The company began in 1970 as Digital Marine Electronics Corporation (DMEC), with only a few hundred dollars and a handful of energetic engineers housed in the Civil Air Terminal at Hanscom Field Air Force Base in Bedford, Massachusetts. Its founder, Charles Malaquias, whose father was a Provincetown, Massachusetts, commercial fisherman, had sought to make his father’s life easier. From this quest came the introduction of the world’s first microprocessor-based, automatic Loran-A navigator for commercial fishermen: the Northstar 2000. Following the Northstar 2000 was the Northstar 6000, the world’s first reliable, automatic Loran-C navigator, and the company was firmly established in the design and production of marine navigators.
In those early days, the company was entirely product-driven, a focus that actually meant customer-driven, since DMEC was trying to solve real problems for real people. During the 1980s, Northstar navigators evolved to include the Northstar 7000 for recreational boating, especially high-end sport-fishing boats. The 7000 quickly evolved into the Northstar 800, a navigator that was more compact, lower cost and added many new features. This product was exactly what the recreational boaters and commercial fishermen needed.
This product shift was amply supported by growing numbers of mariners who wanted to "own a Northstar." (The company’s name was changed to Northstar Technologies in 1988 to reflect this customer trend.) Such an intense focus on the customer’s needs fueled navigator sales, and as sales increased, the need for new products, more employees, and a larger facility became apparent. Today, Northstar is headquartered in Acton, Massachusetts, a small town west of Boston. Its entire line of diverse navigational products, including marine, avionics, and other land-based positioning equipment, is designed, manufactured, and sold from this location. Several of its original engineers are still with the company, and to this day, that original Northstar philosophy is alive and well.