Meet John Vines | Peerless Partners

Ed Combs
By Ed Combs
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With the introduction of Peerless Preference regular features on our website, the Peerless team aims to introduce, recommend and reaffirm some of the best known brands we’re working with, and display the stories behind the high quality products that we distribute. 

In addition to the Peerless Preference, we’ve decided to take one more step forward towards making stronger connections with the manufacturers we carry and personally recommend. Starting with Dialight, the Peerless Electronics team wants to bring our customers and readers a deeper insight into brands and companies we’re working with, and explain why we’ve stayed a loyal and trusted distributor for 70+ years with some of the brands we carry. 

Dialight products have been flying off our shelves since the 1950s, and it’s only natural that we introduce them first. In our discussions with John Vines, the director of Technology at Dialight, we’ll go over the history of the company, what makes them one of the most recognizable brands in this industry, and what’s the future looking like for this manufacturer.

Meet John Vines, Director of Technology, Dialight

Thank you for agreeing to commit some time to our customers and readers, John. The relationship between Peerless and Dialight is 70+ years strong, and although our entire staff is well familiar with your company, would you mind giving us some of your personal perspectives about what Dialight means to you?

JV: I joined Dialight in 1992. At the time I became part of the Dialight Team, Dialight’s only products were panel mount indicators and circuit board indicators. The changes I have seen at Dialight define what Dialight is today. A company that is always looking ahead to be prepared for industry changes and advancement. Dialight is not only a company that I have had the pleasure of being a part of during a period of dynamic growth, but also a company that has demonstrated trust in my capabilities, allowing me to grow with the company.

What makes Dialight one of the most successful companies in your domain, and what makes you unique on the market?

JV: Dialight Signals and Components group is unique in that we serve many different markets with a vast product offering. The diversity of markets served to allow the business to thrive in the ever-changing economic cycles. Additionally, Dialight’s success can be attributed to our brand name recognition offering the best high-quality LED indication solution for over 50 years as well as our incredibly talented, knowledgeable, and dedicated team that stays abreast of advances in LED technology.

Which industries does Dialight serve the most?

JV: While there are way too many markets to list here, the most served markets for the Signals and Components Group would be the telecom, datacom, mil-aviation, industrial, power/energy, medical, heavy-duty vehicle, and traffic control markets.

Dialight has been around since 1938. Almost a century later, the company is the technology leader in this industry. How does Dialight manage to sustain this position and what types of efforts are made to make sure that Dialight remains ahead of the curve?

JV: Dialight strives to maintain a best-in-class Manufactures’ Representative and Distribution network. We utilize this network as a key Voice of the Customer using the information gathered through these networks to help define Dialight’s New Product roadmap ensuring the constant development of new products and product refinements based on customer needs. Dialight also recognizes the current shift in the marketplace toward a more web-based information platform, therefore, last year the Signals & The components group launched a brand new website.

This new website, which undergoes routine information updates provides a quick and easy path for existing and potential new customers to obtain the information they need on Dialight’s Signals and Components products.

Tell us more about your role. What does it take to become a Director of Technology in a company like yours?

JV: Being part of Dialight for 30 years I have and continue to wear many hats. The extent of my career at Dialight has provided me with direct knowledge and experience of most facets of the business. These, combined with engineering and management responsibilities gave me the tools required to succeed within the Company. Currently in the role of Director of Technology, for the Signals and Components group, I manage a team of mechanical, electrical, and optics engineers as well as manage the Signals and Components Product Management Team. These teams focus on all aspects of the business from managing existing products, to dealing with the many ongoing supply chain issues as well as all of the New Product Initiatives. The overall Signals and Components team beyond engineering and product management is a dedicated tight-knit group that has learned how to best utilize each individual's strengths. Therefore, in addition to the engineering and product management functions, I also find myself working closely with Dialight’s various global manufacturing facilities and other functions within the Signals and Components group.

The thing about the industry we’re in - is we’re just not as exciting to the general public as some of the trending online topics, and yet again - we provide products and services essential to everyday lives. Can you tell us what makes you excited about our industry, and about Dialight’s work in particular?

JV: The electronic industry is an every evolving industry as technology advances allowing incorporation of new capabilities into equipment. LEDs are virtually everywhere now and are used to communicate a wide variety of information.  Being from a simple status of a network connection to alerting someone of a robotic machine’s intended direction of movement. The excitement is working closely with customers on new applications then accepting the challenge to define and develop the products not only provides the customer with the ideal solution, but also helps maintain Dialight’s leadership position in our served markets as well as expand Dialight into new markets as the develop.

Let’s talk about the sustainability focus of Dialight. How does Dialight manage to remain the most green-friendly lighting product on the market?

JV: LEDs by nature are green consuming significantly less energy than their incandescent counterparts consume. Beyond that, Dialight Signal and Components groups work diligently to ensure our products comply with all of the latest RoHS and REACH environmental requirements. In early 2021, at a corporate level, Dialight established an ESG group that focuses on Dialight’s position on Environmental, Social, and Governance responsibility. You can read more about this initiative at the Dialight ESG website.

Can you tell us more about the Dialight Ultra-Efficient Vigilant® High Bay product that you just launched last year? And perhaps you can shed some light on some of the new innovations you’re working on currently?

JV: Dialight is organized into 2 business groups, the Solid State Light (SSL) group, and the Signals and Components group each operating independently of each other. My responsibilities in the Signals and Components group would not provide me with the in-depth information to properly comment on a specific SSL product. In terms of the Signals and Components group, even during COVID, the New Product Introduction (NPI) pipeline never slowed, in fact, we released ten new products in 2020-21 and 4 new products so far in 2022. The NPI pipeline for the balance of 2022 and into 2023 is filled with a variety of NPI initiatives in the Surface Mount LED, LED panel mounts indicator, Optopipe® Lightpipe, and Optics product areas.

An average consumer is probably not aware that they’re interacting with your products on a daily basis. Dialight LED lighting can be found in traffic, in their cars, in airplanes, when they visit a stadium, when they cross the street, and pretty much everywhere in general. Which application of Dialight LED technologies makes you personally excited, or even proud, to say and point - that’s supported by our product?

JV: Due to the vast markets we serve almost everyone has seen Dialight’s products in their lifetime but don’t even realize it. From soda machines, communication equipment, buses, amusement park rides, and traffic lights. I do not know if I could say there is that one application that I am excited or proud of the most but there are unexpected “sightings” or unusual applications that can bring a smile to your face. From the unexpected category, many remember the robot on the TV series “Lost in Space” but few know that all of the flashing lights on the front were Dialight Classic Panel Mount Indicators. In the Jim Carry version of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” for the sleigh crash test scene, they used Dialight LED vehicle lights on the sleigh. Or how about going to Fenway Park in Boston and knowing that the balls and strikes indicators on the Green Monster scoreboard are actually Dialight LED Traffic Signals that you helped develop.

Before we bring this interview to an end, here’s a tricky one - Do you have any idea how many LEDs Dialight produces or sells on an annual basis? Or perhaps you can share the exact number with us?

JV: It is very difficult for me to put a number on but between Dialight’s manufacturing facilities and Ensenada, Mexico, and Penang Malaysia manufacturing products that range from 1 to several hundred LEDs per product it is many many millions of LEDs per month.

Lastly, we would like to thank you for your time and all of your cooperation throughout these years. Please give us some insight into the future of Dialight, and what we hope to see coming out next from your company.

JV: Pardon the pun, but the future for Dialight is bright. There are emerging markets such as 5G, the electric vehicle, and electric vehicle charging markets that will require numerous indicators. These markets are still relatively young and offer the Dialight Signals and Components group significant opportunities for future growth.