Wendy Tirollo, CEO/Owner, TRM Microwave
MPD: The 2019 defense budget is chock full of EW, radar, and other programs with lots of RF and microwave content, so, if your company serves the defense market, what are your thoughts about how this will affect your business in the coming years?
This is excellent news for TRM. Defense is the primary market we serve and we’re optimistic about the future. Our RF/microwave components and integrated sub-system assemblies are specifically customized to integrate into EW, Radar, SATCOM and ground communications systems applications and these programs drive our business. So, higher demand in the market produces more opportunities for us. In fact, we’re seeing higher volumes as programs mature. To support the demand created in the marketplace, we’re furthering our investment in machine-based manufacturing.
As the defense market expands, we continue to see two things required to be a bigger player. First, providing testing and objective evidence is critical to our prime defense contractor customers using our products on their platform. Secondly, managing cost and the drive to zero defects is vital to government requirements. Machine-based manufacturing results in greater control of our processes and higher quality for less cost. This keeps us competitive.
We believe our relationship with customers is strong because we put them first. We can remain a key partner for new opportunities because they trust us to provide the custom solutions they need for their unique and often challenging requirements on mission-critical defense programs. They know we have the engineering expertise and a vertically integrated factory that I’m proud to say has made TRM a preferred and sole source supplier to U.S. DoD programs for over 20 years.
MPD: Overall, how would you compare the health of the industry compared with years past?
We’re seeing a much healthier and positive industry in the areas we serve. TRM is currently setting revenue records quarter over quarter. 2018 will be the best revenue year in our 48-year history. We’re forecasting 24-37% revenue growth for 2019. We continue projections of new records year after year due to higher volume we’re already involved in. This massive accelerated growth is atypical compared to years before. The health of the industry absolutely has impact, but there are other factors as well. For the last three years, we participated in the U.S. DoD Mentor-Protégé Program with Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems as our mentor. They are also a key customer and have played an integral role in streamlining our processes and investments to help us be a better supplier. In fact, we’re proud to say our MPP partnership with Raytheon led to a joint win of the US DOD’s 2017 Nunn-Perry Award for Outstanding Execution. Our customers are also rewarding us with new design opportunities due to our innovative product solutions. These solutions have shown them where the value lies in our capabilities. For us, it means staying close and listening to our customers — the relationship helps us apply ourselves and we benefit from the robust health of the industry.
MPD: What RF and microwave technologies will be driving the industry in 2019?
As a defense focused company producing passive assemblies, we’re seeing the market shift into digital and surface-mount capabilities, multi-layer assemblies and custom software playing a much larger role in systems. Our customers are looking for low-risk practical solutions to their system needs. They rely on our proven technologies, but this is where we’re innovative in developing and adapting our product designs. They have to work with today’s new systems. Our passive products sit between active systems, so they must integrate. We often surprise our major prime defense customers with clever design solutions to problems that appear to be impossible to solve. As our enemies increase their technology, our warfighters need solutions now and the government is requiring shorter time to market. In our collaborative approach, we focus on taking time out of the equation so our customers can develop their systems and ultimately deliver to our military faster.