Founded in 2016, Engineered Products of Ohio, LLC. (EPI) is a technology manufacturing company that custom designs Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags for challenging environments. EPI works with their customers to develop and integrate RFID technology like gateways, readers, and endpoint integrated circuits.
EPI is an expert in the field of incorporating RFID technology into unique applications throughout a broad variety of industries. With great commercial success, EPI considered expanding into the government market. EPI identified and responded to a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) opportunity with AFWERX through the Air Force Research Laboratory.
After being awarded the Phase I SBIR, Justine Blank, EPI’s Vice President/RFID Solution Architect, met virtually with the Ohio APEX Accelerator at YSU Director to discuss the SBIR opportunity and how to leverage it for future opportunities. They discussed various aspects of being a DoD contractor, including the evolving cybersecurity requirements that also apply to SBIR awards. Beyond the focused one-on-one counseling, the Ohio APEX Accelerator at YSU also assisted Blank in identifying interest within Air Force stakeholders for the innovation EPI was developing through the Phase I award. This assistance and research augmented additional support EPI was receiving from Parallax, specifically the APEX Initiative.
The Ohio APEX Accelerator at YSU helped EPI refine their capabilities and project pitch, preparing them to network effectively with Air Force stakeholders. EPI’s successful networking and, most importantly, their excellent performance on the Phase I award positioned EPI to win a nearly $750,000 Phase II award from the Air Force. The Phase II award will allow EPI to bring life to their innovation, and prepare them to transition into future government successes.
“As experts in embedded RFID, we have been very successful in the non-government space, but as we began our research into bringing our technology to the DoD, we found that the commercial and military customers are VERY different.” Blank says. “While they both purchase goods & track assets, they are worlds apart in how they operate. As a new AFWERX accelerated SBIR/STTR awardee, we were fortunate enough to have the guidance of the Ohio APEX Accelerator at YSU to help rapidly immerse us into learning the nuances of transitioning to a military supplier partner. We literally had to learn how to speak the language (acronyms) and adapt to our current business practices to meet the needs of the US War Fighter. Without this assistance, we would not have been as successful or as nimble to respond and win our first Phase I and Phase II sole source contracts.”