Eric Jacobsen, founder and CEO of Anchor Hill Communications

Eric Jacobsen is currently CEO/CTO of Anchor Hill Communications. Since 1985, Mr. Jacobsen has developed and implemented a variety of signal-processing applications while working as a researcher and engineer in the communication industry. A past member of the IEEE 802.11 and 802.16 Working Groups, he helped develop standards for OFDM systems and advanced Forward Error Correction for WiFi and WiMax. During this time he chaired the ad-hoc committees that defined the LDPC advanced FEC features in both IEEE 802.11 and 802.16. Mr. Jacobsen has held engineering and research positions at Abineau Communications (where he was a co-founder and VP of Engineering), Intel's Radio Communications Laboratory, California Microwave/EF Data, Honeywell, and Goodyear Aerospace.

During his tenure at Intel, Mr. Jacobsen frequently consulted to Intel Capital, Intel's venture-funding arm, performing technical due diligence on numerous companies in the wireless communications industry and was a member of Intel's patent committee covering wireless technology. He has been granted
31 patents and earned both his BSEE and MSEE from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

* Publications
* Eric's LinkedIn profile
* Eric's technical blog on DSP Related

The Story Behind Our Logo

Picking a name for a company isn't trivial these days. When starting Anchor Hill I couldn't even use something straightforward like "Jacobsen Engineering" or "Jacobsen Communications" because both names, and associated web sites, were already in use. Not wanting any possibility of confusion while maintaining some relevance and uniqueness, my possibilities included geographic site names, which are generally free of copyright issues. If I could include some historic, or better yet, family-historic relevance, that would be even better. My great-grandfather had owned and run a gold mine in the Black Hills of South Dakota where I grew up, and my grandparents had even first met there when my grandfather was working at the mine and my grandmother was cooking at the mine's boarding house. The name of that endeavor was the Anchor Mountain Mining Company.

Since I'm not in the mining business I looked into Anchor Mountain Communications, but, alas, that was also already in use and, more importantly, so was the web site name. My great-grandfather had actually taken a little bit of license in naming the gold mine, since the geographic site where it was located was really named Anchor Hill rather than Anchor Mountain. Anchor Mountain does sound better when you're trying to promote a mining operation, so I can understand the thought behind that. As it turned out, Anchor Hill and the pertinent derivatives, like Anchor Hill Communications, did not appear to be in use by anyone else and the website name was available. This also met some of my other criteria, which included being easy to pronounce and spell if heard, starting with 'A' to be near the top of alphabetic listings, and being something of an introductory conversation ice breaker. An easily expected question like, "Where did your company name come from?", starts a nice conversation about interesting family history that will likely resonate with most people more than a story about some made-up combination of syllables. Hence our name, Anchor Hill Communications.

After settling on a name a next step is sorting out a logo. Ideally I wanted to incorporate something to do with the historical aspects of the name while still conveying that we're primarily a wireless communications engineering company. Aside from the mine, Anchor Hill had a unique fire lookout at the peak which was a tall timber-frame lookout platform built around a live pine tree. I used to take friends up there as a teenager because it was a fun four-wheel drive trip, the views were good, it was the sort of thing you wouldn't see anywhere else, and it seemed like hardly anybody knew it was there. If I could sort out how to incorporate that, it might make a cool logo, although tying in the communications part might be a stretch. Being able to communicate from the lookout to the fire services was critical, and "putting out fires" is what most engineers do, anyway, so that might be workable. Unfortunately, what was left of the lookout burned during the Grizzly Fire in 2002, and I could only locate a few photographs of it. We did manage to turn up an old, grainy scan of the photo shown of the lookout below, but nothing I could find seemed very usable as the basis of a logo.

The Anchor Hill fire lookout, circa 1982 or thereabouts.

Another candidate photo was a shot of the main hoist at the Anchor Mountain mine while it was being built. A workman stood proudly for the photo on top of the hoist and the flat top of the hoist suggested that I could edit a structure on top that would serve as an antenna or something like that. In any case, it looked a bit more workable than the fire lookout. I noticed that the structure of the hoist included the outlines of the letters A and H, so my in-house art and design consultant, Olena Kalayda, sketched up some ideas and I used those as the basis for the photo editing that ultimately turned into the logo. We fully expect this to evolve as the initial version of the logo is just too busy to be generally useful for everything that we'll need it for, but we think it provides some fun and interesting conversation potential. What more can you ask from a logo?

Above is the photo that served as the basis for the logo. This was probably taken in the late 1910's or early 1920's. The photo is marked with the name "Chas Felldhausen" although it is unclear whether that is the name of the workman in the photo or the photographer. The FamilyTreeMaker site does indicate that a Charles Feldhausen died in Deadwood, South Dakota, not far from Anchor Hill, at the age of 90 in 1966. That would have put him around his 40s when the photo was taken, which is very plausible.

My brother, Jeff, pulled together a bunch of research on the Anchor Mountain Mining Company and our great-grandfather, Thomas Houlette, here.

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