While the entire site is impressive, its centerpiece is undoubtedly the demonstration area known as the Fieldwork Theater building. Designed to provide maximum value for any customer wanting to see Topcon heavy equipment-based solutions at work, the theater impresses right out of the gate.
“The theater features a retractable wall which, when opened to the demonstration area, literally brings the outside in,” said Dice. “Projected on huge monitors in the seating area, Sitelink3D, allows customers to see the control box in the cab as the machine works in front of them. Being able to communicate directly with the operator, they can describe exactly what they’d like done using the solution, then immediately see it happen. We always envisioned this as a powerful tool to have — we could not have been more right.”
The Social Network
The final component to the new site is geared more for what happens after the training sessions, demonstrations and hands-on work are completed. And while, at first glance, it might seem less important than those tasks, Dice would beg to differ.
“Our business, more than selling solutions, is about building relationships,” he said. “We are continually asking ourselves what we can do to establish — and maintain — a solid relationship with our customers. So the social aspects of the training center, the after-class areas, if you will, were a very important element. As a result, we have a large, comfortable patio area, a barbecue pit, a well-stocked break room, all the amenities needed for a more open, informal, relaxed environment. At the end of a day of training, the opportunity to sit down, have a beer and a meal and just talk about anything from backsighting to baseball can prove almost as valuable as the classes themselves.”
Anyone who has received hands-on training at the California headquarters, in all likelihood received it from Dice. He was a member of Advanced Grade Technology, the company Topcon acquired in the mid-‘90s, and since then has played an integral role in ensuring that thousands of dealers and customers alike understand and appreciate all the benefits technology can provide. Perhaps Jamie Williamson, executive vice president, summed it up best: “For his entire career, JD has not only been a tireless, professional ambassador to the world for Topcon and machine control, he’s also been a shining example of the goodness that can come from mankind.”
And, as anyone who knows John Dice will attest, he is perhaps the humblest person one could meet, so the subject of the center being named in his honor is not readily brought up or easily discussed.
“I am still floored by the fact that this site bears my name,” he said. “It was the biggest surprise of my life, for sure. I genuinely feel that I am only doing my job here at Topcon and don’t think someone should be honored for that. But, nevertheless, I am extremely grateful for the honor and am reminded of how lucky I am every time I look up at the entrance and see that name.”
If the walls could indeed talk, those in “The House That John Built” will long be ringing out with impressive tales of machine control development and the key role John’s played in it.