In Memoriam: Charles “Andy” Jantzen 1954 – 2017
As co-founder and former CEO of Vision Research Inc., Andy’s contribution and dedication to high-speed imaging laid the foundation to where our industry is today. As a family-oriented man with integrity, conviction and a great sense of humor, he shaped our company to be one filled with friendship and a sense of community. The legacy that Andy Jantzen left us deserves to be recognized.
Vision Research began in 1992 when Andy and his siblings Art and Connie decided to build upon their father’s legacy at the Photographic Analysis Company in Wayne, NJ, not far from our current headquarters. Their vision was to modernize the established film-based industry by shifting it into the digital age, making high speed imaging accessible to more people. The first several years were spent working on sensor technology and the initial Phantom camera design with a small group of talented engineers, led by the late Mr. Alexandru Aciu (co-founder). In April of 1997 US patent # 5,625,412 was granted for their newly designed “high-frame rate image acquisition and motion analysis system.”
The founders and their dedicated team developed this work into the Phantom brand that we know today. Hardware, software and manufacturing were done in house, which enabled fast development and complete control over the products. Phantom digital cameras were determined to be useful for a number of motion analysis applications - with the key advantage over film-based systems as the ability to view the images immediately after capture.
While Andy was deeply involved in every part of the company, one of his great contributions as CEO was identifying the market for these early Phantom cameras, learning from potential customers and developing the Phantom sales channel. He built a strong network, first within the US and in the early 2000s expanded internationally through key distributors - many of which still represent our products today. His personal attention to customer needs and communication within the company guaranteed our success.
All of us who were fortunate to work with Andy will remember him as a great leader whose work ethic inspired teamwork and dedication. We were creating something truly unique and we were all in it together. One thing many will remember about Andy was that he was generous with his time – as the company grew both in products and in people, he always had time to offer help and direction when it came to a technical, professional or even a personal challenge. Having served Vision Research as CEO, CTO and Director of New Products, Andy officially retired in 2013, but many of the values that he instilled within the company remain to this day.
Formally, during Andy’s tenure Vision Research and Phantom cameras have been recognized for their contribution to the science, military, automotive, aerospace, industrial, medical and broadcast industries. In 2012 Andy Jantzen, along with three of our engineers were personally awarded with a Scientific and Engineering Academy Award® for their contribution to the motion picture industry. The acceptance speech has been archived by the Oscars® here (click to watch), which encapsulates an incredibly proud moment for all of us at Vision Research.
As news spread of Andy’s passing in September 2017, colleagues from around the world shared heartfelt messages about the immense respect they had for him and impressions that he left on both a professional and personal level. He created a company that encourages creativity and innovation and is the core reason all of us at Vision Research and our partners get to work with something we enjoy on a daily basis.
Much like his father before him as a pioneer in the high-speed film industry, so will Andy Jantzen be remembered in the imaging community as a pioneer of the high-speed digital camera industry. Those of us lucky enough to work with him will remember his brilliant character and wit. We will remember his ingenuity and generosity. These memories will inspire us to move onward, and as Phantom cameras continue to evolve Andy’s legacy will continue to touch the lives of people throughout the world every single day.
Top: Andy Jantzen with Vision Research Emmy, 2010
Middle: Andy, Alexandru Aciu, Peter Pop and Art Jantzen
Lower: Andy, Connie and Art Jantzen at the 84th Annual Sci-Tech Academy Award® ceremony