission of technology excellence in real-time, modular critical embedded computing systems.

    He served on the VITA Board of Directors from 2007 to 2012 and is a widely published author of open standards-based rugged embedded computing concepts for the defense and aerospace market.  He also holds three patents in advanced metered mailing systems and non-volatile memory redundancy mapping. 

    Most recently, Doug worked at Aitech, a provider of rugged electronics and systems for military, aerospace and space applications, where he served as VP of Global Marketing.  During his more than 15-year tenure, Doug sought to not only build on the legacy of existing VME platforms, but embrace the forward-looking path that VPX provided through the company’s technology and product innovations.

    Doug is currently principle of DH Patterson Associates, where he is applying his technical and business expertise to a broad range of electronics companies.

  • Tuesday, May 12, 2020 12:39 PM | Jerry Gipper (Administrator)
    Induction: December 2019

    Michael has been active in standards for many years: He has been involved with VITA, PICMG, IEEE, and other international standards organizations. His contributions to the technical and business aspects have had a great impact.

    His skills as a cross-company collaborator, product designer, technical writer, presenter, and trainer made him an important player in the development of many of our standards in use today.

    He was a strategic product manager with over 33 years in the electronics arena; he has been recognized by peers as an expert on Eurocard chassis design and connectors.

    Michael was responsible for innovating new backplane solutions for the VXS and VPX industry. He chaired the VITA 41.7 committee where he defined a new VXS architecture. Since 2006, he has been contributing to the wide family of VPX standards, with major contributions to ANSI-VITA 65.0. He represented Elma Electronic in the development of the Army CERDEC CMOSS [C4ISR Modular Open Suite of Standards] convergence architecture, based on OpenVPX. He represented Elma in the Sensor Open Standards Architecture (SOSA) and contributed to the SOSA Electrical Hardware Working Group. His day job included supporting new OpenVPX product development and providing internal training, internal technical support, public presentations, and key customer support.

    Michael has moved onto his retirement but remains involved in his role as a VITA Distinguished Fellow.

  • Monday, December 30, 2019 1:58 PM | Jerry Gipper (Administrator)
    Induction: December 2019

    Rex was a key contributor to VITA standards, particularly in the area of cooling technologies where he could apply his mechanical engineering skills. While his contributions to VITA were critical to several standards, his real claim to fame was in track and field where Rex was a huge presence in the masters' track and field scene both in the U.S. and internationally.

    Rex attended Dexfield High School, where he helped his track and field team win two state championships under the legendary coach Dean Roe. He then earned a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State University, where he attended on an athletic track and field scholarship. During which he participated in four U.S. NCAA Division I Championships.  Rex was a Vietnam War Veteran, who served as a Captain in the United States Airforce. As a member of the US Military track and field team he represented the United States at many international competitions, as well as the 1972 & 1976 US Olympic Trials in the Decathlon.  He went on to earn a Master of Science Degree in Systems Management at the University of Southern California.  During his many years as an engineer, he designed and holds several patents for nozzles.  He ended his career as a Research Development Engineer at Parker Corporation in Cleveland, Ohio.

    Rex continued his track career as a masters competitor, during which he won 13 straight national decathlon championships, as well as several world championships in the decathlon, pole vault, and as a member of several relay teams.  He was inducted into the USATF Masters Hall of Fame in 2000. Rex was an integral part of developing age-graded tables for scoring masters track and field athletic performances.  He was elected to two terms as Vice President Stadia of World Masters Athletics (WMA).  He currently was serving as the President of USATF Masters Track & Field.

    With great sadness, we announce that Rex passed away on Sunday, December 22, 2019 in Prescott, Arizona, where he lived. The cause was a massive heart attack. Obituary

  • Monday, April 16, 2018 9:30 AM | Jerry Gipper (Administrator)
    Induction: April 2018

    While a young engineer at Bell Labs, in the early 1980s, Banton cut his teeth on VMEbus where he took part in an effort that mapped the VMEbus specification to an AT&T proprietary line-card format for a switching system they were developing in research. He later landed at Mercury Systems for a decade, starting there in 1996.

    At Mercury Systems, he took part in many of the standards activities that were key to the future generations of Mercury System products. Some of the concepts, which set the foundation for VITA-48 VPX REDI, were innovations borne out of the Mercury Systems PowerStream 7000 development. Seven patents were issued to Banton, and members of the development team, for those innovations.

    He vividly recalls making the proposal for what became VITA-48 VPX REDI. It was in the upper-room of a Scottsdale meeting location; he had mostly lost his voice overnight and struggled to do the presentation. He felt like he had done a lousy job, and wow! – He closed to a robust round of applause from the excited attendees.

    The VITA 48 working group was formed at the January 2004 VSO meeting. The purpose of the group was to develop an enhanced thermal management standard suitable for the new ruggedized VPX initiative. A standard, which would harmonize the various cooling methods: Air, conduction, spray, and liquid flow-through. The title of the original draft was “Mechanical Specifications for Microcomputers Using Enhanced Ruggedized Design Implementation (ERDI).” With the magic of marketing insight from Rich Jaenicke, “ERDI” was rearranged to the market-friendly “REDI” (Rugged Enhanced Design Implementation)!

    Banton took part in the development of many VITA standards (VITA 5.1, VITA 17, VITA 41, VITA 46, VITA 47, and VITA 50, to name a few) as a key contributor by supporting, chairing, and working the details directly or feeding back into others at Mercury Systems.

    Key contributions:
    • VITA 48 VPX REDI – working group chair for more than two years
    • VITA 42, Rapid IO mapping – working group chair until publication
    • 26 patents spanning his career – the first was one from Bell Labs, the research switching system which used VMEbus
    • A motivating force behind the Mercury Systems and VITA patent license agreement for U.S. Patent No. 6,759,588
  • Monday, April 16, 2018 9:00 AM | Jerry Gipper (Administrator)
    Induction: April 2018

    John Wemekamp spent over thirty-two years in the embedded computing industry. He was a leader in influencing and advocating key VITA standards.

    After graduating with an Electrical Engineering degree from Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, Wemekamp started his engineering career with Bell-Northern Research, leading a development team in telecommunication products.

    Wemekamp spearheaded the VMEbus board level product hardware design effort at Dy 4 Systems in Ottawa, during the early 1980s where he led the design and development of their first generation of VMEbus products. During this time, he played an influential role at VITA standards meetings and during the IEEE 1014, and later ANSI, standardization process that followed the enthusiastic market adoption of VMEbus.

    Wemekamp’s career spanned from hardware engineering and management to marketing, business development, and strategic planning. He retired in 2015 from Curtiss-Wright as their Business Development & Chief Technology Officer for Defense Solutions (DS) & Integrated Sensing (IS).

    Throughout his career, Wemekamp was recognized as pre-eminent authority in strategic planning, technical vision and innovation, marketing and business development, and in acquisition leadership.

    Key contributions:
    • As a member of the VMEbus Manufacturers Group, actively supported development of Revision B of the VMEbus specification in 1982, and then following the beginning of VITA, supporting creation of VITA 1014 and in later years VPX
    • VMEbus technical standards promotion through presentations at the BUSCON Bus/Board Users Show and Conferences (during late 80s), numerous articles published in trade magazines endorsing VMEbus, particularly for rugged applications, and representing Dy 4 Systems technology road show presentations at systems integrators worldwide
    • Industry voice in influencing worldwide aerospace & defense systems integrators and their military end customers to accept the benefits of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) and leverage the growing COTS industrial base of companies, to offer reduced life cycle ownership costs and faster technology deployment of embedded computing systems, for the benefits of all warfighters
  • Monday, April 16, 2018 8:45 AM | Jerry Gipper (Administrator)
    Induction: April 2018

    Very few people contribute so passionately to their interests as Joe Pavlat. He loved flying his plane, driving his Porsche, hiking, writing, and traveling. He is honored for his passion of industry computing and his contribution as role of president of the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group. Pavlat was the first, and only president until his death in September of 2016.

    Pavlat started down the path of becoming a physicist while studying at the University of Wisconsin in Madison before graduating with a B.S. degree in Engineering in 1975. He started his professional career as a hardware engineer honing his technology expertise of motion control and robotic systems.

    Pro-Log Corp. brought him onboard in 1989 to lead their marketing efforts of STD bus. He never strayed far from engineering where he also held roles in engineering management, guiding the development of hardware products.

    Pro-Log was a primary contributor to the development of CompactPCI, which was mapped out as the future for STD bus. Pavlat was deeply involved from the beginning. When it looked like a standard was emerging, he participated in forming PICMG in 1994. He was directly involved in the development of both the CompactPCI and AdvancedTCA standards.

    He stayed actively connected to physics by participating in experiments in Antarctica and on top of the Haleakala volcano in Hawaii. Pavlat also volunteered his time flying for the Monterey Sheriff’s department Aero Squadron.

    Pavlat’s passion for writing and all things PICMG made for a perfect partnership with OpenSystems Media where he served as Editorial Director for several PICMG publications.

    Key contributions:
    • President of PICMG
    • VITA Board of Directors
    • Evangelist for open standards
  • Sunday, March 11, 2018 11:16 AM | Jerry Gipper (Administrator)

    As VMEbus became the industrial bus of choice in the 1980s, the standard IC moved from a 20-pin MSI DIP to a VLSI high pin count surface mount device. Although the functionality of standard boards increased dramatically, the average selling price remained at about $2500. This high per-slot cost prompted manufacturers to continue to place as much functionality on each board as possible, to keep the total slot and total system costs as low as possible. This trend increased the basic functionality granularity (the smallest purchasable function) 10 to 50 fold. It was no longer practical to purchase separately a small number of serial lines or a small amount of memory. Many manufacturers attempted to remedy this problem by offering proprietary “daughter modules” for their processor boards. At least 20 different such proprietary offerings were on the market by the end of the 1980s.

    At this time, GreenSpring Computers, under the technical direction of Kim Rubin, created a module with the specific design and intent that it become an open, widely accepted standard. GreenSpring Computers introduced the module and its specification as an open standard at BUSCON in 1988.

    When the modules were introduced, GreenSpring incorporated features that were found in only a few, if any, other modules:

    • Up to four modules fit on one VME or PC-AT board, for high modularity
    • Bus and processor independent; supported both Motorola and Intel byte ordering
    • Simple, synchronous interface made Modules and Carriers easy to design
    • Rugged mechanical mounting, for ease of use and high reliability
    • Defined ID space for configuration management
    • Low cost

    The concept caught on, and by 1994 over 80 companies were designing and offering products to this standard, on at least seven standard buses. GreenSpring called their modules “IndustryPacks®,” but each manufacturer was free to use whatever trade name they wished. The term “IP Modules” is commonly used, a term that is now in the public domain.

    In 1991, the Motorola Computer Group incorporated the IP Module specification into its 68040 based MVME162, implementing four IP Module positions in a single VME slot. This helped propel the acceptance of the specification.

    At the start of 1994 a formal standards committee, VITA 4, was put together under the VITA Standards Organization, which had received accreditation as a standards organization under ANSI. Most of the committee’s work was done via internet, a new concept at the time, which proved effective. The purpose of the committee was to validate and clarify the existing specification. In particular, timing details for 32 MHz and DMA operation were clarified. Also, the specification was reformatted, with numbering added for easier reference and formality. The ANSI/VITA 4-1995 (S2011) IP Modules standard is still available.

    [Image IP-MP Serial_ds: Industry Pack, Courtesy of Abaco Systems]

  • Sunday, March 11, 2018 11:10 AM | Jerry Gipper (Administrator)

    “Hello - VITA, this is Lollie,” is what you heard when you called VITA. Lollie Wheeler was the voice answering the VITA phone for most of 30 years. Lollie was employee number three at VITA. She was good friends with Betty, who was in search of some assistance with the rapidly growing organization. Lollie immediately jumped in helping with whatever needed to be done.

    The first edition of the VITA VMEbus Compatible Products Directory was published in 1985. 174 companies and more than 2,700 products were listed in that first edition. Lollie was the go-to person for this new VITA product directory. This directory was printed four times per year; with all the new products and companies joining the VMEbus boom, there was plenty of work to be done with each edition. Collecting inputs and vetting each of them was a tireless task carried out by Lollie with each edition. Eventually the printed directory went paperless on the emerging internet where VITA was an early pioneer. When the directory went on-line the quarterly printed publishing became obsolete. However there still remained much to be done as each entry had to be approved, updates made to the database, and members reminded to keep their content fresh.

    The staff grew, leadership changed, and Lollie emerged as the behind the scenes manager of VITA. Members knew her as the go to person for questions about memberships and dues, product directory inputs and changes, assistance in obtaining copies of specifications, and any other miscellaneous requests that came her way. Lollie followed each request to its satisfactory conclusion, never leaving items unresolved.

    Lollie managed the accounting, responded to requests for VITA standards, and scheduled countless VITA Standards Organization (VSO) meetings. Lollie kept a very low profile but she has had her finger on the pulse of the organization throughout the years. Behind the scenes she ensured that the member dues were collected, which could be a full-time job in itself. She made sure that standards were delivered anywhere in the world. And that the VSO meetings ran smoothly. Coordinating the logistics for six VSO meetings each year in hotels all over the country was a challenge with all the conditions that hotels put on achieving your numbers for the meetings, let alone ensuring that all the attendees are satisfied.

    Ray Alderman frequently refered to John Rynearson as the “Brains” of VITA, himself as the “Muscle”, and Lollie as the “Heart”. Anyone that has ever had the opportunity to engage with Lollie will certainly agree with that analogy.

  • Tuesday, April 11, 2017 10:00 AM | Jerry Gipper (Administrator)
    Induction: April 2017

    Robles is a retired Boeing Senior Technical Fellow with over thirty years of experience in electronic packaging disciplines including system architectures, hardware design for commercial and military ground and airborne avionics, mechanical tolerance analysis, thermal and dynamic/vibration analysis, weights/mass properties analysis, design of experiments, environmental analysis and test, reliability, and environmental stress screening.

    He is a recognized expert on the application of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware on military platforms. Robles led the ITAA working group for EIA-933 Standard for Preparing a COTS Assembly Management Plan. He was the Boeing Focal for VITA and PICMG, developing open standards for next generation COTS assemblies for military/aerospace applications.

    Robles’ technical leadership in VITA drove the development of standards and COTS VPX products that are compatible with two-level maintenance. He led the implementation team that established a two-level maintenance baseline on FCS resulting in projected life cycle cost savings of $4 billion for the ICS alone.

    His development of a practicable liquid flow-through cooling design resulted in a 30 percent weight and volume reduction in the F/A-18 E/F active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar processor. His led a multi-company team to develop a mission systems design that the customer regarded as “nearly flawless.”

    Robles received a Special Incentive Award for the $50 million projected savings from the application of his approach for the integration of COTS electronics on AWCS Extend Sentry hardware. He is a prolific consultant who has been involved with many Boeing programs including 787, 737 RS, AWACS, F-15, F/A-18, F/A-22, FCS, P-8, V-22, and WedgeTail.

    Robles was the Boeing Fellowship focal for Communities of Practice and Knowledge Management. He presented well-received workshops at the University of California at Berkeley, WSU, and at Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers National Technical Career Conferences.

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