Q: James, Can you please tell us a bit about yourself personally and professionally.
I began my career at Hughes Aircraft specializing in intelligence and international programs, after which I moved to Parker Hannifin Corporation where I held various senior line/operating positions in the development and production of electromechanical and hydraulic actuation and control systems. From there I went on to Vickers /Eaton Corp where I was the Director Operations of the Sterer Division.
Prior to co-founding Plasma Ruggedized Solutions I was Principal and CEO of Aegis Precision Technologies, President of Qual Pro Corporation, and Vice President and General Manager of Aurora Electronics. Over the past 17 years I have led or consulted in Merger and Acquisition transactions totaling more than $450 million.
I hold a B.A. in Finance and International Business from the University of Washington School of Business in Seattle and an M.B.A. from Pepperdine University. I am also G.E. Six Sigma trained and have completed Program Management School at American University.
Q: Imagine that you met someone in an elevator and was asked to explain Plasma Ruggedized Solutions in 30 seconds or less… Can you give us a 2 sentence ‘elevator pitch’ about your business and what you do?
Plasma Ruggedized Solution is the global leader in environmental protection for electronic, mechanical and EM systems. PRS touches 16 industries and features state-of the art engineering and production operations in Silicon Valley and Huntington Beach, California.
Q: How did you get started in this business?
I observed a cross-industry need for environmental solutions for rugged electronic systems, wrote an operating model and went on the road presenting the idea to institutional investment firms.
Q: Can you describe your customers / what type of customers does Plasma Ruggedized Solutions have?
Our customers are made up of Fortune 500 companies as well as Tier 2 and Tier 3 level technology firms. We also support Start-ups in technology. Mainly our customer base comes from A&D, Tech, Medical, Automotive and industrial sectors. We are really industry agnostic. We seek opportunity and volume high complexity product so as to exploit our technical and production assets.
Q: What are some of your “keys to success” in building your customer base?
I am fortunate to have a great operating team. The people at PRS are highly experienced in customer care and service. They are a formidable combination of technical, production and system level thinkers. To feed that capability we have invested in a 200+ page website, e-commerce systems, social media and attend and present our company at various industry shows and symposiums.
We write White Papers on complex technical subjects and present our brand of concurrent engineering and total customer satisfaction to our customer base.
Currently we have over 1500 customers in our database with between 250 and 400 active in any particular month. In 2013 PRS won a coveted supplier award from Aviation Week and Space Technology. We didn’t know we were even up for the award. Turns out one of our key customers was integral in our selection. We had shipped complex electronic systems to them on-time or ahead of schedule for 16 quarters in a row.
Q: Is there anything about your business that you feel makes it special?
Our culture and the real team closeness we have with all our personnel. We have team luncheons for everyone on a monthly basis. We celebrate holidays with bar-b-ques and various entertainment. Everybody knows their role and is good at what they do. It is very rewarding to work with people like this. Our customers experience it in the way we work with them and strive to deliver the best products and services we can. We also have an extremely diverse employee base because we seek only the best people for a position.
Q: What kind of technology advances do you see that will likely affect this sector over the coming few years?
“Thin Film” coatings and advanced Plasma science will lead to material solutions that will make products last indefinitely. This is especially important for the A&D and Medical industries.
Q: Where do you see your business in the next year? In the next five years? In the next ten years?
Growth in A&D and automotive may well dominate our business landscape for the next 5 to 10 years. Automobiles are now really mobile communication platforms and that is only going to grow with smart highways and major infrastructure changes integrating electronic messaging on our business fronts, streets and freeways.