In celebration of the Commodore 64’s 38th anniversary, a tale needs to be told about a Rajant prodigy who also happens to be a Commodore superstar.
Sitting quietly in front of two large monitors behind the closed door of office number 207 is Dave Haynie. Dressed inconspicuously in a tee-shirt and pair of jeans, most know Haynie as a laid-back senior hardware engineer in Rajant Corporation’s Malvern, Pennsylvania office who plays guitar and enjoys snapping photos with one of his digital SLR cameras.
But before Haynie became part of the Rajant team in 2012, he had vast experience designing hardware for personal computers, media appliances, radios, and controllers for remote-control (RC) cars and small robotics for the U.S. military. One of his most critical military applications was a small RC robot that was used for hunting IEDs and deploying bombs ahead of foot patrols. More than 3,000 of these bots were sent to U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq, saving the lives of countless American troops.
Haynie would have the opportunity to use this expertise again to save even more American service members’ lives with the Rajant LX4-SAB BreadCrumb®, a secure network node that contains four of Haynie’s circuit boards. The military-grade radio is used to rapidly deploy a resilient mesh network and supply high-bandwidth to support Secret and Below (SAB) applications in remote and extreme outdoor environments. His knowledge and skillset have allowed Rajant to produce custom circuit boards in-house for some of their most valuable customers while minimizing expenses and expanding opportunities.
“Our core technology is a result of Dave Haynie, and everything we build has his fingerprints on it,” was proudly stated by Rajant CEO Robert Schena. “It’s hard to overstate how important he has been to the company. He is brilliant! He took us to another level as a company with his talent and capabilities.”
While Haynie has primarily worked on building custom radios for specific markets, he is now designing a mainstream product for Rajant. Passionate about the journey of this project, his goal is always to make the best possible product for the rest of the team to succeed.
“I have to make sure we have a good foundation so that we can build up from there and not be limited by the product itself,” Haynie said.
When asked where he is most excited to see the company branch out, he says, “I love the idea of us getting into artificial intelligence, finding new applications, and making our systems more flexible so we can make our technology more useful to users.”
Claim to Fame
Unbeknownst to many Rajant colleagues and customers, Haynie has risen to superstardom across the globe as a Commodore legend with a devoted international following.
Founded in 1954 and dissolved in 1994, Commodore International was at one-time one of the world’s largest personal computer manufacturers that soared to fame by developing and marketing the world’s best-selling desktop computer, the Commodore 64, and later its Amiga computer product line. With an estimated 10 to 17 million units sold during its lifespan, the Commodore 64 holds the Guinness World Record as the highest-selling single computer model of all time.
Haynie acquired his rock star status when Chief Engineer at Commodore’s headquarters in West Chester, Pennsylvania—just a stone throw away from Rajant’s Malvern office. For over 11 years, he was a leading engineer behind the C128—another Commodore home computer that was the upgrade to the once very popular 64. Once acquired by Commodore, Haynie also worked on the Amiga, a line known for its unique ability to multitask, stereo sound, and tools for multimedia production. He was the primary engineer working on the A2000 and, with his team, created the A3000.
At the time, the Amigas were primarily sold in the U.S. to the film industry and used to create computer-generated imagery (CGI) graphics for films such as City Slickers, Fantastic Four, Jurassic Park, Star Trek VI, and Babylon 5. In Europe, Commodore computers remained more wildly popular among consumers—especially during the 80s and 90s—leading to the creation of a large fan base of brand loyalists who still exist to this day.
What seemed like overnight, Haynie’s authority and popularity as one of the Commodore legends skyrocketed locally and internationally. He became widely respected and praised on the Commodore online community for his insider articles and blogs on the Commodore technology and his experiences as employee and engineer and for countless interviews. When Commodore went bankrupt, Haynie worked on bringing the Commodore back to life while directing and releasing documentaries about the Commodore technology. With this, his popularity and following soared even more.
While Commodore was unable to make a successful comeback, a niche audience of deeply devoted fans continues to use their Commodore or Amiga computer. Still passionate about their favorite brand and community, overseas followers still host conventions and festivals to keep the fan base alive and connected. Haynie remains a regularly invited guest speaker in countries around the globe—including Italy, Germany, France, Amsterdam, Ireland, United Kingdom, Asia and more. It is during these fan mania times that Haynie is treated like an A-list celebrity with his travel expenses comped and a never-ending line of starstruck fans seeking him out for a selfie and autograph. Google “Dave Haynie Commodore” and discover over 385,000 results about his fascinating life in countless articles, video interviews, and online databases.
When Haynie leaves the Commodore hoopla behind and jets back to the States, he plugs back into his Rajant mindset. His thoughts and ideas are about Rajant and how to make great products even greater. A legend in his own time, Haynie is truly one of the great finds working at Rajant. With great engineers like Haynie behind the scenes at Rajant—including Andy Finkel and Fred Bowen who also worked at Commodore and are legends in their own right—the possibilities are endless for where Rajant will go next. 🖉