Thursday, January 29, 2015

How It All Began. . .

In this post, Nancy Workman, Co-owner and Vice President for Sales & Marketing, recalls how SoundTraxx got its start...

As we begin our 25th year in business, a rare bit of nostalgia creeps in….25 years! How did that happen?!

Way back in 1988, I began working for a marine electronics company in Pocasset, Massachusetts. The company primarily designed, manufactured and sold electronics for recreational marine use -- charting machines, knot meters, depth sounders, and wind anemometers. My new job entailed mostly marketing, but I was also responsible for writing the owner’s manuals that went with our products. As fate would have it, my first manual was for a series of products being developed by one of the senior design engineers -- one Steven Dominguez. 

During the process of writing the manual, Steve and I became friends, and early in 1989, he approached me with a request: Would I have some time to help him market a product of his own that he had been working on? My first question, of course, was, “What’s the product?”

Very seriously, he answered, “It’s a sound system for model trains.” To which I skeptically answered, “…A sound system for toy trains?” Steve snorted at me and answered, “NO! SCALE MODEL TRAINS!” To which I responded, “What’s the difference?”

Please understand, I have never been exposed to model railroading. No uncles, brothers or grandparents, no neighbors, nothing in school. I really didn’t know the difference. At this point he huffed out of my office and I pretty much figured that was that. But the next day, he walked in and put a model -- an HOn3 brass Fujiama K-36 -- on my desk. As a former art major, I could totally appreciate what it represented. I said, “That’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen” and the rest, as they say, is history.

Later that year, Steve and I attended (as registrants) the National Narrow Gauge Convention in Durango, Colorado. It was there that I fell in love with the area, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, and the modeling community. We launched our company in January of 1990, with an eye on someday moving to Durango and creating cool products for our new friends. Though the first product launched was actually not a sound system, but our Hyperlight, it began a quarter-century of innovations that we continue today. 

We hope you stay tuned -- we have lots of exciting things coming in 2015! And celebrate with us by visiting our 25th Anniversary Web page on the 25th of each month for our "Silver Special" offer or announcement. For our first "Silver Special," we're offering steam and airhorn audio files as free downloads for ringtones (or fun sound effects for your computer).