Empire Technical Development finds fresh focus on bugs

Below are excerpts from a story by Kevin Blocker, Spokane Journal of Business, August 11, 2016. For full story with photos go to: http://www.spokanejournal.com/local-news/empire-technical-development-finds-fresh-focus-on-bugs/

Peter Bean had no idea when he co-founded Empire Technical Development LLC three years ago that he’d one day pack his bags and travel to the Entomology Society of America’s annual trade show to try to drum up new business.

“No, it certainly wasn’t what I had in mind,” says the 56-year-old Bean, a native of Great Britain who emigrated to the U.S. in 2001 and still speaks with a thick British accent. “That was not in our area of expertise, but it’s pretty cool to be going there.”

For Bean, business from entomologists, those who study insects, is slowly creeping up. Next month, he will travel to Orlando, Fla., for the entomology society’s 25th annual trade show. He’ll take with him examples of parts and products that Empire has designed and manufactured for its current customer base.

With the use of basic machining and fabrication tools—such as lathes and milling machines—Bean estimates that 75 percent of all the company’s business is now related to manufacturing and distributing parts for entomology-related companies. Empire’s customers grow insects in laboratory settings before selling them to private and public researchers for scientific study.

Empire has the ability to manufacture metal parts, bend sheet metal, weld, and do some plastic molding. It also uses SolidWorks software to design mechanical projects, Bean says. —

Bean says most of Empire’s service contracts are with life sciences companies that have strict confidentiality agreements in place, preventing him from identifying them. However, he says Empire’s clients include agribusiness and life sciences global giant Syngenta AG, based in Switzerland. Empire also serves smaller clients such as Carlisle, Penn.-based researcher Benzon Research. —-

Empire Technical Development’s CEO says the company is on pace to generate its highest annual revenue, and he expects it to be debt free by year’s end.

With the help of the Washington Small Business Development Center, Bean secured a $70,000 U.S. Small Business Administration loan through Washington Trust Bank here to give it some working capital before opening for business.

“We’ve paid off the bulk of that debt. For the first time, this year we’ll be in the black,” Bean says.

– See more at: http://www.spokanejournal.com/local-news/empire-technical-development-finds-fresh-focus-on-bugs/#sthash.Kp3kFoMT.dpuf