ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: Tim Shaughnessy '06 Starts Innovative Company, Rapid Cure Technologies
By, Stan Linhorst
August 25, 2016
Tim Shaughnessy '06, who has an associate degree in Business, Management and Economics from SUNY Empire State College and Dan Montoney pooled $8,000 to start Rapid Cure Technologies in 2011.
The company creates customized chemical formulas that dry quickly when they are exposed to light, usually wavelengths in the ultraviolet range. The rapid curing dramatically lowers the energy needed to dry a product and it releases fewer compounds into the atmosphere.
"We transform liquid into a solid in just seconds," said Shaughnessy, president and CEO. "You can have our chemistry on the table, moving around like water, and you hit it with UV light and it's solid."
Where are the liquids they develop used? Shaughnessy answers with a surprisingly long list:
"We do industrial applications such as resins for electrical application, coatings for corrosion protection of steel, and sealing compounds for a variety of industries.
"We develop potting compounds for explosion-proof areas – oil rigs, oil refineries, mining.
"We develop a lot of clear coatings for automotive. Lens covers for abrasion resistance. In your iPhone, there's a boatload of UV-curable materials or adhesives.
"Basically, anything that needs to be coated or painted or stuck together and you want to dry it fast, we do it."
Chemists do the research at Rapid Cure's Fly Road plant. Small batches – five gallons or less – are manufactured there. Larger amounts are made in partner plants at Saratoga Springs or Kimball, Mich., near Detroit.
Did you come up with the UV process?
UV has been out there – when you think of going to the dentist, they use UV curable fillings. That's the blue light they put in your mouth. We do not sell to that market, just because the liability is pretty high.
What we do is bring it to new markets.
Five to eight years ago, the pipe and tube industry was all conventional solvent-based paint until UV was introduced.
What's your background? Are you a chemist?
No. I'm a business guy. Dan is a chemist.
He worked for a small paint company in Syracuse, developing radiation curing chemistries. I came from the paper-coating side. I've worked for MeadWestvaco Corp., a big paper company, and Armstrong, the flooring guys. I came from that big-company atmosphere. I worked in Watertown at a company called Knowlton Technologies.
How did you and Dan get together?
Our companies were working on a mutual project, a manhole rehab project. My company was supplying the fiberglass and his was supplying the chemistry.
We were talking one day and said there's a pretty good niche for a custom formulator that really wants to move this technology forward.
We had $8,000 and we started in Dan's basement on a prayer and a wing. We worked in Dan's basement until his wife finally said: You've got to get this stuff out of here.
Were you in leadership roles growing up?
At Taconic High School (Massachusetts), I was on a lot of sports teams. I didn't really think about that as leadership, but as you're a senior you kind of take on that leadership role.
I graduated in 1990. I was going to college, and I started working with Mead at a paper facility in South Lee, Mass.
Mead bought a mill up in Potsdam, N.Y. I was one of three people sent to lead that mill through a $50 million rebuild. I went to SUNY Canton while I was up there and later finished my degree through SUNY Empire State College.
The mill was making commodity-type stuff. And we took them to more of a specialized material. We started making wear-resistant overlay for laminate flooring.
The three of us knew the technology and had to train all the people. I was put in a role supervising people that had been working for the company longer than I had been alive.
It was a huge culture shock to employees. They were unionized. We went non-union. That was a giant change. There was a fear factor: What am I going to lose?
I learned the importance of good communication. For a successful change, you need to make sure everybody knows why the change is coming.
Otherwise, if there's only the rumor mill, by the time it gets around to the last guy, it's a totally different story.
From that kind of front-line leadership, in the manufacturing realm, I moved more to sales and marketing.
This article was originally published in syracuse.com. Read about Shaughnessy and Rapid Cure Technologies.
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