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February 2018

Early Success as a Startup
Multi-Million Dollar Reed Switch Manufacturing in Oklahoma

A visit with Ryan Posey of HSI Sensing

 

Written by Lori Williams

 

When young Ryan Posey visited his grandfather’s home office, he pushed past the machines and reed switches to find the BB guns he and his cousin preferred. “We wanted to get outside to explore on the ten acres,” he recalls.
 
Today, as the CEO of the Chickasha based company founded by William Posey in 1968, Ryan continues pushing the boundaries and looking for targets. “Grandfather was kind of passive application based. He would wait for someone to call and ask for something. But now HSI Sensing is developing proactive products and we’re seeing some good success with customers’ responses.”
At the heart of the company is the reed switch, which was invented at Bell Laboratories in the 1930s. The electrical switch consists of two or three contacts on metal reeds that are hermetically sealed in glass. When a magnetic field is introduced, the contacts close and complete a circuit. Originally created to replace switchboard operations, the switch’s most common application is a proximity sensor in a security system. Thus the company name, which stands for Hermetic Switch Incorporated.
“My grandfather was on the ground floor of the reed switch manufacturing process at GE,” says his grandson Ryan. “Then he branched out and started his own company, with one product and one customer. Today we are a multi-million dollar manufacturing enterprise involved in many industries, but we feature the big four: fluid controls, medical, aerospace, and security.”
“HSI’s smallest reed switch, at just under 4 millimeters long, is used for implantable pacemakers. The doctor uses the switch to turn the communication circuit on or off to check the settings when a person goes in for a checkup.”
“Grandfather was very instrumental in getting us into the medical industry back in the late 70s. There were other reed switch manufacturers at the time, but HSI was the only one willing to adopt a quality system stringent enough to meet the medical industry’s requirements.”
By contrast, the largest switches created at HSI are used for high voltage relays. “One of our coolest applications is selling our products to companies that manufacture silicon wafer chips for cell phones,” says Posey. “Remember the early flip phones? Our switches were used to turn the screens on and off.”
These various applications add up at this company where the vast majority of the pieces are custom made. “Our average run is 100 pieces and we have about 1500 unique products,” he says.
The ability to manufacture customized solutions across diverse industries is a trademark of this company. The fact that it’s a family business is also noteworthy. “I’m the third generation, but this is not just a family business if your last name is Posey,” says the current CEO. “We have a lot of husband and wife teams who work with us or who have worked with us in the past. We also have a lot of parents and children who work here. To me, when someone tells their husband, wife, daughter, or son, ‘Hey, you should come to work here, too.’ that’s one of the greatest compliments about our business and our culture.”
Another distinction of this family driven, custom product company is its ability to create proactive solutions. “We recently developed a new Level 2 sensor for home security systems. It can’t be defeated by magnetic or mechanical tampering.”
As good as that sounds, Ryan is quick to add that Level 3 is in the works. “There’s no request for it yet, but we already have an idea to improve on the current technology because there’s one inherent weakness in it.”
Will Level 3 security systems be impervious to stray BBs shot by fun loving adolescents? Perhaps that’s a question Ryan Posey will answer at the February 14 OVF Luncheon.

 
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Register to attend the February Speaker Series

Short Presentation

Steve Montgomery 
Digital Six Laboratories, Inc.  
D6 Labs

Digital Six Labs is a fast growing developer of engineered wireless IoT solutions and components for commercial and industrial markets. We design and build our products at our factory in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and are proud to say our products are American Made.

Our solution platform, Whisker.io™, incorporates proprietary, long-range wireless technology that gives our devices the ability to transmit over long distances and operate for years from a single set of batteries, a combination that cannot be matched by other technologies. Whisker.io™ is comprehensive, customizable IoT solution platform that provides our customers with a high performance, low cost, low risk, and easy to use solution for almost any industrial or commercial IoT application.

Steve is a serial entrepreneur with more than 20 years experience designing, producing, and marketing technology products in a wide array of commercial and industrial applications. Throughout his career, Steve has been directly responsible for nearly every aspect of product design and manufacturing including mechanical, electrical, software, and web with a special focus on products that use embedded wireless communications. 
As Director of Engineering with Linx Technologies, Steve developed a line of embedded wireless products used in a wide range of applications including robotics, water meter reading, telematics, and much more. In 2001, Steve founded Radiotronix and went on to develop and manufacture the world’s first GPS tracking system for non-violent offenders released on parole, a wireless audio system used to ensure safety of police officers, smart water meter reading systems, and more. 
Although Radiotronix started in a spare bedroom with no real assets, Steve worked hard as CEO to build the company into a market leader with in-house production capability, national sales and distribution networks, and high visibility industry partnerships. As the Internet became a pervasive component of distributed computing solutions, Steve began developing Internet based wireless monitoring and control solutions for fixed network smart metering, oil and gas well monitoring, security, etc, gaining experience in client/server and web application development. 
Today, he is applying his hard won experience and expertise to design and produce a highly flexible, long-range, battery powered wireless solution that can be used in any number of vertical applications.

February 20th  at DC on Film Row
Featuring Neal McCaleb who will discuss how business can work with tribal governments.

OVF After Hours is a networking event that allows entreprenuers, investors, incubators and service providers an opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals and make important business connections.
Light appetizers and wine are offered. 

Registration is required to attend.

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OVF wants to extend a hearty 'thank you' to all of our wonderful readers. You're an important part of the relationships that OVF is building.  If you're not a regular just yet visit the OVF website for more information about our organization.

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Calendar

Speaker Series Lunch
February 14th
PHFCC

OVF After Hours
February 20th
DC on Film Row

Speaker Series Lunch
March 14th
PHFCC

Speaker Series Lunch
April 11th
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Member Highlight

Justin Hazzard

Director, Center for Business Development

 

 

 

Justin Hazzard is focused on engaging entrepreneurs and innovators to bring new ideas to market. He is the director of the Meridian Technology Center for Business Development which provides business incubation and consulting services for early stage, high growth startups. This year Justin led an initiative to launch a local chapter of the 1 Million Cups program in Stillwater that brings together community and entrepreneurs to solve challenges and build networks of support. Along with other community partners, Justin is constructing a three day conference this Spring on entrepreneurship and angel investment. In 2017 the Center for Business Development was named Oklahoma Incubator of the Year.
 
Justin brings over 10 years’ experience in small business advising, innovation management, international trade and economic development. He also works with the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance to facilitate the ExporTech® program, which is designed to accelerate the pathway to international markets for Oklahoma business and industry.
 
During his career he worked as Trade Advisor for Oklahoma State University in the Center for International Trade and Development and also as Director of International Sales for a consumer goods manufacturer.  
 
Justin serves the local community through his involvement in various non-profit boards such as the Oklahoma WONDERtorium, Creative Oklahoma and the Stillwater Economic Development Advisory Council.  His past president of the Oklahoma Business Incubator Association and is a Certified Economic Development Finance Professional. Justin earned his Masters of Business Administration from the Grenoble Graduate School of Business in Grenoble, France.
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Chairman's Perspective
Ryan Butts

We started the year off with an excellent Speaker Series Luncheon discussing film and economic development in Oklahoma. A special Thank you to our speaker panel for taking time to join us and share about an exciting industry that is making its mark on Oklahoma. This is yet another example of our states successful efforts to further diversify our economy.
 
February has not only one great event, but two! First, you will want to join us for our Speaker Series Lunch on Wednesday the 14th. Steve Montgomery, Founder and CEO of D6 Labs will be our short presenter. Digital Six Labs is a fast-growing developer of engineered wireless IoT solutions and components for commercial and industrial markets & are proud to design and build right here in Oklahoma. Ryan Posey, President of HSI Sensing is our speaker. Ryan & his family continue to build on the solid foundation that his grandfather William Posey started in 1968. HSI Sensing is now a multimillion-dollar manufacture of Reed Switches in there 55,000 square foot facility in Chickasha, OK.
 
We will also host the OVF After Hours networking event on Tuesday the 20th at DC on Film Row located at Dunlop Codding. Neal McCaleb, Ambassador at large for the Chickasaw Nation with a lifetime of public service, will share with us how business can work with tribal governments. We are continually thankful for our great speakers and look forward to another month filled with valuable information to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit.
 
Our Venture of the Year & Most Promising New Business awards luncheon is in May at the Oklahoma History Center. The application deadline has just passed, and our selection committee is looking forward to what is always a competitive process. There are still sponsorship opportunities available so please contact Che’ before they are gone! I look forward to seeing you all in February!
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