With a high-profile win at the fourth annual San Joaquin Entrepreneur Challenge, local firm NX Stage Security hope to get a little more name recognition.
The business is located at the industrial complex in Riverbank, site of the former Army Ammunition Plant on Claus Road, and manufactures security doors and windows. They have a patent pending and security doors and window guards are installed directly over the surface of the existing doors and windows. They manufacture the doors and windows with galvanized steel. The business was declared the winner of the recent ‘challenge’ – topping, among others, Riverbank’s Sandra Sanchez and her soup-in-a-tea-bag idea – and picked up some cash for the victory.
CEO, Rich Ison of NX Stage Security, explained that they are an intrusion prevention company. They design, manufacture, sell and install a complete line of products to protect every door and window in a home. The security doors and windows are available in custom designs in over 100 colors. The slider that they designed can be opened with one finger. The company will be stocking their product at Lowes and Home Depot.
“It is a bar less solution,” said Ison. “It is the only one of its kind in the world.”
Ison, Michael McNulty, and Matthew McNulty are all partners in NX Stage and have had the doors of the business open for about three years now. Although they have only been in business for approximately three years, they actually have been doing iron work for many more than that; Michael and Matt invented the doors and have worked with iron for over 20 years.
When asked how the idea originated, Ison said, “Through seeing the needs that weren’t being met in the marketplace … we designed the slider.”
NX Stage became a tenant of the Riverbank Industrial Complex approximately a year and a half ago. They started out in Oakdale with their sister business called Ideas in Iron. The business designs furniture, railings, and unique items out of iron. The business is continuing to grow so they needed a bigger facility. The Industrial Complex had the room they needed and was the right fit for their business.
“We picked this place because of how friendly it was to business (Industrial Complex),” expressed Ison. “It’s like having a whole team of people in your corner. It’s one of the best-kept secrets.”
The San Joaquin Entrepreneur Challenge is a multi-round competition hosted by the San Joaquin Angels. The San Joaquin Angels are an investment group located in San Joaquin County that invests time and money into entrepreneurs throughout the valley.
To participate in the challenge an entry form must be submitted by a deadline and from the entries, 20 participants are selected to compete in Round One of the challenge. The entrepreneurs had to give a two-minute presentation to a panel of judges and an audience. Then eight out of the 20 participants were selected to move on to the second round.
The final competition was held on Wednesday, March 20 at the Stockton Golf and Country Club, where each finalist gave a five-minute detailed presentation of their invention and then competition dropped from eight to four challenge finalists. The four remaining finalists then were put in a challenging business situation. After careful consideration the judges and audience selected a winner and a runner up.
As first place winners in the competition NX Stage Security was awarded $17,000 in cash and business services such as accounting, legal advice, and marketing.
Jamie Norwood of Oakdale was the runner up in the challenge with the DigUSOut website that promotes American-made products. The website helps people find products that are made in the U.S.A. Norwood was awarded $7,000 in cash and services.
In a press release issued by the San Joaquin Angels, President Mark Plovnick, who is also University of the Pacific Director of Economic Development, stated the organization’s mission: “San Joaquin Angels is a private syndicate of angel investors whose goal is to help develop promising start-up and early stage companies in the San Joaquin region.”
Plovnick continued, “We hope that the San Joaquin Entrepreneur Challenge will help stimulate business development in our region by encouraging aspiring local entrepreneurs to pursue their goals through an entertaining business plan competition that offers mentoring, cash prizes and access to investors.”
The former Riverbank Army Ammunition Plant, now the Riverbank Industrial Complex, has a lot to offer its tenants, explained Debbie Olson, LRA Executive Director. Olson added that the complex is a very secure business site and does offer 24/7 security.
“Tenants say that (security) is one of the most important things to them,” said Olson.
The complex has enough room for the different tenants to have separation between each other. Also, anything the Army left behind is allowed to be used by their tenants, she noted. The LRA will work with tenants on a marketing plan for the businesses and make sure they get credit for what they’ve done.
They started out with only seven to eight contracts with a few businesses. Now they have 34 tenants and plan to keep growing.
Intuitive Motion is one of the tenants at the complex and they have received numerous awards. Intuitive Motion manufactures the innovative new technology used on the Z-Board. They use 3-D printers that take in plastic to make some of their parts. They have been featured on CNN, the Travel Channel, and the Wall Street Journal.
Castle Pest Control calls the complex home as well and they offer pest control solutions. They started out with only two people, but have been growing in the short time that they have been at the complex.
T-Mobile rents the on-site water tower so they can put their cell towers on it.
The LRA went through a lengthy preparation process to make sure they were ready to have businesses in the complex. With some of the challenges that the LRA faced when they first got on to the property, they had to get creative to solve them.
“We had to learn a lot about the site really quickly,” said Olson, noting that having taken over when the Army left the location brought a variety of clean up issues and governmental regulations.
The complex needed to have better IT communications, Olson added, so they reduced the rent for an IT company that brought the technology solutions that they needed.
“I think some of these tenants are just incredible,” said Olson. “We really built a loyal group of tenants and we are loyal to them.”
Riverbank Industrial Complex has a bright future, according to Olson.
“I really think that having the right team behind you, clarifying your vision, the community is very supportive, and putting one foot in front of the other,” said Olson of how they will keep moving forward.