David A. Schario, Enterprise Ventures Corporation (EVC)

David A. Schario

Transforming EVC

Editors’ Note

As President of Enterprise Ventures Corporation (EVC), David Schario brings 30 years of experience in leading organizations that accomplish the design, installation and management of businesses in the aerospace, military and automotive industries. Schario was previously a Vice President at EVC’s parent company, Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC). He has also served as a member of industrial research boards and served as a technical peer reviewer for the U.S. EPA’s Small Business Innovative Research Program.

Company Brief

Enterprise Ventures Corporation (evc.ctc.com) is a wholly-owned affiliate of Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC). The mission of EVC is to transfer advanced technologies designed and created by others to the marketplace and to deliver high quality, competitively priced products and services to its clients.

Will you highlight the history and heritage of EVC and the vision behind the creation of the company?

Enterprise Ventures Corporation (EVC) was incorporated in Pennsylvania in 2000 to seek, win and execute opportunities that were not intended for the nonprofit mission of CTC. EVC serves as the technology commercialization arm of CTC. We are building an organization focused on both business and personal growth, framed in a healthy, positive, rewarding culture that enables people to do what they do best.

EVC went through a number of different phases and missions from 2000 to 2011, at which time it was restructured under its current leadership. We had the opportunity to build a company from the ground up, set the mission, vision, and culture of the corporation, and grow it.

We won a major contract in 2012 that established the foundation for the company, producing a tool for the military. It energized EVC for the first five years of its restructure and we are still making that product today.

Since then, we have added a professional services line and three other product lines in security software, innovative coatings, and most recently in grey water recycling technology.

When you transitioned and revamped the company, how important was it to get the employees onboard when change can be unsettling?

It was very important. We worked very diligently to establish a new identity and culture, and build an organization focused on growth for both the company and the people. Most of the people came from the parent company. This was a significant transition and definitely unsettling, but our people stepped up and transformed EVC into the company that it is today.

Additionally, we added an entrepreneur who mentors start-ups to our board of directors as well as a seasoned businessperson familiar with scaling companies to advise us.

To date, we have done four transitions of major products. We are always learning and have established a process for commercialization of new products.

How challenging is it to differentiate the products that EVC offers?

Most of the products that we have dealt with to date are coming directly from research and development organizations, so differentiation is almost built into the product. However, products developed in a research environment are not usually ready for production. Accordingly, we are building the capability to turn research technology into products.

Additionally, the product was usually built on unvalidated assumptions of the researcher without knowledge of who the end customer would be and what those customers wanted. Therefore, we are also building the capability to vet these assumptions in the marketplace and adjust the products and their features to the customer. These two capabilities enable us to differentiate our products and meet the needs of our customers.

Where are the greatest opportunities for growth for EVC?

There are significant opportunities for growth. We have a few indicators we track and they are about five times better than they were just a few years ago.

We have three product lines that we expect will see significant growth over the next two years. One is a grey water recycling technology, the second is a security software product that establishes a unique way to prevent ransomware and insider threats, and the third is a coating technology that is very different from anything else.

How important is brand and brand awareness for EVC?

Brand distinguishes an organization or product from its rivals in the eyes of the customer, so it is very important. We have spent most of our time to date on building the customer experience with EVC. We want our customers to know our culture and be successful when they use our products.

More recently, we have changed our corporate colors, slogans, developed go to market strategies for each product line and we are employing social media to enhance our brand awareness and get our message out to the market.

How important is it to attract the right talent and will you discuss the team you’ve assembled?

The employees of EVC are what make us different. Talent is very important to us as it becomes increasingly more difficult to attract and retain good talent. We have spent a lot of time building a culture at EVC so we can attract, retain and enable growth, not only for the organization, but growth of each of the individual employees. It is our job to build an organization framed by a culture that enables each employee to do what he or she does best.

We have a very diverse group of people from engineers to entrepreneurs and the business staff to support them. The thing that ties them all together is the desire to grow and learn and have fun doing it.

Is your personal focus more on building client relationships or is it more internal?

Being the leader of the corporation, I do both.

Initially, I spent much of my time developing client relationships and building the brand and its credibility. Now, I focus more of my time on building the business and its capacity by putting the resources, people, products and policies in place that enable the growth of the organization.

As we have grown, my emphasis has been more on taking care of the business as opposed to building client relationships. As the situation dictates, I still do both.

Where do you see EVC in three to five years?

In three to five years, the goal for the organization is to achieve revenue and profit three to five times what they are today. I anticipate the number of employees growing at approximately the same rate.

The key priorities are having the right people in the right place with the right resources to continue the growth of the corporation. Specifically, I see us remaining in three lines of business: professional services, products, and a capacity to introduce new technology to the marketplace.