If you wanted to tell the story of the American Dream personified, you couldn’t go wrong by talking about Jack Cleveland. An Eagle Scout who joined the Navy to fight for his country in the Korean War before coming home to raise a family while working and going to night school to better his lot in life, Cleveland reminds you of the old saying, “they just don’t make them like they used to.”
Cleveland, a Texas native, serves as the Senior Design Engineer at Server Technology, where he’s worked since 1993. How he became the STI employee with the most patents to his name is an extraordinary story.
After serving in Korea, Cleveland attended the University of Texas, studying electrical engineering. Always curious about the world around him, he sought to learn more with each passing year.
“I was a Navy radar man who didn’t know anything about electronics,” Cleveland said in a recent interview at Server Technology’s Reno headquarters. “But I was enthusiastic about wanting to know how things worked. I had a sort of natural curiosity about things.”
That inner drive led him to earn his Masters in Engineering before going to work for General Dynamics where he designed instruments for the military’s then-futuristic B58 bomber. He eventually moved west to California, where he worked with pioneering Silicon Valley companies.
By 1993, Cleveland was working for a firm that made surge suppressors, something that caught the eye of Server Technology founder Carrel Ewing. After joining Server Technology, one of Cleveland’s early inventions was for a “remote sensor and method for detecting the on/off status of an auto controlled appliance.” To simplify things, the patent attorney nicknamed it a “tickle,” something that still gives Cleveland a chuckle to this day.
“Carrel wanted me to build him a small box that would use on/off technology over the telephone line,” he said. “It would detect the ring, then turn a computer on the other end on or off.”
Cleveland will tell you he’s seen a lot of change over the years.
“This company has grown continuously,” Cleveland said. “Even through 2008, when the bottom dropped out of the market, right through the recession, we’ve grown steadily.”
He pointed to Server Technology’s commitment to innovation as one of its recession-proof qualities.
“We started out with a simple microprocessor and now the technology is so much better,” he said. “Now we can measure input current and output current of each outlet and report on that remotely from anywhere on the Internet.”
These days, Cleveland takes pride in passing on his knowledge to a new generation of STI employees while still serving Server Technology’s customers. It’s what motivates him to come in to work every day, years after many of his contemporaries have retired.
“I’m excited every day,” he said. “I love to get up and come to work. Why would I retire when I do something I love to do every, single day?”