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Meet Michael Johnson of The Black Tank

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michael Johnson.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I started The Black Tank in my father’s basement after leaving a corporate LED lighting company due to my dissatisfaction with their product development process. I felt the corporate process hindered creativity. After a year in the basement, I officially publicly debuted the company at our first tradeshow in Vegas and launched a hit theatrical LED lighting product called the Brickblaster Pro.

Shortly after, I moved the company into an actual office space, where my father who is also an Electrical Engineer, came on board full time. We eventually struck a partnership with a large 100+ year old company called Rosco Labs. The partnership deal with Rosco allowed us to grow yet again, and we finally moved into our current headquarters in Haverhill in 2013. I now employ 5 young engineers, and I am able to work with my father every day.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The biggest challenge came before we struck a deal with our current sales partner (Rosco). My team of engineers was developing products around the clock, while also trying to sell those same products nights and weekends. It really took a toll on our team. Once we struck a deal with Rosco, who had an established sales network, things got much better. My team was able to do what we do best, invent new cool products, and our partners took care of the sales.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about The Black Tank – what should we know?
Founded in 2010, The Black Tank is a product development and engineering design company with the goal of releasing innovative, robust and useful products and solutions for the entertainment, theatrical and architectural markets. We collaborate with manufacturers, sales and marketing agencies and engineering firms to develop new products utilizing our proprietary technology or by innovating new solutions to market challenges.

Our experience spans a variety of markets allowing us to integrate a diverse set of skills and knowledge into the products we work on. We have years of experience developing products across a wide range of markets including – LED and DMX devices, pro-audio, bio-medical, DOD contracting, bio-metrics, along with a variety of others.

Our products are Made in the USA by highly skilled and dedicated technicians and engineers and are built to the most rigorous quality standards.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Creativity is the most important aspect of my team. I only work with engineers who have mastered the use of the creative part of the mind. This has allowed us to “leapfrog” our competitors with technological advances. We are extremely strong in the “thermal management” of high powered LEDs. Keeping LEDs cool creatively allows the lifetime to extend beyond 10 years.

We are also averse to designing what we call “me too products.” These would be a product that is a copy of another company’s product. We always try to innovate.

My education at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston helped strengthen the creative part of my brain.

I try my best to encourage creativity instead of squandering it like most large corporations.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Chris De Paepe

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