Radiant at 30 – Staff Stories: Keeping Things Interesting
Wick Renner joined the company in 2010, when Radiant was in its Redmond Ridge (Novelty Hill) Location.
When I started at Radiant it was 2010, during the great recession. I was doing programming for a finance company and that industry was having a hard time. It was a tough time to be working—I felt fortunate to find a job. A friend was working at Radiant and recommended me.
It was still a small company with maybe 20-30 people. There wasn’t a cleanroom yet, at least not like ours now. I worked for Ron [Rykowski] doing whatever was needed, kind of the utility guy. I knew the basics of light and color measurement, but I’m a programmer, so I’ve learned a lot here—and a lot more math.
Early Software & Solutions
We had ProMetric® and ProSource™ software back then, and the SIG (Source Imaging Goniometer®) product, but no TrueTest™ yet. The SIG was a big part of the business as was the NFMS (Near-Field Measurement System).
These systems worked by moving the camera around a light source to take measurements at all different angles. Now we have the FPD Conoscope Lens that needs only one measurement to do all that—it’s less expensive and a better solution. I saw the development of that.
Back then, the company was very tight knit and friendly because we were still small. The whole company would go out to lunch together and things like that. After a few years some of my friends left the company—I still miss them. Since Konica Minolta took over, a lot has improved—it’s a really nice place to work.
From left to right, friends Joe Adolpho, Wick Renner, and Michael Kwan playing basketball at lunch in 2014.
It was interesting when we moved from monochrome [ProMetric Y-Series] to color cameras [ProMetric I-Series] with a color filter wheel. That filter wheel is a big deal. A Bayer-pattern camera is great for taking artistic pictures, but for scientific measurement they don’t cut it. You need a filter wheel.
Calibrations also help make our cameras good scientific instruments—without calibration they're just boxes with blinking lights. Anyone can go to Best Buy and pick up a camera for that.
In the early days there were no big parties and no alcohol. Then we started doing bigger events. Radiant throws some nice parties! We’ve had events like Seattle Mariners and Sounders games, and big picnics. They’re fun—Radiant really makes an effort.
Keeping It Interesting
New projects and challenges come up all the time and that's really what's interesting about the work. We have to go deep to solve a lot of these problems, so I’ve gotten to research and learn about machine learning, some higher math, fitting algorithms, and things like that. I have free rein to research what’s needed to solve these problems. I love doing science, and that's what I get to do here.