When a company develops an innovative product that is superior to its competition and has applications in multiple industries, chances are it’s on its way to success. That is certainly the case for MesoCoat Inc. and Andrew Sherman, president and CEO.
MesoCoat is a venture-backed nanotechnology materials science company fast becoming a world leader in metal protection and repair through its revolutionary long-life coating and high-speed cladding technologies.
Through partnerships with the Departments of Defense and Energy, and leading oil and gas companies, MesoCoat, a more than 60-employee manufacturer, is growing at a pace that earned the company the No. 15 ranking out of 100 manufacturers in the Inc. 500/5000 list for 2013.
“MesoCoat was formed in 2008 to bring innovation to the market and make metals last longer and combat wear and erosion in advanced metals,” Sherman says. “With our products, we try to address the entire value chain, cradle to grave.
“For the fabricator, it means reduced fabrication costs and higher margins. For the OEM or the user, it means a longer life and less downtime. For society as a whole it means less environmental pollution, less carbon dioxide and less waste byproducts.”
Here’s how Sherman is keeping MesoCoat on pace with its growth potential.
Keeping pace with growth
With rapid growth comes a lot of leadership challenges and Sherman has been focused on matters such as capital and people.
“How do you take these high-tech industrial things and make them of interest to the financial community?” Sherman says. “Also, going from a 20-person company to a 60-person company, there are a lot of communication issues and organizational development issues. You have to build in more and more communications in order to keep everyone moving in the same direction.”
For Sherman and his team at MesoCoat, the big challenge is constantly shifting investor or financing focus versus organizational growth and infrastructure, as well as an internal focus versus the industry or customer focus.
“Keeping all three of those balls in the air is the challenge,” he says. “You have to balance those and not get over involved in any one of those. It’s spending enough resources to get it done, but not so much that it’s distracting from the other two. If any one of those gets out of balance, you stop.”
Find new opportunities
MesoCoat’s growth has been evolutionary in nature. One thing has led to another, and Sherman has been focused on where the company can go next.
“We started with a materials development platform, which was more exploratory, and we discovered this 80-fold improvement in wear resistance,” he says. “Then we looked at how we could actually enter the market, where we could enter the market and create value and generate return, and that’s where MesoCoat came about as part of that demand creation and positioning in the marketplace.”
As MesoCoat has grown its role into additional services and become closer to the customer, there have been more opportunities.
“Originally, we were focused on aerospace and defense,” Sherman says. “When we got into that and looked at some of the drivers of what’s limiting the adoption of chrome alternatives and advanced coating technologies, it came down to productivity.”
This issue led MesoCoat to see a need in oil and gas, and with that growing segment of business and the success of Particulate Composite Powders (PComP), the company has been able to expand its markets and product lines.
“All our opportunities are based on being close to the customer and understanding what makes a difference in your customer’s or user’s life,” Sherman says. “With MesoCoat, a lot of our growth has been finding where in the value chain you’re creating the greatest value and focusing there. We’re technology guys, and we’re swinging for the fences.”
How to reach: MesoCoat Inc., (216) 453-0866 or www.mesocoat.com
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