EMP Shield, LLC (empshield.com)
Countdown to the 2020 Client Showcase: #7
SBDC: Kansas SBDC – Emporia State, Washburn University, Wichita Tech Center (kansassbdc.net)
SBDC Advisors: Tom Byler, Dr. Laurie Pieper, and Alan Badgley
Entrepreneur Tim Carty, Founder and Executive Engineer of EMP Shield LLC , is passionate about his work. He is a holder of 21 patents – including 1 on the EMP Shield – and counting. Originally from northeastern Tennessee, the inspiring team-leader, who prides himself on being a “southern gentleman,” is affectionately referred to around the firm as the “hillbilly genius.” His company, EMP Shield, is a success story from Encountering Innovation (a program of the Kansas SBDC) and the upcoming winner of the Emerging Business of the Year Award from Emporia State University SBDC to be awarded in early 2020.
EMP Shield LLC is an engineering design company and manufacturer of the world’s first devices to protect houses, businesses and larger installations from high-altitude electromagnetic pulses, such as those that can be generated by solar coronal mass ejections – exemplified by the Carrington Event of 1859 – as well as from more ordinarily occurring power surges and lightning strikes. To appreciate the significance of this achievement, consider that estimates of damage that would be caused by an event today of similar magnitude to the Carrington Event range in the trillions of dollars.
Anyone without an EMP surge protector would lose ALL electronics; and, if the companies that make them aren’t protected, those products could not be replaced. EMP Shield customers, in contrast, would still have working electronics when the power comes back on. Without that protection, it would be like being thrown back into the 1800’s.
EMP Shield was founded in 2017, when Tim Carty was trying to develop a new energy source based on the capture of solar electrostatic waves. In working toward this goal, Tim needed a surge protector in case any lightning strikes came too close to the system’s antenna. This led to his researching existing surge protectors and discovering that there were none on the market that could protect against all three phases of a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse, a.k.a. HEMP. This was the inspiration for EMP Shield’s original product design – a surge protector that could defend electronics from all phases associated with a HEMP for the everyday public to be able to protect their property.
A major hurdle was getting the technology to market on a large enough scale to do significant good. After a front page article about the company appeared in the Sunday edition of the Topeka Capital Journal on March 5, 2018, and was brought to the attention of US STRATCOM, EMP Shield was able to garner attention from the U.S. Air Force; but without being in SAM and having a CAGE number, and lacking required security clearance, EMP Shield was unable to get information needed to manufacture a product that exactly met Air Force specifications.
EMP Shield, LLC first contacted the Emporia State University SBDC that July, because they had heard about an upcoming conference organized by the Kansas SBDC Tech Innovation Center, called Encountering Innovation. In addition to providing general business advising, Tech Coaches perform several important tasks to help a client leading up to, and following, an Encountering Innovation conference. These include correctly identifying a product’s or service’s Technology Readiness Level (TRL) and what it would take to move up to the next TRL; understanding the range of potential applications of the client’s products/services that might be of interest to government tech scouts and why; assistance in identifying potential funding sources to assist with commercialization; and assistance preparing to pitch.
EMP Shield’s goal in entering the 2018 Encountering Innovation conference was to impress tech scouts who could help the company with helpful contacts for getting security clearances, access to vital information sources, continued R&D funding and potential contracts. Tim took full advantage of every opportunity at the conference, from attending classes to networking with the tech scouts and following up immediately on their recommendations. The significance of the company’s technology, and the management team’s ability to back up its claims, were well received by the tech scouts. EMP Shield’s close work with and ability to prove themselves to agencies enabled them to learn what they needed to move forward. The ensuing response following the September of 2018 Encountering Innovation Conference has kept EMP Shield growing at a fast pace.
2019 has been a big year for EMP Shield. The company has added over 20 full-time employees, leased a building in Burlington, Kansas and, at this time, is in the process of expanding and upgrading the manufacturing facilities with a $1.25 million fully-automated pick-and-place line for building circuit boards in a clean room environment. After completion of this state-of-the-art facility in the HUB Zone of Coffey County, EMP Shield plans to expand into a second building in 2020, in order to grow its manufacturing and support teams.
Describing the company’s relationship with the SBDC, Tim said: “Tom [Byler] stays on top of things with us. When we got socialized, he stayed in communication with us: What have you done with your to-do list? How many contacts how you followed up with? What can I do to help you followup? And Bill Carey and Alan Badgley have opened so many doors for us. When Tom couldn’t be there for our pitch this year, Laurie Pieper stepped in. The whole support of the SBDC to us has been impeccable and we are so very, very blessed to have them as an extension and part of our team at EMP Shield and are very grateful for that.”
The America’s SBDC Client Showcase and Reception will be held from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm on Tuesday, February 11, 2020, in the Rayburn House Office Building Cafeteria.
For more information about America’s SBDC and to find an SBDC near you, go to www.AmericasSBDC.org.