You could say Adaptive Materials Inc. began as a sophisticated school project of sorts, as Aaron Crumm founded the company in 2000 with his wife, Michelle, and his Ph.D. adviser from the University of Michigan to further delve into his Ph.D. work surrounding fuel cell technology.
Today, their company develops portable power from a solid oxide fuel cell system that uses readily available, inexpensive propane in place of the typical hydrogen fuel cell.
The Crumms launched Adaptive Materials without outside investors, obtaining grants and winning contracts for funding and reinvesting in the company along the way. Taking a role in an industry largely dominated by men, Michelle began sculpting the company’s collaborative culture. For example, she holds pizza lunches, which serve as brainstorming sessions, for all employees. And she is involved in the Red Cross and several professional women’s and economic development groups. She encourages employees to get involved in the community, as well.
A year after founding, Michelle Crumm left her corporate accounting job at Kellogg to focus on the new company as its chief business officer. The company’s key customers the Department of Defense and other military organizations are attracted to Adaptive’s lightweight, portable power source, using it in unmanned aerial and ground vehicles, remote sensors and charging stations for hand-held communication devices.
Adaptive Materials is also branching into other industries, with commercial applications for recreational vehicles and yachts.
Recently, the company moved into a new facility, and it’s no wonder why. In the past five years, Adaptive Materials has doubled in size in both employees and revenue. And Crumm plans to double her employee count again in the next year by using Michworks to find local workers who have been laid off from other industries and retraining them.
How to reach: Adaptive Materials Inc., (734) 302-7632 or www.adaptivematerials.com