While RMCI, Inc. Chief Executive Ken Speaks was in Paris this past June looking for new opportunities to reach customers in the U.K. and in Europe, EDPA’s Alabama Launchpad team was busy processing an application from RMCI’s Huntsville headquarters office for a Phase 0 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) accounting assistance. It is kind of hard to imagine that such a sophisticated technology company experiencing product demand from around the globe might need our help, but that was exactly the case.
Alicia Shelley, Public Affairs Liaison for RMCI, wrote in the application, “we currently have part-time staff, and our accounting firm does not specialize in government contracting.” At that time, RMCI-Inc. had just won a Department of Energy (DoE) Phase I SBIR award and was applying for its first Phase II SBIR award, a Department of Defense (DoD) award for the Navy. Recognizing a federally compliant accounting system is instrumental in the government contracting industry for continuation of current contracts as well as future bids and proposals, RMCI sought Alabama Launchpad’s help.
Alabama Launchpad established the SBIR Phase 0 program in 2014 after reviewing the types of assistance commonly provided by states throughout the country. We learned from the Small Business Administration (SBA), which manages the SBIR program, that companies often have problems with the accounting requirements. Companies with technical competence to advance to the larger Phase II seed funding would not advance if the federal funding agency found errors in the accounting compliance. With support from Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA), the Alabama Research Alliance, and an SBA grant, EDPA established the Phase 0 pilot program. It has been a true learning experience. Like all the Alabama Launchpad programs assisting startups and technology companies, the Phase 0 program opened our eyes to the rich layer of small technology companies throughout Alabama.
It has been rewarding for the Launchpad team to learn about RMCI, Inc. RMCI has vast experience in aviation health monitoring. Founded nine years ago and employing 22 people today, RMCI has produced a lighter weight, more powerful and more affordable HUMS (health usage and monitoring system), according to Mr. Speaks. Speaks goes on to say, “We are on the leading edge of this emerging technology, and the demand is dramatically expanding around the globe.” While in Paris, Speaks also announced plans to open an office in Asia in 2016.
With funding from the DoE SBIR Phase I award, RMCI is expanding its products for helicopter health monitoring and advanced mechanical/electrical diagnostics into the green energy market. RMCI and the Department of Energy are preparing for the future needs of health monitoring devices for the energy market.
EDPA is investing more and more time building relationships with companies like RMCI. Through the passion and energy of the small technology driven companies, we are glimpsing how bright Alabama’s economic future can be. It is a pleasure to assist and work with RMCI to help them with governmental accounting compliance.
Interested in learning more about the SBIR program and application process? Visit the Alabama Launchpad website or contact Mary Hope Garmon at 205-943-4727 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.