THE FOUNDER AND CEO OF ULTRAMATION, WILLIAM SANDLIN
Annapolis graduate and navy fighter pilot, William Sandlin’s long life is filled with numerous accomplishments and myriad interests. These led to the founding of Ultramation in 1968 and its success for almost a half century.
His engineering degree from the Naval Academy prepared him well for his first job in civilian life, as chief engineer at Russell Corporation, in his home town of Alexander City, Alabama. By the 1950s there were already thoughts of textile and apparel manufacturing migrating out of the U.S., to countries where labor was less expensive. Sandlin saw the solution being automation of the manufacturing process to save time and labor. At the time, the apparel and textile business did not embrace that solution.
In 1959, there was a dramatic change in the career of the young engineer with a move to one of the most technically advanced companies in the world. Texas Instruments in Dallas offered Sandlin a position as an engineering specialist. He was responsible for the advertising and sales of newly developed semiconductor circuits, manufactured in their experimental labs. It was here, as he puts it, that he got his “post graduate degree” in advanced technology. Under the tutelage of men like Nobel Prize winning scientist Jack Kilby, Sandlin recognized how vast changes in technology could be applied to all phases of manufacturing.
After five years at Texas Instruments, Sandlin was offered a position with a large apparel manufacturer in Waco, Texas. As engineer with Genesco, there was again the prospect of fulfilling his goal to introduce automation into the apparel and textile industry. Again, outsourcing won over automation and the company chose to move their operations out of the country.
In 1968, Sandlin felt confident that he had the experience, creativity and ability to open his own company. The primary goal was to automate manufacturing processes which ultimately would keep jobs in the USA. Fifteen patents and almost a half century of Ultramation’s successful operation, proves that he made a wise decision.
Driving force Leadership Team
William C. Sandlin
Founder and CEO of Ultramation
Manager, Systems & Customer Support