Celebrating 20 Years of NeoMatrix as an Automation Company and a People Company
If you had asked me 20 years ago about reaching this milestone, I would not have envisioned this milestone and all that it represents. Not only does NeoMatrix’s 20th anniversary recognize the longevity of our business, but more importantly, it celebrates our team, partners, and customers that have powered the company along its journey.
While the story behind NeoMatrix is full of growth and change, I’m proud to say that some things have never changed, namely, our dedication to providing value. That’s where it all started, and it is still how our people do things today.
Where It All Started
Operating out of my basement at the time, NeoMatrix was born and incorporated on March 14, 2003.
When I started the company, I was an experienced systems integrator with a simple goal of always providing value, which meant offering good work at a fair price and providing people with a skill set that they didn’t have in-house. Working tirelessly for Amgen, Millipore, and Entegris, I enjoyed what I was doing, and the ongoing work proved that the services delivered were driving value for their companies.
The Early Years
During NeoMatrix’s first year of business, I opened an office space in Nashua, NH. With business growing simply by word of mouth, Pfizer (formerly Wyeth) joined my list of customers looking to supplement their in-house talent. An increasing demand for industrial automation and process control services, coupled with me wearing all the necessary hats to run the business – sales, engineering and accounting – was the catalyst to expanding the team and the services the company could offer.
It was in December 2008 that Dan Perkins, Pete Larochelle, and I secured an agreement to merge into NeoMatrix. Having built relationships with them for many years, I knew that I could trust them both to get any job done and with the same level of commitment that my customers were accustomed to. Not only did I trust them personally, but strategically, Dan and Pete’s experience and expertise would also help differentiate the company from other system integrators by allowing us to expand beyond PLC and SCADA programming and offer more robust MES solutions (Enterprise Integration).
Joining me as company owners, the three of us moved the office to Portsmouth, NH and from there we set our vision on growth.
The Growth Continues
Our next growth milestone means a lot to me, as our first two hires are still with NeoMatrix today. We hired our first employee, Alex Donnell, on March 1, 2010, and today he is a company owner and serves as VP of Operations. Following Alex, we hired our second employee, Derek McCretton, on Feb 1, 2011. Like Alex, Derek is still part of our team and serves as our Principal Engineer with a significant role in supporting our 20-year client, Millipore.
Fast forward to 2018 and we expanded the team of 5 to a team of 15 and on this anniversary, we celebrate with a team of 30. I think that our unique ability to attract, retain and grow team members speaks volumes about the company culture that Dan, Pete and I envisioned from day one.
While we all agreed on the type of company culture we wanted to build, today, we’ve formalized that vision into our core values. These core values define our company culture and the behaviors that we expect from all of our team members in order to deliver the highest level of service to our clients. These guiding principles help us to identify the “Right Person” as we hire talent, evaluate performance, and reward our employees. And they work, to which Alex and Derek’s tenures are a testament.
And Here We Are
In 2015, our team moved to a Methuen, MA office, which was a lot of fun. We essentially did all the work together as a team; we did not hire any outside movers. Again, another core value of ours – Have Fun! We make fun a basic part of every day, make it a point to laugh and we always find reasons to celebrate wins.
Then 5 years ago we moved the office from Methuen to where we reside today in Andover, MA. This move was a huge moment for us as we went from 1200 square feet to 3000 square feet. Much as our space has grown, the NeoMatrix team has doubled in size every five years in the last 10 years. And in 2023, to accommodate our growth, we moved into a new 6000 square foot space (same location, different suite).
I’m particularly proud of our new office. The space is happy and vibrant with room for the team to work and have fun together. It symbolizes much of what NeoMatrix is all about – building relationships, both within our team and with our customers.
First, we always have been and will remain a ‘people company.’ Everyone working here is very passionate about the work that we do, and they love doing it. From the top down, each and every one of us focuses on building long-term relationships within the team and with our customers by:
- Demonstrating credibility and trust
- Maintaining a positive reputation
- Serving as advisors on best practices
I have to say though, that one of the best characteristics about our team is that we’re all pretty innovative and can adapt to new technologies quickly. That’s pretty imperative in this business. Pete is a fitting example of a leader who is always looking into what’s coming in the future and proactively planning on how we can adjust to better serve the company and our industrial automation customers.
We’re also committed. Among all the growth, there were some definite learning moments. Early on, we once quoted a project at 2000 hours. As it turns out, it took us around 6000 hours to get the job done. While the job wasn’t profitable for the company, what it did accomplish was making it very clear that our team had a commitment to getting the job done. This is the same commitment that each team member continues to bring to every project we take on.
The 2020s are Transformative Years for Us
Along our journey there have been some slower times, particularly starting in 2017 and heading into the pandemic. To help keep us on track and on an upward trajectory, in 2020 we made an investment in the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS). EOS is a complete set of simple concepts and practical tools that has helped us get more of what we want from the business.
Running on EOS, the whole company is aligned and focused on the same vision and how each employee can help get to that vision. I know that everyone on the team is working toward the same goals and in the best interest of the company, which ultimately helps our business run better. Since implementing EOS we’ve been able to measurably grow, doubling our active customers in the last three years.
When I think about the future growth of NeoMatrix… My vision within the next 3 years establishes us as experts at utilizing AI in the manufacturing space and all digital transformation projects (cobots, robots, etc.) In 5 years, I hope to see our team at around 50 people, and at the 10-year mark, I hope we’ll be a workforce of 90 people strong that’s complemented by new industry alliances that we foster.
We’re Grateful for Our Customers
From the beginning, our manufacturing customers have noted their appreciation for NeoMatrix’s 100% accountability on every project, even if it is a fault of ours. They’ve also given positive feedback on the tremendous value we bring to the table in truly understanding what they want and delivering on that.
It’s our customers who have enabled us to grow and there are some special people that I would like to thank, some of which have been with us from the start:
- Ray Zagars – Formerly at Entegris and now at 24M, thank you for taking a chance on me to program an extractor (with little experience) and deliver a positive result!
- Vinay Kalyani (Entegris) – After Ray’s departure, thank you Vinay for keeping the project work going and using NeoMatrix for much of the work in the new i2M building.
- Leo Karmiy – In my early days, you awarded me a lot of work at Millipore, lots of which were jobs sold to companies overseas that allowed me to travel to Japan and Ireland. Thank you!
- Jeff Pearson – In your role as an automation engineer at Millipore, you were a great mentor and I thank you for all that I learned from you just by being there.
- Scott Kendra and Larry Cater – Thank you for all of the PLC and SCADA work at Amgen, a customer we were so happy to work with for many years after the initial project.
- Frank Ventre, Kevin Callahan, Wentao Wang and Erik Westberg – Thank you Erik for making the initial decision to hire NeoMatrix (Erik is now Principal Engineer at NeoMatrix) and to Frank, Kevin and Wentao for keeping our relationship going all these years.
- David Leonard, Andy Santo, Brian Sullivan, and Fernando Albertao – We’re proud of all our work at Millipore and appreciate the trust you have placed in us to get the job done for the past 20 years, thank you!
- Eileen Souliotis (Entegris) and Chris DaCamara (Formerly Entegris, Now at Repligen) – It goes without saying that having a strong relationship with Entegris for the past 20 years is appreciated. Thank you for your ongoing trust in us to deliver upon our proven process.
Cheers to 20 Years!