advertisement
January 24, 2019

Fast-growing STARC Systems to double manufacturing capacity

Courtesy / STARC Systems
Courtesy / STARC Systems
Given its fast rate of growth, STARC Systems plans to double capacity by 2020 with expanded facilities and workforce.

STARC Systems, which manufactures reusable temporary wall containment for the construction industry, expects to add more jobs and double manufacturing capacity at its Brunswick Landing location by early 2020.

The plan comes after a 45% rise in sales in 2018, along with expansion across 47 states, Canada and Australia.

To meet demand, STARC hired an additional 17 people and added 10,000 square feet of state-of-the-art manufacturing in 2018, for its fourth expansion in as many years.

CEO Chris Vickers told Mainebiz that, given STARC's focus primarily on the health care construction market, growth is driven by a growing number of large renovation projects in the field across the U.S.

"The need for upgrading and expanding health care services is the driver right now of our business," he said.

STARC structures also apply throughout the construction industry, so the business is growing in general, he said.

Growth is also driven by STARC's position as a leader in the field — temporary wall containment systems of the type produced by STARC didn't exist before five to seven years ago, he said.

"We're driving a completely new market niche," he said. "We're leading the market from a design and functionality perspective right now."

He said the company's satisfaction rate is 99% and the reorder rate is 91%.

Contaning dust, preventing infection

STARC's system is designed to prevent dust, debris and infection from entering occupied spaces within health care facilities during renovation, he said. Traditionally, drywall containment has been used, but the construction is loud and dirty and must be discarded with every use. STARC's modular containment system can be reused on hundreds of projects over several years and are clean, quiet and environmentally friendly.

The system also reduces construction noise, and it looks like real walls so people working outside the construction area don't feel like they're next to a construction site, he said. Infection, debris and dust are kept from migrating out of the construction zone through the use of a negative pressure environment.

Applications beyond health care sites include construction in corporate offices and public buildings, he said. LaGuardia and Newark airports are among the sites where the systems are currently being used.

"Within a corporate office setting, people have to be productive and if you can reduce the disruption of renovation then they're able work much more effectively," he said.

Fast-rising startup

Courtesy / STARC Systems
Courtesy / STARC Systems
STARC Systems CEO Chris Vickers said the company, located at Brunswick Landing, is hiring to keep pace with demand.

STARC was founded in 2012 as a one-person garage startup by Tim Hebert, chairman of Lewiston-based Hebert Construction.

Hebert has previously said that STARC came out of a need identified by his family-owned construction business, which created a specialty in health care construction. Hebert remains involved as chairman of the board.

In 2015, STARC moved to Brunswick Landing's TechPlace, where it continued to expand.

In late 2017, STARC secured $3.5 million through an investment round led by Blue Heron Capital, an equity fund based in Richmond, Va. At that time, Blue Heron co-founder Andrew Tichenor said STARC's containment system had proven imperative to allow hospital systems to remain operational during renovations, which can otherwise creates problems with regard to infection control and dust mitigation.

By January 2018, STARC had moved out of TechPlace and into a 16,000-square-foot building down the street at 166 Orion St., adjacent to Brunswick Executive Airport.

Today, the company has 25,000 square feet of manufacturing space, plus offices, in two neighboring buildings.

"We believe we're going to need at least double the space by 2020," said Vickers.

STARC employs 40 and is adding more. "We added a second shift and our growth even over the last two months is much higher rate than we were running last year," he said.

STARC's year-over-year growth rate, in early 2018, was 50%. Today, it's 100%, he said.

Continued investment

STARC continues to invest in further developments of the system.

A measure of the company's success, said Vickers, is its clients.

"We're working with the top 11 national contractors in the U.S. right now," he said. "Of the top 40 contractors, we're working with 25. We've penetrated a lot of the top regional contractors."

In Maine, STARC's containment structures have been used in projects at Central Maine Medical Center, St. Mary's Health Systems and Maine Medical Center, according to the company's website. Elsewhere, the structures have been used at large hospitals, including Johns Hopkins and Cleveland Clinic.

In the release, Jerry Baker, executive director of Construction of W.E. Bowman Construction in Virginia, said his company's return on investment with STARC has paid off.

"You really want a product that has proven endurance when you work in health care," Bowman said. "We know our STARC panels will last us for a number of years and we can use STARC on hundreds of projects."

"We are very proud of the success achieved by STARC Systems at Brunswick Landing," Steven Levesque, executive director of Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, said in the release. "From their initial start-up at TechPlace to their current operational footprint, we have been extremely impressed with their gazelle-like growth and are very excited to see them continue to expand their business. They are a great example of how to grow a business in Maine."

Comments

Type your comment here:

Today's Poll Do you support U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and three other Republican senators who have said Congress should vote to reopen the government and negotiate border security as a separate issue?<>
ADVERTISEMENTS
Most Popular on Facebook