White’s shows off new products to Breakfast Club crowd

Scott Swanson

Of The New Era

Things have been happening fast at White’s Electronics over the past couple of years, and it’s partly because of the work ethic of local employees, company personnel told participants in the monthly Breakfast Club sponsored by the Sweet Home Economic Development Group Thursday morning at the Community Center.

The company, which recently branched into the area of security electronics, is rapidly moving beyond simple metal detectors into more sophisticated equipment to help increase security at airports and other public places, said Tom Scrivner, manager of the company’s Electronics Security Division.

Scrivner, who joined White’s last year after starting a security metal detector manufacturing firm in Texas, and Jimmy Jewell, the Security Division’s senior executive, demonstrated some samples of the new handheld detectors White’s is manufacturing, which, Jewell said, are the best on the market.

They also showed a sample of the company’s new Matrix 8000 security walk-through metal detector, which, they said is the most sophisticated available. Among the features it will offer are eight horizontal detection levels that will indicate to an operator at what level and on which side of a person’s body metal is being detected. Scrivner said White’s is also working with another firm to develop a walk-through detector that will also detect vapors.

“The government is going to replace every metal detector in every airport in the next two years,” Scrivner said. “We’ve positioned ourselves to do that.

“We didn’t want to manufacture a good metal detector,” he said. “We wanted to manufacture a great metal detector. Good is the enemy of great.”

He said the company is also developing detectors for use in nightclubs (which will include an ultraviolet light for checking driver’s licenses) and for police officers (which will be sensitive enough to detect a hypodermic needle).

Other products White’s is developing are:

– A new office zone detector that can be used by prison officials to check prisoners’ hidden cavities for metal contraband. A similar detector may be developed to check hogs for hypodermic needles before they are butchered. Scrivner said White’s has been contacted by a sausage maker that has had problems with pieces of needles getting into meat after they’ve broken off while hogs are being given supplements and vaccinations.

– Technology to prevent shoplifting by detecting when foil-lined bags are brought into stores. Scrivner said the bags can block signals intended to set off anti-shoplifting sensors. White’s machines will detect such bags, take a photo of the person carrying such a bag, and transmit it to security officers’ cellphones, so they can track the activities of a suspected shoplifter.

– Parking meters that will sense when a car leaves a parking space.

“Think how many billions of dollars of revenue is lost on unexpired parking meters,” Scrivner said, noting how drivers often dodge into a newly opened space to take advantage of time left on a meter.

Scrivener praised the quality of White’s work force, who, he said have a “farm work ethic” of the type coveted by many large corporations.

He said many people in Sweet Home know how to work hard and don’t expect perqs and benefits that employees in other communities consider non-negotiable.

“Our people work hard,” he said. “They want to be part of something that’s great, not good. They all believe in it, from the lowest to the top.”