Remarks by Scott Rickert - Applied Nanotech Special Shareholder Meeting
Good afternoon. Let me say that I’ll be glad to answer questions about my remarks after the meeting. So please hold your questions until the formal meeting has been adjourned.
I’m excited to be here today to witness the shareholders’ overwhelming support for the bringing together of two companies that have incredibly strong potential, two companies that I firmly believe will be stronger together as PEN Inc., making amazing products enabled by nanotechnology.
I’ve been thinking about this moment for more than a year. That’s how long we’ve been working on the combination. So I’ve had a year to think about what I’d say, what you’d want to know, what you need to know.
Let’s start with this: Who is Scott Rickert?
In 1984, I was a professor/researcher who understood the immense potential of nanotechnology. In 1985, I founded Nanofilm, a business to harness that potential in products. I went from professor to entrepreneur. It worked. Nanofilm developed, manufactured and launched products. We made sales within 18 months – with customer financing. And we made profits soon thereafter. By 2000, we’d grown to a successful nanotechnology company. And I had grown too – from a naïve entrepreneur to a battle-hardened, and successful, businessman.
Still, I knew we could do more, grow more. Nanotechnology has the capacity to solve big problems, tough problems and global problems. So in 2000, I began a new journey. I like to say I moved from businessman to a 21st Century CEO. I began forging a global business perspective, executing a business plan to take my company where it is today. A quick review of that journey should provide some more insight into what I believe PEN has the potential to become.
Internationally, I developed a network of business, science and financial leaders. I became a delegate to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and presented at their conference in China. I began working with Horasis, the European-based Global Visions Community for a sustainable future, on business developments between the Western world and China and Russia. I addressed nanotech pioneers in Egypt about business ideas and opportunities for the Middle East.
Here in the U.S., I became a regular contributor to the public discourse about nanotechnology. I’ve worked with Senators, Congressmen, the EPA, the FDA, and entrepreneurs, multinational executives and researchers. We’ve helped set policy, addressed funding for research, and tax policy for nano-companies. We’ve worked through issues of scalability, health and safety, advanced manufacturing, IP protection, M&A, the valley of death, and profitability. I wrote a monthly news column on the business of nanotechnology for many years, acting as the spokesperson for the entire nano-industry.
21st Century CEOs worth their salt are aware of how to organize and operate a truly global enterprise. Over the past 14 years, I have learned what that means.
I used that knowledge to evolve Nanofilm’s business into company that solves problems for a global marketplace. By 2008, we already had customers across Europe and in Asia and the Pacific. And we’ve continued to grow that footprint and our customer base over the next 6 years...right up to today.
Now you know a bit more about me. You should also know that I am not satisfied. I will not be satisfied until we have built scale and capabilities to equal the potential of our products and possibilities.
Here are the three truths I’ve learned that we will not ignore in scaling our new business.
Truth 1: We need to tackle the big, global problems in growing markets. I firmly believe Applied Nanotech and Nanofilm have intellectual property that can go to work:
- In safety. How can “sniffing” at the nanoscale identify hazards more quickly, alert those in danger, prevent catastrophe?
- In health. How can treating or printing surfaces at the nanoscale help promote health, fight the spread of disease and slow the medical arms race against superbugs?
- In sustainability. How can we use less material, with the same or better performance, to create new nanotechnology-enabled products that prevent problems, instead of band-aiding them?
How will we go about it? You see some of the answer in this room. Starting next week, Zvi Yaniv will work with me and with Krish Rao, Nanofilm’s president, on PEN’s Innovation Team. Members of the Innovation Team will be both the creators and managers of aggressive product development plans. Others you’ve met today – Dick Fink and Dongsheng Mao – along with Nanofilm’s Stephanie Castro and others will bring innovative and practical scientific thinking and entrepreneurial focus. They’ll be working side by side with this team to create game-changing products.
Truth 2: A global brand leader must be a commercialization powerhouse. That’s what it takes to get innovation out of the lab, and get products into the marketplace. That means marketing, manufacturing, operations and sales, plus the discipline of managing to the bottom line.
How will we go about it? By using the lessons learned from Nanofilm, and a totally new sales and brand development team. Lynn Lilly is a founding member of that new team. More announcements of team members will be made soon. Our brand managers and sales team will be built from the start with experienced executives. Managers who know what it takes to be successful in building a sustainable competitive advantage in a global marketplace.
3. Truth 3: Tackling big problems requires big capital.
At Nanofilm, we partnered; we did joint development; we licensed. All to work with big multi-national companies with the resources we needed to get products to the marketplace. Guess what? Our innovation made money for the investors of other companies. Now, PEN is in a position to access capital for our own products and our own growth plans. And PEN’s focus will be on funding the work that makes money for the investors of this company.
How will we go about it? Again, we’re ready to go. You see the team in the room. The PEN board – Bob Ronstadt, Doug Holmes, Ron Berman, and Howard Westerman, along with the other directors, and me -- will be focused on the capital to fuel this company’s aggressive growth plan.
Three truths. Three goals. Three mandates. So let me say them again.
1. PEN will be passionate about tackling the big problems.
2. PEN will be laser-focused on commercialization of its own global brand of products.
3. PEN will be relentless in seeking – and deserving – the capital to accomplish these goals.
I know the APNT board of directors sees the path. I know the teams at both companies are ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work. And you should know that Scott and Jeanne Rickert are “all in.” It’ll take work, and it’ll take some time, so I ask for your support and patience.
I want you to have no doubt in your mind about this: You have made a wise choice today! Thank you.