Friday, April 10, 2009
Rapid Pro - Company Profile
Spirit of the American Dream
The story begins in 1994 when an engineer with a dream started his own company in his garage. He had the education, a little cash and the desire to succeed. He took out a loan and bought a piece of prototyping equipment called a stereo-lithography machine. (Laser process) He then leased an office in south Longmont, hired a couple of employees and began to build his business. Later, the business was moved to a prominent location on the I-25 Frontage Road for better visibility and access to corporate traffic from Denver to Ft. Collins. By 2001 the company had grown to $1,500,000 in annual sales.
At that time a local man named Ron Angstead was working as a production manager and Vice President at InterMountain Railway Company when he found out Rapid Prototyping Corporation was for sale. InterMountain is a high quality model train company. They design, produce and assemble model trains and distribute them to hobby stores across the USA and Canada.
In July of 2001 the founder of RPC contacted Ron Angstead and notified him that RPC was for sale. Ron was interested in the cutting edge technology and excited about the possibility of becoming involved with the high tech prototyping firm. He talked to his associates and found that his business partner from Boston was interested. Angstead put the deal together and the new company was born!
Mr. J.P. Barger bought RPC on August 21st, 2001 with the understanding that Ron Angstead would take over as the President and CEO to manage the company. Angstead was excited and enthusiastic as he met his new staff of 15 employees. He began to run the struggling company under a new plan for growth and change. Three weeks later our country and the world would change forever. The World Trade Center in New York City was attacked and the economy across the country took a dive. The new start instantly became an extremely difficult struggle. Through the adversity came a need for quick decisions in order to overcome the new obstacles. Angstead needed to buy some time so he and a few of his friends and business partners rallied together to loan the company $100,000 that would later be converted to stock purchases. This capital would get the company through for a few weeks until they could recover orders that had been frozen or cancelled. The economic paralysis did not last long and soon the orders started to come in again and an aggressive marketing campaign would yield good results over time. The addition of new manufacturing processes and an increase in outsourcing allowed RPC to grow quickly. Angstead changed the name to a more appropriate RapidPro Manufacturing Corporation and by 2005 the sales had reach almost $3,000,000. (Almost double what it had been in 2001.)
RapidPro and some of their customers found a common goal in working together and created partnership agreements. These deals help the customers benefit from the experience, knowledge or financing they need while RPM gets an opportunity to retain the business and share in a percentage of profits as the products begin to sell. The true meaning of a win-win situation!
One such customer is private inventor journeyman carpenter, Anthony Whitemiller, who co-invented a product with Angstead called the SpeedRocker utility knife. The SpeedRocker is a specialty drywall knife with multiple functions to work faster and more efficiently with drywall. Anthony and Ron became partners in 2001 and then made a deal with a worldwide distributor from Chicago. Since 2004, they have sold about 150,000 knives in the retailers such as Lowes, Home Depot and Ace Hardware. They are working on some additional new products for release later this year.
Another inventor and landscape professional named Eric Houseman came to RapidPro to develop a hand tool for the installation and repair of sprinkler systems. Houseman and Angstead became partners and co-invented the Poly-Gator which became the Poly-Pro and a second variation, the PVC-Pro. They successfully launched the products into Ace Hardware, Home Depot and will go into every one of Lowes’ 1,645 stores this spring. With a little help from the retailers the tools should sell well.
John Herman of Boss Outfitter invented several unique Hunting & Fishing Products with RapidPro’s help and now sells through RapidPro’s websites, Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, Sportsman’s Warehouse and many more.
RPM has become a qualified vendor for many of the most prominent Fortune 500 companies along the front range of Colorado. Over the past couple of years, this corporate business has been downsized significantly. The economic conditions in 2007 and 2008 have reversed the company’s growth trend and RPM’s sales dropped back to near its level from 2001. Several of RPM’s customers have gone out of business and most have scaled back. The new development work will need to pick up again in the near future for these companies to remain competitive. With reduced internal resources, they will rely even more heavily on companies like RapidPro for their outsourced product development. Angstead and his staff meet and plan with these customers regularly to gear up for new projects that are coming down the pipe.
RapidPro has also recently launched a new Sporting Goods website, www.rapidprosports.com. They use this site to introduce and sell new, innovative athletic products to the public. The company sells Baseball, Football, Basketball, Hunting & Fishing, Soccer and Golf products. RapidPro Sports specializes in unique training aids and accessory products that increase the skill level of young athletes.
While once again faced with adverse conditions, Angstead’s attitude remains very positive. “Difficult challenges do not determine the outcome of a situation,” says Angstead, “it’s the way you react and adjust to handle those challenges that will determine your level of success.”
Angstead believes that one of his most powerful assets is his ability to pull people together and strive toward a common goal. He says, “We have a fantastic team including our staff, suppliers and customers and are all working together on exciting new projects.” He is in the process of restructuring and refinancing the company to give it a new, more profitable start. Now profitable again, the future looks bright on the horizon. Within this small privately owned company and thousands more like it across the country, the “Spirit of the American Dream” is alive and well and will prevail in these changing times.
Angstead likens his business to “a maternity ward for new products and start-up companies. This is where the Spirit of the American Dream is born!”
To contact Ron Angstead and RapidPro for product development, manufacturing services or other business opportunities, please call or email.
RapidPro Manufacturing Corporation Email: email@example.com
Ron Angstead, President, CEO www.rapidpro.com
14478 I-25 Frontage Road www.rapidprosports.com
Longmont, Colorado 80504 Office: 970-535-0550