Daniel Gordon, Contributor at Large

A dream job is one thing.

The exact job, with the exact training and perfect timing, en route to the one country where you’ve always wanted to live? When Gary Cox saw the job description, it seemed almost too good to be true.

Gary had been a broadcast engineer in Sacramento, California for over a decade, designing and maintaining television broadcast systems for a major network TV station. Through the years, he became increasingly interested in the applications side of engineering. Outside of work, most of his hobbies centered on his lifelong interest in Japanese culture. He took night classes to learn Japanese, practiced martial arts, watched anime, and studied the indigenous Shinto faith.

Meanwhile, Mini-Circuits had opened a regional office in Japan and needed not only a talented engineer, but one who was willing to relocate there. Gary was familiar with Mini-Circuits from working with one of the news station’s audio solutions providers, a Mini-Circuits customer.

“It all converged both personally and professionally,” Gary said. “What are the chances?”

Gary completed the interview and onboarding process with Mini-Circuits remotely, officially joining the team in November 2020. His first relocation would be to Brooklyn, New York for a year of training at Mini-Circuits’ global headquarters. By Summer 2021, he was going into the Brooklyn office regularly.

In his first phase of training, Gary essentially learned Mini-Circuits’ entire product catalog. Each week, he’d research and compile a report on a different product line. The reports were primarily intended to equip him for his future role in Japan but became much more. The reports were so thorough and accurate that they caught the attention of executive leaders.

In addition to his slated applications training, Gary began working with Mini-Circuits’ marketing team to turn his reports into internal and external resources. He compiled them all into a 500-plus-page textbook for pipeline engineers to use for learning and development, and also released an e-book in Japan. When the e-book was translated, he cleaned up grammatical errors—in Japanese.

By July 2021, Gary’s training moved into the main event, applications engineering, which he likens to a puzzle. “The customer has complicated challenges and complex requirements, and we have to put the pieces together in a way that’s efficient, reliable and economical all at once,” he said. “It’s my favorite part of engineering.”

Now fully trained with his January 2022 relocation to Japan coming into focus, Gary is preparing to move to a place that feels more familiar than foreign. Mini-Circuits Japan is located in Yokohama, one town over from where one of his best friends lives in nearby Yokosuka.

From the landmarks and natural beauty to the food, fashion, entertainment and sense of social harmony, a surreal opportunity will soon become reality as Gary works alongside Regional Sales Director Thomas Joyce in Japan. Thomas, who joined Mini-Circuits in 2019, shares a similar story and sentiment of moving to Japan over 35 years ago.

“When I came to Japan from Ireland, I saw it as a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Thomas said. “I see that same enthusiasm in Gary and I’m looking forward to welcoming him here.”

In Japan, Gary will help manage relationships with Mini-Circuits’ regional customers, including some of the world’s largest telecommunications companies, as well as reps. Between the knowledge he has gained in training and his fluency in the Japanese language, he’ll be able to reduce communications from days to minutes working on Japan time. The journey is a big part of the excitement, but the greater purpose lies in the job.

“We’re not just testing or designing applications,” Gary said. “We’re solving problems, delivering solutions, and helping the world advance forward with what we’re capable of as human beings. That’s rewarding.”