Transforming Ideas into Reality


In business, many companies grow by acquiring other entities. In some cases, successful enterprises are the outgrowth of great minds getting together and brainstorming an idea.

In the early 1970s, Lee Whittaker and a number of engineers informally came together to work on a single project dealing with complex hardware technologies. Although the project was not intended to have longevity, the group quickly realized they were adept at solving other challenging hardware problems, and in time they were contacted to work on other projects. Industrial automation giant Rockwell came calling, as did others – like toy manufacturer Fisher-Price, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

By 1975 – the same year Bill Gates and Paul Allen created computer juggernaut Microsoft Corporation – the group had completed a number of successful projects and provided onsite engineering services and consultations to companies in the Seattle area. The decision was made to formally create Nytec Inc. In addition to its many software programs, Microsoft is behind numerous pieces of hardware, and Nytec allied itself with the company’s then-emerging hardware department.

For decades, Nytec has worked in tandem with Microsoft to help bring a diverse range of hardware products to the market, including keyboards, webcams, Kinect Xbox, and more.

“Nytec has evolved over time, and today we are involved in all facets, and it is diverse. We do software service, test tools, test tool development, big data, and the list goes on,” says Rich Lerz. As Chief Executive Officer at Nytec for approximately four years, Mr. Lerz’s extensive background includes starting a number of technology companies, including Dataform Corporation – one of Seattle ‘s first Internet service providers – and CentralPoint Corporation, a secure collaborate data-sharing technology used by health, science, and education markets.

Prior to joining Nytec, Mr. Lerz was a co-founder of Pixsy Corporation, an image and video search engine used to power some of the highest traffic sites on the Internet. With a decade and a half of progressively successful entrepreneurial experience and extensive technical knowledge, he has spearheaded Nytec’s corporate operations through the development of innovative opportunities and solutions.

From its humble beginnings in the mid-Seventies, Nytec Inc. has grown to a full-service engineering company. With a highly experienced team of about 350 individuals, Nytec has emerged as a leader in engineering services, providing on and off site engineering staff, laboratory facilities, prototyping, and test management solutions. Over the decades, the business has extensively diversified into a number of areas, including Nytec Studios, Nytec Labs, Consulting Services, Software Services, test tool development and, most recently, a 20,000 square foot, full-service Product Innovation Center in Kirkland, Washington specializing in consumer electronics.

Presently employing engineers in Washington, Oregon, California, and Colorado, Nytec is focused on expanding further to North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Maryland in 2014-2015.

With a focus on the consumer electronics industry – either the consumer end-user product, or a component or subset technology incorporated into a larger product – Nytec takes pride in providing the team and resources necessary to make on-demand engineering happen as rapidly, efficiently, and effectively as possible. By partnering with appropriate experts in diverse disciplines, Nytec has created a unique niche for itself with its ability to deliver the right engineering needs and solutions to all clients. With the most advanced tools and labs able to deliver on-site, outsourced, or both on-demand, Nytec’s engineering consists of full service end-to-end development. While some projects are new version releases of existing products, others are literally sketched on a napkin and taken all the way from initial concept development to client services such as 3D prototyping and low-volume product run manufacturing.

Often, Nytec will work with others even before a preliminary or thumbnail sketch is created. “We have people who are toying around whether its even a good idea to people who have been tinkering in their basement for years, and are trying to bring it to the next level,” says Mr. Lerz of the company, which also hosts a number of events where others are encouraged to attend. “We try to flesh out ideas they bring to these events, and we try to bring some insight into what it is going to take to make it work, and what it is going to look like. We focus not only on working with existing products, but taking concepts and ideas and helping flesh those out, and we provide everything from user research to user studies all the way through to prototyping, 3D printing, and so on to help with concept stages.”

Nytec has a unique client engagement process developed by industry veterans who have helped create many of today’s consumer electronics products. To ensure strict confidentiality, Nytec’s secure product development facility was designed specifically to protect client IP and allow clients to choose their involvement in the development process; they can be as involved as they choose. Nytec also provide onsite engineering and design personnel to assist in the process.

To ensure data is kept confidential, Nytec takes steps to safeguard intellectual property, unlike any other engineering service provider. For every client project, a Chief Security Officer is appointed and Group Security Leads are assigned. At the company, all staff members are required to undergo extensive character screening, a criminal background check, and are bound by IP, Non-Disclosure, and Code of Conduct Agreements. Completion of Nytec’s IP Security Program and Quarterly Security Reviews are required of all Nytec staff.

“Each Nytec employee is required to undergo an IP security program that teaches proper handling of sensitive data and client IP,” explains Mr. Lerz. “Nytec also provides training and program material to its clients, so there are no weaknesses or vulnerabilities between Nytec’s staff and its client staff. In addition, Nytec’s Product Innovation Center was built from the ground up around stringent security features and protocols that ensure best practices are followed.”

Recently opened, the Nytec Product Innovation Center in Kirkland, WA is designed to maximize client protection in a fully secure environment. Boasting an array of state-of-the-art tools needed to efficiently design, engineer, prototype, and launch products, the new Innovation Center has been designed to scale the development process in a closed door environment, where innovative product solutions are engineered for market longevity from the start. “We are focused on seamlessly blending front-end expertise with back-end genius,” enthuses Mr. Lerz. “Your IP never leaves the facility.”

Depending on the client, some prefer to work at Nytec’s facilities, while others operate from their own businesses off-site, with Nytec providing expert support. “Nytec has many clients who have chosen to reduce or eliminate their design / engineering departments completely and outsource their complete product innovation and development process to Nytec’s Product Innovation Center,” shares Mr. Lerz. While much of the company’s work concentrates on small consumer electronics and devices, Nytec is also active in industrial design, testing, 3D printing, and much more.

Working with small startups designing a new product from scratch all the way to Fortune 100 companies that want to improve on an existing design or create a completely new product, Nytec takes on companies with a specific need to be addressed in an area of the product development cycle, or full end-to-end services. From mechanism design and analysis – including pneumatics, opto-mechanical and electro-mechanical to design for manufacturability – to HW tests including shock and vibration analysis, thermal, structural and dynamic simulation (FEA), unit test development, audio testing, fluidics and micro fluidics, EMC/Safety pre compliance testing and more, Nytec has the skilled engineers, technicians, and IT professionals to handle all client products from inception to completion.

Nytec provides clients with an array of services including software, web, and tools development, software testing, test architecture and design, compatibility testing, test automation, sustaining engineering, performance testing, security testing, user interface testing, and operations. With extensive internal capabilities – along with strategic partnerships with leading manufacturers to ensure the company has the latest tools, technologies, and fixtures – Nytec’s specialty services include engineering, mechanical, and electrical development, robotics, wireless system design (GPS, WIFI, NFC, cellular), and more. From 3D printing to CNC, urethane casting printed circuit board assembly, plating and more, the company is able to handle client fabrication and prototyping needs.

Currently servicing most of the United States, Nytec plans to expand into the Canadian marketplace by 2015 and grow internationally soon after that. Clients, says Mr. Lerz, appreciate Nytec’s one-stop shop approach. “We are one of the few in the country that does everything under one roof,” he says. “We take the product development all the way through, where it is able to be handed off to a large-scale manufacturer. And with everything built around security, our facilities allow clients to integrate into the process as much or as little as they want, and everything is done so that no two products share the same space. Clients really appreciate our security framework, and that’s one of the reasons they choose to work with us.”

For more information about Nytec, please visit

July 22, 2018, 2:59 AM EDT

The Gig Economy

There are countless studies that demonstrate that the nature of work is changing. Work is becoming increasingly precarious, but what does this mean? Does precarious employment imply doom and gloom or is there a silver lining for work that no longer fits traditional or conventional models? Is it a necessary evolution for the increasingly automated economy?