Former Las Crucen's company nets National Weather Service contract
Scott McLaughlin, NMSU electrical engineering alum and part owner of DeTect, Inc. won a National Weather Service contract for $27 million.
LAS CRUCES - Born and raised in Las Cruces, Scott McLaughlin is now the part owner and founder of a successful meteorological radar systems company that was recently awarded a $27 million government contract.
His company, DeTect Inc., won the competitive bid after a three-year process. Now, the National Weather Service will upgrade more than 30 bird, wind and weather detection radar systems, mostly in the Midwest, with DeTect designs and systems.
"This is a very large contract. For these kind of systems we typically sell one device. To sell more than 30 is very large," said McLaughlin, an NMSU graduate.
The company has facilities in Longmont, Colo., where McLaughlin currently lives; corporate offices are in Panama City, Fla.
"I started in 2006 and my contract was to work from a home office," McLaughlin said. "We came out with a better radar design. Now, we have 15 employees and an 8000 square foot facility in Colorado."
His success doesn't end there.
McLaughlin, 45, was recently selected by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) for its U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Symposium, a distinguished honor because it requires a nomination from someone within the field.
"Attendance at the meeting is by invitation only. One of the key benefits to the meeting is the cross-discipline networking that occurs," NAE representative Nathan Kahl said. "Scott will participate fully through Q & A and speaking during small group sessions."
"I started at White Sands Missile Range when I was a student at NMSU doing research into wind turbulence," he said. "To receive this award is a very prestigious honor."
McLaughlin graduated from New Mexico State University in 1989 with an electrical engineering degree. He attended Mayfield High School, went to Court Junior High and started his public school education at Do-a Ana Elementary School.
His mother Margaret, 74, still lives in town and he has fond memories about growing up in Las Cruces.
"It has a great university for engineers, you can really talk to all your professors. It's also great for music and the arts," he said.
He met his wife, Cindy, 44, as a member of the NMSU marching band. He played trombone, she was on the flute. The couple is happily married and has two kids Sara, 22 and Aaron, 20.
McLaughlin said he has talked with his wife about coming back to Las Cruces.
"We've discussed moving back. My company has talked with the spaceport about building bird detection radars for the area and as we hire new employees, we've talked about recruiting in Las Cruces," he said.
For the time being, McLaughlin believes his company will continue to grow amid national economic turmoil. "Winning the contract has been helpful," he said. "We've also been growing because we do a lot of research in radar systems and our systems provide wind energy."
Las Cruces Sun-News
July 2, 2010