John Fisher

Alumni-J.Fisher

John Fisher, Automotive Technology, Class of 1981

John Fisher is the founder and owner of Unidec, an international electronics repair company specializing troubleshooting of high-speed automation equipment and development of software applications for manufacturing systems.

He continued his education earning an 18 month certification as an electronics technician through RETS College of Technology.   He landed his first “real” job was with Ford Motor Company as a technician working in electronics. “I know that if it wasn’t for my experience with the technical high school, I would not have landed that job. I was only 19, and must have been the youngest person they ever hired!” Most of the guys working with him were in their late 20s. In the interview they asked many details about automotive control systems, electronics and how they worked. He was confident, “I could speak to any control system on a car.”

One of the benefits Ford offered was tuition reimbursement.  He began night classes in Electrical and Computer Engineering, first through Delaware County Community College, then over time earned his bachelor’s degree through Villanova. “While at Ford, I came to realize that a lot of electronic systems in the factory needed repairing, and there wasn’t anyone available to do it – either internally or even vendors. These opportunities lead to the start of my own business.” In 1989, he started my own company Unidec, first as a hobby. It quickly grew to a full-time business with major corporate clients including Hewlett Packard, IBM, Allen Bradley. Unidec now has 700 clients and 300 different types of products with representatives in Western Europe, India, Malaysia, and Singapore. While, it took longer and was a lot of work, earning a degree, working full time running a growing business. But he continued to thrive on the experience of theoretical learning applied to real work.

“The mindset among parents and educators that define success as having students go straight from high school to a 4-year college is the biggest misnomer. I had a business before I had a degree. Many students need an alternate path,” he added. The fact that he started a business so young contributed to his acceptance and further success achieving his master’s degree in Management of Technology from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. It is a very prestigious school, requiring a technological bachelor’s and five years of experience in the field.  “Success had a lot to do with focusing on what I wanted to do and working hard. It is also important to see opportunities within your surroundings that help you learn more and grow. I love learning. I loved technical education because you continually get the chance to apply classroom learning in a real-world setting.”

John serves on the advisory board of Drexel’s Goodwin College and Delaware County Community College’s Applied Engineering Technology program.