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Alex Parker: Switching Gears

Alex Parker is not tapping the brakes anytime soon when it comes to technological innovation.

Parker, president of Redline Detection, helped shift the company from developing automotive diagnostic equipment solely for internal combustion engines, toward building the software equivalent for electric vehicles (EVs) during the pandemic.

The new segment now makes up around 40% of the 15-year business and continues to grow, including opportunities outside the automotive field.

“We are in one of the greatest technology renaissance periods of our lifetime,” Parker told the Business Journal.

Redline, which designs and manufactures battery and coolant leak protection equipment and other tools to sell to automakers and dealerships in 160 countries, has become a recognized leader in the manufacturing space, according to Parker.

With the rise of electrification, Parker chose to invest in e-mobility battery diagnostics, establishing a business unit dedicated to the sector and adding a second building at its headquarters in Orange for EV diagnostics, effectively doubling its OC footprint and reaching around 80 employees.

“This kind of pivot is not for the faint of heart,” she said.

Parker was one of five honored at the Business Journal’s Innovator of the Year Awards at the Irvine Marriott on Sept. 7.

Tipping Point

Parker has been one of Redline’s owners since its founding in 2008. It started with only a couple of engineers and their patents before expanding into a full-scale manufacturing company, according to Parker.

She worked as chief marketing officer and executive vice president until 2022 before becoming president.

Throughout that time, Parker helped the company expand its distribution channels across North America, and ultimately, internationally. Redline has added over 40 global partners in the last 15 years including Kia, Hyundai, Tesla and Rivian.

During the pandemic, the company was designated an essential business and remained open for its clients.

In focusing on electric battery diagnostics, the company turned from analog to software-based programs for its leak-testing equipment. When an automaker releases a new model of vehicle, Redline creates software to match the new battery configuration.

“The COVID-era upended a lot of assumptions on how we do business,” Parker said. The EV shift “was a response to where the industry was going.”

The manufacturer’s work with international partners also offered insight into adopting EV technology in the U.S., which was happening more swiftly in other countries, Parker noted.

“The world works on internal combustion but is reaching this tipping point with e-mobility being adopted and we want to be in front of this,” she said.

Redline reported 2022 revenue of $15 million.

Incubator

Parker also works to invest in future entrepreneurs; she has mentored over 100 students during her career through an internship program she started at Redline in 2009.

Last summer, the company hosted 14 paid interns for eight to 12 weeks from schools such as University of California, Irvine and California State University, Fullerton.

She pointed to the benefit of having a hiring pipeline because of the program.

“They have this boundless thinking, they innovate quickly and they’re willing to fail fast then move on to the next iteration,” Parker said. “Our team is at our best when the interns are in the building.”

Parker serves on the Deans Leadership Board at UCI’s engineering school and sits on the board of The Petersen Automotive Museum’s incubator program to help women in the automotive business. The latter is funded by Rolex and Porsche.

“Manufacturing is a wonderful career option for women, who tend to excel at holding sometimes disparate ideas at the same time—and that’s exactly what manufacturing is,” she said.

Parker has also been a judge on The History Channel’s “LaunchPad” television program to support early stage entrepreneurs.

Driving Beyond

Redline’s Orange headquarters facility brings together engineering, design and manufacturing units, allowing for agility, Parker notes.

“We went from being an analog manufacturer of hard tools to engineering globally adopted, software-driven battery diagnostic technology for e-mobility,” Parker said.

She noted that the shift will continue within the industry for a long time.

“I want to remain in a high-growth area—it’s a transition that will last over the next two decades,” she added.

As electrification takes over, Parker expects Redline to grow as well. There are at least seven new products in the current pipeline that will address the challenges of servicing and repairing EVs safely.

“Automotive is a really ripe space for innovation,” Parker said.

Parker isn’t stopping at the auto industry, hinting at developing patents that will extend into other industries.

“You will soon see Redline moving into other segments,” Parker said.

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Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung joined the Orange County Business Journal in 2021 as their Marketing Creative Director. In her role she creates all visual content as it relates to the marketing needs for the sales and events teams. Her responsibilities include the creation of marketing materials for six annual corporate events, weekly print advertisements, sales flyers in correspondence to the editorial calendar, social media graphics, PowerPoint presentation decks, e-blasts, and maintains the online presence for Orange County Business Journal’s corporate events.
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