FIGURE 18 Sales history.

In total, the company had won almost $23 million in SBIR awards, averaging about one-and-a-half or two Phase II awards per year. They had won 75 Phase I awards and 25 Phase II awards altogether, most of them within the last two years. “We are on a very fast growth track,” Mr. Mulligan said.

He noted that commercial sales had dipped in 2001-2002 because the company moved most of its commercial manufacturing to a plant on the Tohono-O’odham Indian reservation, near Tucson, Arizona. Those sales are now growing rapidly.

Mr. Mulligan described the company’s commercialization strategy, emphasizing the following strategies:

  • Perform Work that Is Core to the Company’s Strategic Plan and Have a Clear Path to Commercialization. Unless this path is clear, his company will not write a proposal. The company had, on rare occasions, won Phase I awards that they turned down because their strategic plan had changed. They had also won Phase II awards or been asked to submit Phase II requests and turned those down because they did not meet the core strategic plan.

  • Hire the Best Possible Talent. The company is looking for cum laude graduates, PhDs, and people who are very competitive. They have found that employees with a built-in will to win are easier to manage, which fits well with the company’s aversion to micromanagement.

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