20 Questions - 8th Edition

20 Questions with Eric DeGaston

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In our series of "20 Questions" blog posts, we'll dive into the minds of the partners within our company. Sometimes, you'll learn more about the people you may already know, and others, you'll be introduced to the people behind the scenes that you may have never met before. 

We're going inside the minds of the people that make it happen. Day in and day out, they are extraordinary people creating innovative solutions, making life easy for our customers, and providing the integrity and dependability our company is built upon.

8th Edition:

Eric DeGaston
Tech & Event Specialist

Eric has worked for MiTek Corporation for the past 15 years in various roles. Most recently, he is providing technical support for the AtlasIED BlueBridge DSP platform from our Phoenix, AZ facility. Eric has also been integral in design, setup, teardown, and logistics of tradeshows for both consumer and commercial brands under the MiTek Corporation umbrella. MiTek Corporation is the parent company of AtlasIED and MTX Audio.

1. What is your role at MiTek Corporation?

Most frequently I support customers who use our BlueBridge DSP platform; I also work to meet varied daily needs relating to applications engineering requests, marketing events and technical support for users.

2. What do you like most about working at MiTek Corporation?

I appreciate that our office and corporate culture is one of family and respect; it doesn’t feel like people are eager to undermine each other or if they are I’m too dumb to notice. It’s good to work within an organization that has a positive role in the world & not a parasitic, antisocial or destructive industry.

3. How has MiTek Corporation changed since you first started?

At the beginning of my relationship with MiTek, the culture felt more carefree. It’s been a long enough time that the whole world outside has changed - for better or worse - so not everything that drove this change is internal. In the past people seemed more comfortable bringing their real self to work. Now we’re more business focused and that’s produced a more orderly work environment & hopefully more growth but I miss some of the mayhem even when it was a lot of work to carry out.

4. What is the one thing, you can’t live without?

Assuming I have the biological needs met, I need the ability to explore. If I’m still treading the same path every day, it’s like reading the same page of a book every day, not very courageous.

5. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

If I answered this question with absolute sincerity it would not be business appropriate. So you get #2: It’s not always possible to say what people want to hear but it’s always possible to speak honestly. I think there was an implication that one should make an effort to do both if there's no conflict. It took me a while to really appreciate that but it was very good advice once it sunk in.

6. Which cartoon character would you most like to switch lives with?

Gotta pick Roger Rabbit, but only if my wife could also switch with Jessica Rabbit and then we got to watch a movie about those poor jerks trying to figure out flesh-and-bone human life in our old bodies.

7. How do you define success?

If you’re playing fair and you can stay in the game you’re doing better than anyone who has to step on people to win.

8. If you could have any job for just one day, what would it be?

I think maybe I’d elect to be the controlling principal of a pharmaceutical companyand open-source as many deliberately overpriced medications as possible during that day so that they could be legally produced and sold at a market price instead of extorting money from sick people. Maybe that would bring down health insurance premiums for everyone else too.

9. What three traits define who you are?

A.) I think being resolute is a defining factor, better or worse. (That’s a kind way to say stubborn right?)
B.) Curiosity. I void warranties and I go see for myself. 
C.) A distaste for hubris. I’m not deeply interested in making the world look at me and I’d rather be surrounded by kings than be one alone. 

10. Before working at MiTek Corporation, what was the most unusual or interesting job you've ever had?

For part of one summer I was hired to restore a Yugo that had unsurprisingly fallen into decay. I was given no budget and there wasn’t really any internet at the time to order parts or download documentation. The job was a success but I would encourage everyone to never attempt to work on a Yugo and if you see one in the wild, push it into the nearest trash compactor for everyone’s health and safety.

11. What is the first thing you would buy if you won the lottery?

After buying a legal retainer with a wealth management firm…  a small house somewhere that gets more rain and less sun than Phoenix. Ideally it would be both in the middle of a city for convenience and surrounded by enough land to have an awesome garden. That would probably require the purchase of several adjacent houses and the rental of a bulldozer.

12. What has been the most important innvoation you have witnessed in your lifetime?

The democratization of information distribution. We're still in the middle... maybe just the beginning of it really and it might suffer some temporary implosions at the hands of despots and autocrats but the lights are getting turned on everywhere. Distribution of knowledge is the engineering that underlies peace and progress.

13. What is an ability you wish you had?

If we’re talking real world (not comic book stuff) it seems like life would be a lot easier if I could choose to sleep, restfully and comfortably when and where I needed to.

14. What is the best vacation spot you've been to?

Coastal Oregon, anywhere between Coos Bay and Astoria is pretty stinkin’ relaxing.

15. What do you like to do in your spare time? 

Hack the planet. If it ain’t broke, fix it till it is. I like to repair, update, dissect, and modify anything with moving parts or that can be given parts that move.

16. If you could only have 3 apps on your Smartphone, which ones would they be?

I WISH I could delete all these preloaded bloat apps! If I can access a browser, text message, & audiobooks, that’s most of what I do. Honorable mentions to Torque (automotive diagnostic tool) and Pandora I guess.

17. What's the weirdest thing you've ever eaten?

I ate a sheet of forensic agarose after trying to electromigrate a muddled Snickers through it to see if the flavors separated out. The whole thing just tasted like wet cheerios.

18. If you were famous, what would you be famous for?

Probably the face of some unflattering meme. It would be more fun to say the subject of a manhunt but I’m not really interested in doing any of the things that would produce that outcome.

19. If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would you get?

Oh man... Hook me up with an endless supply of Bear Valley Pemmican bars. They’re tasty and healthful while being reasonably shelf-stable. They don’t have ingredients that conflict with cultural or religious restrictions and I could drive around all over the world in a kickass van dumping mountains of them on starving people so they can at least have a chance at life. 

20. You have to sing karaoke, what song do you pick?

Gotta do "Spanish Flea" by Herb Alpert & Tijuana Brass.