HYTEC celebrates breakthrough year

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By Roger Snodgrass

A Los Alamos small business that made good in the world celebrated another milestone Tuesday evening.

HYTEC, now partnered with IMTEC of Ardmore, Okla., and about to be acquired by the industrial powerhouse 3M corporation, brought out the golden shovels to formally break ground for a new technology center at the eastern entrance to the  town site.

Tim Thompson, one of the founders of the custom engineering company HYTEC, now the CEO and president of dental products manufacturer IMTEC, thanked the staff and the local believers in Los Alamos for their support during the years.

Hugo Hinojosa, vice president for operations in Los Alamos, said the new building would be 20,000 square feet with 15,000 of that devoted to office space and 5,000 square feet for the assembly and manufacturing area. There will be room for about 75 employees, half again as many as the current payroll, in the new building  – which is expected to get its LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building certification and be ready for occupancy by the end of the year.

The construction was supported in part by a $2.4 million community development loan from Los Alamos County.

Brett M. Knapp, new business development manager for 3M’s dental products division, said the acquisition of HYTEC/IMTEC was “one of the most pleasant M&As” (mergers and acquisitions) he had worked on.

“It began a year ago over dinner when we were discussing ways to work together, and went on to the next step when we realized that the two companies fit together well,” he said.

After nine months of what Knapp described as “low-intensity talks,” he said, the deal was ready.

“It was a long sell – never a hard sell,” he said, noting that 3M, headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., is a big company and it takes awhile to get people on board for a new venture.

Knapp will be serving as the liaison for 3M, he said, “to make sure the companies are working in sync without disturbing the ‘secret sauce’ of HYTEC and IMTEC.”

Thompson said he had started the ball rolling for the new building three years earlier.

“Despite the community support, it was a hard thing to get up and running,” he said.

He said his goal was simply to try to grow the company dramatically over the next five years by 50 percent a year.

Last week HYTEC was one of the winners of the state’s Flying 40 high technology awards, honoring the fastest growing companies in the state.

The celebration included community leaders and officials of the three companies. It took place at De Colores restaurant, adjacent to the site of the new building.