Fischer Technical Services was born, out of necessity, in 1979.
FTS owner and Principal Consultant, Robert Fischer, was working as electrical maintenance superintendent for a 2,000-employee railroad car manufacturing plant. He was also leading the design, installation and maintenance of sophisticated control systems for automated welding lines, automated material handling, computer-numeric-controlled lathes and plasma cutting machines, robot work cells and remotely-controlled cranes and locomotives.
The plant manager was both active and popular in local management circles. As he would hear his counterparts lamenting efforts to solve electrical and control problems, he not only recommended they consult Bob, he also encouraged Bob to work on those problems. Word quickly spread that there was a local engineer servicing CNC machines, plasma cutting machines, induction heaters and PLC controls. Doing favors for the plant manager's buddies soon developed into enough of a part-time business that the West Virginia Attorney General sent Bob a letter demanding he obtain a business license.
The license application required a name for the business. In 1979, the primary function of "the business" was providing troubleshooting, repair and technical assistance for complex control systems. At that time, however, Bob was 32 years old and studying for a Professional Engineering license examination. He anticipated adding "applied science" and additional "engineering" services to the business. Fischer Technical Services was chosen as a name that would continue to describe the company into the future.
Bob continued operating the part-time consulting business during the 15 years he worked for Calgon Carbon Corporation. During part of that assignment, he served as a maintenance/reliability consultant to all CCC plants in the U.S. as well as to their plants in England, Belgium and Germany. He spent the last ten years of concurrent, full-time employment training IBEW electricians to calibrate, install, troubleshoot, repair and replace instrumentation at Marathon refineries, terminals and tank farms in KY, WV and VA.
At this writing, Fischer Technical Services has provided paid consulting services to 22 clients in ten states. In partial repayment of an NDEA obligation, Bob has also provided gratis consulting to several small companies and freely shared his knowledge base with scores of students, craftsmen, engineers and technical managers. Dr. Fischer has instructed courses in Robotics, Physics and Solid-State Electronics for three local colleges.
Bob retired from full-time employment in April of 2011. He is now happy to have more time for short-notice consulting assignments and for ongoing research in esoteric sciences. History buffs may be interested in the NDEA link describing how Bob started his formal education in electronics.
Lynn Fischer, Bob's wife, has always supported his part-time work. She is taking a more active involvement in the company as FTS evolves. Lynn provides assistance with office management, scheduling and accounting functions.