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Jesse from many points of view


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Job Description

I work at Flow Research, a company I founded in 1998.  Flow Research is a market research company dedicated to researching flow, pressure, and temperature products.  We look at existing products and evaluate them, along with the companies that make them.  We are also researching new methods of sensing and measuring flow, pressure, and temperature.  To do this, we use the flowlab, which is located onsite at Flow Research

Key responsibilities

As Research Director, I am in charge of selecting market research topics and writing custom and off-the-shelf studies.  My first study for Flow Research on temperature sensors and transmitters took a year to write.  I am also the liaison for Flow Research with Ducker Worldwide, the market research company we are partnering with.

Since writing the temperature study, I have completed a worldwide infrared study, and six worldwide flowmeter studies.  We are doing a study on each of the ten different flow technologies.  Having completed Coriolis, ultrasonic, magnetic, vortex, and DP flow, I am now working on turbine and positive displacement flowmeter studies.  I am also developing a new service called WorldFlow Monitoring Service.

Department or workgroup

Key divisions at Flow Research include:

  • Off-the-Shelf Studies

  • Custom Studies

  • Flowlab

  • Marketing

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Contact Information

E-mail address


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Current Projects

  • Marketing the flowmeter studies

  • Publishing Worldflow

  • Further developing circular geometry

  • Doing Pioneer of Instrumentation interviews

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Biographical Information

I was born in Grantsville, Maryland, a small Mennonite community near Cumberland, Maryland.  When I was five, I moved with my parents to Harrisonburg, Virginia.  I lived there till I was 18, attending grade school, then Eastern Mennonite High School (EMHS).  In high school, my favorite subjects were math, history, and journalism.  I was on the high school tennis and ping-pong teams.

After graduating from high school, I moved with my parents to Washington, DC.  Before starting college, I worked at 1730 K St. NW in Washington DC for AT&T as a mail clerk.  I left this job in 1968 to work fulltime in the McCarthy for President campaign.  I served as office manager of the national McCarthy for President campaign office at 815 17ths. St. NW in Washington, DC.

Beginning in 1969, I attended the University of Maryland.  While attending school I worked for two years as a research assistant to Senator Eugene McCarthy.  I graduated in 1973 with Honors in philosophy.  In college I spent most of my time studying philosophy, and took 62 out of 120 hours in philosophy course credits.  I also learned to play handball. 

After graduating from U. of Maryland, I attended Rockefeller University in New York City for two years.  I was in the philosophy PhD program.  There I studied with Donald Davidson, Saul Kripke, Joel Feinberg, and Harry Frankfurt.  I also attended courses at Princeton University.  I left after two years when the philosophy department was closed by the university.

After leaving Rockefeller University, I took some time off from graduate school.  I spent some time working for Maryland Action, a consumer organization in Maryland that promotes lower utility rates.  After that I attended Computer Learning Center in Springfield, Virginia.  I took a fulltime 6 ½ month computer programming course, learning Cobol, Fortran, Assembly, & RPG.

Beginning in 1978, I relocated to Massachusetts, where I transferred to the philosophy PhD program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  I spent six years at U. of Mass. Completing my PhD.  After 2 ½ years of course work, I moved to Boston to work fulltime.  I completed my dissertation in three years while working fulltime at Commercial Union Insurance Cos.  and Wang Labs.  I wrote my dissertation in philosophy of mind, proposing a new solution to the mind-body problem.  I received my PhD in 1984.

After receiving my PhD, I continued working at Wang Labs for another year.  In 1985 I left Wang Labs to teach technical writing in the English Department at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.  I also served as coordinator for the graduate level technical writing certificate program.

In 1986, I left Northeastern University to start my own company, Idea Network.  I started Idea Network as a copying and wordprocessing company.  This lasted about six months.  After six months, I began doing contract technical writing for Siemens Energy & Automation in Peabody, Mass.  I worked for Siemens for 3 ½ years, until they moved down to Alpharetta, Georgia.  During this time I wrote technical manuals and training guides for Siemens’ process control products, including their programmable logic controllers (PLCs).

Beginning in 1986, I taught philosophy at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.  I taught more than 20 philosophy courses there from 1986 – 1994, including Introduction to Philosophy, Philosophy of Science, Philosophy and Technology, and Logic.  During this time I served as coordinator of the technical writing certificate program at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.  I also taught in the graduate level technical writing certificate program.

During this time, I also approached the Society for Technical Communication (STC) and the University of Massachusetts Lowell to jointly sponsor a technical writing conference.  They agreed to do this, and we decided to call it the InterChange Conference, a name that Olga Lauterbach came up with.  The first InterChange Conference was held in 1989, and I served as coordinator.  This conference was a big success, and future conferences were even more successful than the first.  I continued to serve as coordinator through 1994, after which the conference continued on without me.  InterChange just celebrated its thirteenth year in October 2001.

Beginning in 1990, I became bored with technical writing and switched to market research.  Unfortunately, market research didn’t pay as at first, but I found it much more interesting and exciting.  I decided to build on my knowledge of process control, writing my first study on distributed control systems (DCSs).  I wrote this study for Market Intelligence Research Corp. of Mountain View, California.  I wrote three more studies for MIRC, including test equipment and process control.  After this, I wrote a study for Frost & Sullivan on nondestructive test equipment.  As part of this study I hand-tabulated 691 questionnaires received as part of an enduser survey.  I concluded this study about the time that MIRC bought Frost & Sullivan, retaining the Frost & Sullivan name but not the methodology.  Unfortunately, MIRC did not retain the Frost & Sullivan analysts.

After leaving Frost & Sullivan, I approached Find/SVP about doing a series of studies in process control.  They agreed to do this.  My initial study was called The World Process Control Market, and was published in 1994.  After this, I wrote a study of the world flowmeter market, the World Intelligent Field Device market, and the World Controllers market.  The worldwide flowmeter study was the best and most successful of these four studies, and included an extensive enduser survey.   After publishing the flowmeter study, my wife Vicki and I moved to Erwinna, Pennsylvania to be closer to New York City, where Find/SVP is located.  I continued working for Find/SVP until 1996.

In 1996, I moved back to the Boston, Massachusetts area and began working for Automation Research Corp.  I was hired in 1996 as a senior analyst in flowmeters and other field devices.  While at ARC, I wrote a series of studies, including European Pressure Transmitters, Worldwide Vortex, Worldwide Ultrasonic, and Worldwide Pressure.  I also did a series of custom studies in gas flow measurement and published a number of journal articles in flow and related topics. 

I enjoyed working at ARC, and especially like the opportunity to discuss my ideas and study topics with other analysts.  I also found the ARC methodology to be the most rigorous I had encountered up to this point.  I gained a new respect for the practice of serious market research.  In addition to this, I made some very close friends at ARC.  I left ARC in 1998 when it became clear that the company was moving in a different direction.  I wanted to do more and longer off-the-shelf studies in field devices, including enduser surveys.  Instead, the company was moving more towards covering software and away from an emphasis on off-the-shelf studies. 

After leaving ARC, I approached a number of companies with the idea of supporting a series of studies in process control and instrumentation.  I found a receptive audience in Ducker Worldwide of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.  After five months of discussion and negotiation, Ducker agreed to support a series of off-the-shelf studies in flow and temperature topics.  At this point, I formed a new business called Flow Research.  I decided on Flow Research rather than Idea Network because it is more focused on what I really do.  I found an office in Wakefield, Massachusetts and opened up on February 10, 1999.

The first project for Ducker Worldwide was a temperature transmitter study.  After about a month, I decided to expand this to include temperature sensors and make it a double study.  This required a great deal of additional work.  While there are only a few dozen temperature transmitter companies, there are hundreds of temperature sensor companies.  Research continued through December 1999, requiring over 250 supplier interviews.  Ducker also did an extensive enduser survey.  In the end, I wrote a 640-page study.

With the temperature study complete, the next project was a worldwide infrared study.  I finished this project in November 2000.  This study included both infrared thermometers and thermal imagers.  With this project complete, I began to focus entirely on flowmeter studies.

Earlier in 2000, I took several trips around the country, visiting a large number of flowmeter suppliers.  I found that a number of people were interested in understanding why users are selecting one type of flowmeter over another.  I decided to do a study that would compare different flow technologies, to gain a better understanding of this question.  As part of this research, we would also do an enduser survey.

I did one worldwide flowmeter study in 1994, and found it quite challenging to cover all these technologies in one study.  So I decided to divide the technologies into two groups.  One group, called the “New Technology” flowmeters, are the newer flowmeters that have high accuracy and few moving parts.  These include Coriolis, ultrasonic, magnetic, vortex, and multivariable differential pressure (DP) flowmeters.  The second group, called the “Traditional Technology” flowmeters, have moving parts and/or higher maintenance requirements, and are not as accurate as “New Technology” flowmeters. These include positive displacement, turbine, open channel, thermal, and variable area meters.

After a number of months of research, I realized that it would not be practical to include five technologies in one study.  As a result, I decided to do one study on each technology.  Even so, these studies are between 400 and 600 pages long, so I’m very glad that I didn’t decide to put them all together in a single study.

Watching the business grow has been very exciting.   I now have three people working at Flow Research.  Owning a business certainly has its frustrations, but it can also be very rewarding.  Our business is growing, and we have been very successful in using the Internet as a means to let people know about our company and products.

I have recently reorganized Flow Research to be a subsidiary of Idea Network, the market research and publishing company I started in 1986.  I still love the name “Idea Network”, and feel that it effectively conveys the idea of a group of people who are linked together by common interests.  My idea is to create a group of mini-networks focused around a specific topic, like flow, pressure, temperature, etc., and then to link these mini-networks together into a larger “Idea Network.” To implement this idea, I have created a total of twelve websites, including www.pressureresearch.com, www.temperatureresearch.com, etc. I have also created several philosophy websites, including www.viewpointpluralism.com and www.duonyms.com.

After trying for several years to find someone to help me build the flowlab, I decided I would just have to hire someone to set it up.  So I asked Tim Whitman to design the flowlab, and put it together.  Tim did a great job of putting the flowlab together, using PVC pipe.  We achieved flow for the first time on November 8, 2001.  Our first series of tests will be on primary elements.  I am planning to run tests to compare the performance of different kinds of primary elements.  I am also hoping to find a new way to measure flow.

When I got my PhD in 1984, I found that philosophy teaching jobs were very scarce.  So I decided to go into business in hopes that I could earn enough money to promote and publish my philosophy of viewpoint pluralism.  This is finally beginning to happen after fifteen years, and I have been able to publish my book Shades of Experience online at www.ideanetwork.net.  I am very excited about the ideas in this book, especially viewpoint pluralism and self-expression. I am also trying to integrate these concepts into my life.

I spent ten years doing technical writing, and now have spent eleven years doing market research.  I got bored with technical writing, while I find that market research is very exciting.  I think it’s the adventure of finding and comparing different markets, and also the challenge of finding out information that is a well-guarded secret at many companies.  I have really enjoyed creating an “idea network” of contacts and friends that I have stayed in touch with for many years.  Being able to do this is one of the rewards of finding an area to write about and sticking with it.

I think I am entering a new phase of my life: a phase of integration.  Having spent many years developing my philosophical ideas in parallel to my business development, I am now trying to integrate the two together.  I am also trying to move beyond pure market research into a new phase of discovery. This new phase involves doing technical research, mainly in flow.  I hope that I can make some new discoveries in flow.  In particular, I would like to discover a new way to measure flow. 

I admit that my life is somewhat more balanced towards work than anything else.  Sadly, my marriage ended several years ago.  However, I have decided to use this time to create the business I have always wanted.  While marriage has its advantages, I feel that at times it is overrated as an institution.  For now, I am enjoying the advantages of being single again.

In January 2002, Belinda Burum joined the company. This had a major impact on me, as we've been friends for many years. She brought a lot of experience in research and writing with her. Over the past year, we've worked together to build up the company.

In the summer of 2002, my main focus was on completing the positive displacement and turbine flowmeter studies. These were published in September 2002. They have done fairly well, although I find that the suppliers of traditional flowmeters are not used to having market research done about their products, and don't quite know what to make of it.

After completing the positive displacement and turbine studies, I completed the research for Volume X, The World Market for Flowmeters. This study was published in February 2003.  It is a truly amazing study, because it includes all ten flow technologies. This is the first time since 1994 that I've been able to do a single volume on the entire flowmeter market. At the same time, we were able to publish updated versions of Volumes I - V, which we published originally in 2001.

In Spring 2003, I began to take racquetball a lot more seriously. I've started a racquetball website, called www.maracquetball.com. The idea is to have a site that is a resource for people in Massachusetts and elsewhere who play racquetball. I am hoping that this will also put me in touch with more players and clubs in the state, and elsewhere.

It was about a year ago that I moved into my new phase of integration. Unfortunately, I have been so focused on work for the past year that I haven't been able to build very much on this concept. I'm hoping now that I will be able to start focusing more on personal integration, and build on some of the concepts and ideas that I developed about a year ago. (June 1 2003).

Personal Interests

Circular geometry

Philosophy of mind




CNBC, especially Squawk Box


New York Yankees & Washington Redskins

Jennifer Anniston

Celebrity Hairstyles

Thanks for taking the time to read through my bio. (Sounds boring!)

Lately I’ve been trying to integrate the different parts of my life together.  I feel that my life is segmented into too many different compartments.   If I could somehow connect these compartments, I would feel a lot better.

I wrote something that tries to do that.  It’s called Sink or Swim.  To read it, click here.  Sink or Swim: Reflections in the Sun.

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Last revised: June 1, 2003

To read about my life from a different point of view, click here.  Sink or Swim: Reflections in the Sun.

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Flow Research, Inc.
27 Water Street
Wakefield, MA 01880
781-224-7552 (fax)

email: jesse@flowresearch.com


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