Introducing: BLI’s Pete Emory
What Makes Our Tech Guru Tick?
Every team needs a leader. Here at BLI, Pete Emory has been leading by example for approximately 20 years. Currently our Director of U.S./Asia Research and Lab Services, Emory spent some time telling us about his love of technology and for his family.
The Journey to BLI
“The heart and soul of my career falls back on my childhood hobby of taking things apart and putting them back together, then finding out how things work and exploring what I can do differently or better,” Emory explained. “Before BLI, I worked for a few manufacturers for almost 10 years. The first eight were at Mita CopyStar America (KYOCERA, today), in the QA department.” There, he was hired as a Testing and Evaluation Specialist—he even set up and maintained equipment being tested at BLI. Emory also worked for The Copier Store (later became The Copier Company) as a Field Service Technician, responding to calls and doing quite a bit of traveling. That is until he settled in at BLI in 1997.
Life at BLI
“Prior to my current role, I was a Senior Test Technician, Supervisor of Lab Operations, Manager of Laboratory Testing, and then Director of Laboratory Operations,” Emory recalled as he detailed his 19-year history in the company. “I used to be in the lab a lot more and loved testing devices and figuring out what makes them tick.” Emory always got a kick out of finding something a machine did that even the OEM was unaware of, which typically led to engineers coming in and having brainstorming sessions on how flaws could be fixed or how strengths could be capitalized on. “The lab staff works like a finely tuned machine,” he proudly stated. “I find it rewarding when they look at a piece of equipment and question why it works the way it does or how it will work in a real world application—and then they find the answer.”
“How something goes from an idea to a concept to a completed project, whether it’s an imaging device or anything else, is really cool to me,” Emory said about his love for technology. “Through pre-launch testing, I collaborate with vendors to help bring new products to market. It’s great to be a part of these projects even though it’s behind the scenes and most don’t know of our involvement. But in the end, to know that you were instrumental in making something what it is or to contribute to product improvement—it’s a rewarding feeling.” Due to NDAs Emory couldn’t discuss the details of those custom tests, but what he could say was how excited he is about the directions BLI is heading in the areas of wide format, production, software and 3D print.
Vendors will often ask him, “How are the other guys doing it?” To which he responds, “We can look at it that way if you want, but why not lead instead of follow? Let’s talk about what the other vendors aren’t doing.” It is this type of thinking that led to Emory being named a Difference Maker by ENX, a monthly magazine dedicated to the document imaging industry. “Over the years I have seen a lot of ideas and dreams become reality,” he said, smiling. “That is a huge influence on a person. You start to see infinite possibility in any idea—every concept has the potential to be reality regardless of how wild it sounds at inception.” This inspiring mindset is clearly why Emory gained such recognition.
Outside of BLI
Emory’s greatest passion is his family, which includes his wife, three sons (ages 22, 20, 16), a daughter (age 5) from China and another daughter (age 10) from China, who he and his wife are the process of adopting. “There are so many kids that need a family,” he said sincerely when asked why he and his wife chose to adopt. During the summers he enjoys taking his family or going with friends to one of his favorite destinations—the beach!—on the weekends. He especially loves the Jersey Shore, the boardwalks and people watching. “That’s my ideal place, right by the ocean with the sun shining. I don’t even need a beer.”
“The heart and soul of my career falls back on my childhood hobby of taking things apart and putting them back together, then finding out how things work and exploring what I can do differently or better.” –Pete Emory
Emory has had the pleasure of doing some traveling both personal and professional, and his favorite place he’s been to is Japan. “The people in Japan are so nice, the culture is very different and I was fascinated by it, and the country itself is beautiful,” he said. “New Orleans is my favorite city in the United States. The music, food, and the passion for life there just carries you away.”
His love for technology is not limited to just document imaging products, either. “Electronics—I just gotta have my toys!” he declared with child-like enthusiasm. From cameras, of which he has several, to iPhones and videogames, his interest in all things electronic is boundless (he also loves Matchbox cars). “When I was younger, I’d go to computer shows at William Paterson just to look around. I even got into a little programming and made a few small games on a Commodore 64.” He laughed at how a younger audience would not know what that was.
“Truthfully, I thought I was going to be a long-haired rock star in a wildly famous heavy metal band—I’m still having a hard time letting go of that one.” He admitted that some the influences that sparked this dream were bands like Iron Maiden, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. As a child he learned piano from the organist at his family’s church, and after a few years of begging, his teacher finally let him split from the classics to play a little Journey.
While Emory no longer plays piano, his journey has been very fulfilling nonetheless.