When Mike Mowins, President of Vetted Tech, recently learned that several local first responders were short of critically needed personal protective equipment (PPE) he sprang into action to make and supply face shields.
Vetted Tech Inc. (Vetted – Veteran Enabled Transition Technology Enabled Design), established in 2019, is an additive manufacturing company specializing in advanced 3D printed parts created in metal or high strength polymer for the medical, automotive, DoD, DoE, and aerospace markets.
Using fiber-reinforced polymers, Vetted Tech created face shields for Baldwinsville Ambulance Corps and Manlius Fire Department and, with another additive manufacturing partner, supplied face shields to Upstate Medical University. A high point for Vetted Tech was the ability to provide shields to the non-profit Clear Path for Veterans in Chittenango, NY. These shields are produced on a Markforged Mark Two printer, a continuous carbon fiber printer and one of several 3D printing devices in the Vetted Tech facility. Vetted Tech has the capacity to provide PPE for local first responders and non-profits on a limited basis.
Mike Mowins, a graduate of the US Naval Academy, first came to the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in mid-2019 to develop an additive manufacturing business in the Syracuse area. He had retired from a 30-year career with Phillips Screw Company where he was President of Global Licensing, developing and deploying advanced technologies. Mowins holds several patents related to technical development in the fastener industry, and he has significant experience in advanced manufacturing for the aerospace and UAS markets.
Mr. Mowins, a Baldwinsville native, had lived in both Massachusetts and California during his career and spent a great deal of time traveling globally. At the SBDC he first sought information on start-up funding and requirements, as well as connections to local industry players to assess the marketplace. Paul Brooks, a Senior SBDC Advisor, assisted Mowins by providing guidance on funding opportunities and connecting Mowins to local economic development leaders. SBDC assisted in reviewing his business plan and financial projections and provided market research information from the SBDC Research Network.
“SBDC helped me greatly by providing encouragement, connections and solid business advice for my start-up venture” said Mowins. “Additionally, they were able to assist in the finalization of our financing package to enable us to open the business. I knew that SBDC provided quality business assistance, and that’s why I selected them in the first place.”
Although off to a solid start in the additive manufacturing environment, Vetted Tech has experienced the same slow-down as most businesses resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. Mowins is using that time to renew industry connections and solidify working relationships with new and existing customers.
The opportunity to provide PPE for first responders was part of Mowins’ business philosophy, centered on giving back. As a Veteran Owned Business (VOB) that hires only veterans as employees, he realizes that being part of a business community has its obligations and one of the most important is collaboration. That collaboration is not only community awareness and action, but attention to business opportunities that will provide win-win results for both parties. That outlook fostered through years of business experience, and nurtured initially at the Naval Academy, figures to stand Vetted Tech in good stead. It is a model that start-up businesses would do well to emulate.
Paul Brooks, the SBDC Advisor that Mr. Mowins worked with said, “I recognized immediately that Mike had the passion and drive that is characteristic of a successful entrepreneur. I knew he would be a pleasure to work with and with whom we would be able to bring our SBDC resources into play to assist his venture”
Article published in the 'The Central New York Business Journal' on May 11, 2020
Article by Paul Brooks, a certified senior business advisor at the Small Business Development Center’s Tech Garden satellite office in downtown Syracuse. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Read articles and advice written by our very own Onondaga SBDC Business Advisors!