When Dave Richardson walks into a room, one immediately understands why his employees affectionately call him “YesterDave” – he needs everything done yesterday. His company is growing, and he’s doing everything he can to keep up. Started in 2002 with two employees, Richardson Cooling supplies radiator solutions to an ever-growing list of off-highway diesel applications.
Despite Richardson Cooling’s impressive factory space, up until recently the company lacked some of the R&D tools it needed to make important decisions that would impact the efficiency of some of their new product designs as well as their bottom line. A recent growing pain for the company has been the length of time it takes to run performance testing at specialized laboratories in Germany. A $50,000 Innovation Works Innovation Adoption Grant helped Richardson work with experts at Penn State University. With the help of IW and a wind tunnel expert at Penn State, Richardson was able to design and install a custom wind tunnel with which it could test the efficiency improvements of new systems on-site. The funding support, introduction to world-class experts and project management assistance have helped the company save time and money.
“Right now we’re developing a new product that would require a $500,000 capital investment,” says Engineering Manager Brian Meier. “This wind tunnel will show us in whether it’s worth it. We can now do things in-house that we couldn’t do before, do them more quickly and at a fraction of the cost. We’re on our way to developing a world-class testing laboratory that wouldn’t have happened at all without IW’s support.”
In addition to the IAG program, Richardson Cooling has also benefited from IW’s Intern Program, in which Innovation Works helps fund the cost of summer interns in regional companies. Intern Jon O’Bloc so impressed them that they hired him on full time at the end of his internship program. Richardson says that they wouldn’t have hired an intern without the IW program, and therefore would not have found and hired Jon. “He’s been absolutely stellar,” says Brian Meier, “and Innovation Works made that happen.”