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Mandli Communications, Inc. was founded by Raymond and Tracie Mandli in 1983 and is located in Madison, Wisconsin. Mandli Communications is an industry leader in the design and development of highly specialized digital imaging, data collection equipment, and operational methodologies for various Departments of Transportation throughout the world
Mandli has always been a company willing to take on a good challenge. From their earliest work, producing interactive optical disc training videos, to the current suit of state-of-the-art tools and technologies, they have continuously raised the bar in the industries they participate in. Today, a majority of their projects are based around the efficient collection and reduction of highway infrastructure data to help in the maintenance of roads and the support assets like signs, guardrails, and bridges. The tools they have developed to accomplish this task include high definition digital cameras that create photologs of the roadways, custom software to analyze and present the data, advanced pavement scanning systems, and a collection of laser measuring products including LiDAR that can gather 3D data at over 1 million points per second.
The company’s long history of success can be explained by its ability to innovate. In 2009, Mandli took a huge step towards bringing a new generation of innovative technologies to the market by acquiring the assets needed to begin a crucial research and development cycle. With the help of a $1 million SBA loan, Mandli was able to make a considerable investment in new technology that resulted in a significant increase in revenues and profitability.
Mandli Communication’s has taken these innovations and applied them to projects around the country. One example would be the use of LiDAR to take a complex and dangerous survey project and turn it into something quite simple and safe to accomplish. The Orange Crush, a freeway interchange in the city of Orange, California, has one of the highest occupancy rates for cars and trucks in the nation The State of California was researching the ability to add an additional “high occupancy vehicle” lane to this interchange and needed to know the exact measurements of the current roadway to determine if the existing structures were wide enough to add the lane. With technology developed by Mandli, a full scan of the interchange was collected and a complete set of data was delivered the following day with all the measurements needed by the state. Without this technology, crews would have had to measure the roadway manually which could have taken weeks, been less accurate and had potential safety issues for both the collection team and the driving public.
Another Use of the LiDAR was in the creation of a commercial for Major League Baseball to advertise the 2010 All Star Game in Anaheim CA. Mandli was asked to provide a digital solid model of Angel Stadium by scanning it with one of their mobile LiDAR collection vehicles that just happen to be a short distance away while working for the Nevada DOT. The crew dove to Anaheim and spent about an hour scanning the stadium. The digital data was sent back to Madison and 30 hours later the 3D model was finished and ready for delivery. They process used by Mandli saved the company making the commercial more than 3 weeks of work if they had to create the stadium model from scratch.
Mandli Communications assisted the New York Port Authority at the LaGuardia Airport when they needed to inspect the condition of the runways as part of their regular maintenance program. The airport’s typical method of inspection is to shut down a runway during daylight hours and have crews walk and drive the runways to make visual inspections. Using the Mandli pavement scanning technology, they were able to complete the scan in hours during the nighttime slowdown period saving the Port Authority time and money, avoiding the disrupting air traffic and providing accurate and usable data while significantly reducing safety risks.
In the 28 years that Mandli Communications has been in business, the tools and technology that they have used has changed dramatically. For a technology company to remain relevant, it has to have continuous research and development so they can adapt to that change. Mandli has responded by being first to market with robust, well thought out solutions such as the first all digital photolog image collection system, integration of mobile GPS into the collection of all data streams, development of new pavement scanning technologies, and the incorporation of laser technology to determine accurate bridge clearances. Mandli has proven it can develop, deploy and deliver results from its technologies. The next product coming to market is a new sign retroflectivity collection system that will meet the Federal Highways mandate that goes into affect beginning in 2012. Mandli has developed the technology to meet that need and will deploy that technology before the end of this year.
Raymond and Tracie Mandli have tried to stay actively involved in their surrounding community. Over the years, they have participated by sitting on committees that have developed school policy, planned budgets, generated fundraising and worked to get a referendum passed to build a new school. They have also committed time and resources to the meals on wheels program, the local fire department and the school to work program that mentors high school kids. The program employs high school students in real world applications of skills they are learning in high school and beyond. The students start while they are still in high school and Mandli Communications hires the students to work with the programming and IT personnel within their operations. Many students continue to work with Mandli Communications through their college studies and several of the program participants are still employed with the company.
Mandli Communications, Inc. has shown resilience, growth and evolved with new technologies. They have transformed from an operation of two employees to a high tech company of more than 85 employees. Revenues, profitability, asset size and other metrics have reflected positive trends over the last three years. Mandli’s success is attributed to the vision, expertise, and business savvy of owners Raymond and Tracie Mandli. They have become an industry leader, innovator and example to others. Mandli Communications, Inc. was named Wisconsin's SBA 2011 Runner-Up Small Business Person of the Year because of their entrepreneurial spirit and fortitude. SBA is proud to have been of assistance to Mandli Communications, Inc., and looks forward to watching them grow and continue to succeed.