Daniel Gordon, Contributor at Large
From Google to Facebook, Microsoft to Motorola, Intel to IBM and countless others, the world’s most recognized technology companies have research and development headquarters in Israel. Meanwhile, the country’s global leadership as a startup nation makes it “an entrepreneurial powerhouse and a hotbed for pioneering technologies, profitable business opportunities, and high investment returns,” Deloitte says.
On the technology sector’s biggest and brightest stage, the Mini-Circuits Israel (MCIL) office sets the standard for quality and innovation in the design of RF and microwave components. The stability today stems from a foundation laid decades ago, when a man named Rafi Stolz started Ravon Electronics with Mini-Circuits Founder Harvey Kaylie in 1977.
When Stolz told Kaylie of his wishes to move back to Israel from New York, Kaylie saw it as an opportunity to enter the market in Israel. “While Mini-Circuits was created in Harvey’s image, Ravon was created in Rafi’s image,” said Urie Goldblatt, whom Rafi hired as an assistant at Ravon in 1999. “Even from afar, Harvey and Rafi worked very closely together on a daily basis. I think there was a healthy competition between them for ingenuity and business growth.”
Front entrance to Mini-Circuits Israel
As Mini-Circuits’ first subsidiary overseas and an early player in Israel’s technology acceleration, Ravon Electronics saw immense success. The office in Kiryat Bialik, north of Tel Aviv on the Mediterranean coast, became what Goldblatt described as a Center of Excellence for many Mini-Circuits product lines, including VCOs, synthesizers, couplers, mixers, amplifiers and portable test equipment.
“You can always do better and more,” Goldblatt said. “That was the philosophy Rafi imparted throughout the company. He even liked customer audits because he saw them as opportunities to improve.”
When Stolz died unexpectedly in 2014, the entire Mini-Circuits family was in shock. In Israel, the team found solidarity in Stolz’s memory. Mordi Volt, whom Stolz had hired in 1989, was promoted to Deputy General Manager. Volt had worked his way up from maintenance to operations to project management when he took it upon himself to pick up additional responsibilities after Stolz’s passing. In 2018, Harvey Kaylie died, leaving the company with a heavy heart but strong spirit.
“Rafi would say, ‘When I teach you something, it enters your head, and then it goes with you wherever you go,’” Volt recalled. “And Harvey simply demanded excellence. The company’s continuous mindset comes from them. We’re always working, pushing and striving.”
Goldblatt added, “Rafi said what he meant and meant what he said. Like Harvey, Rafi was admired by all of us who worked with him, and for many, he was their first employer. He was proud, yet humble; fierce, yet approachable.”
In 2020, Ravon Electronics became Mini-Circuits Israel (MCIL). In 2021, MCIL received its AS9100D certification, aligning with Mini-Circuits’ Brooklyn headquarters in compliance with the demanding quality standard for the aerospace and defense industries. Internally and externally, the Israel-New York connection at Mini-Circuits is seamless.
“Being part of a higher goal is what drives us, as individuals, as members of the company and as contributors to Israel’s economy.” Goldblatt said.
Volt summed up the connection between culture and business at MCIL: “Harvey built the company based on his values. The quality of our products is the result of those values.”