From the rural roots of Moscow, Idaho emerged a computer measurement and security company whose technological research has contributed to enhance our nation’s defense. With an opportunity to utilize their experience and education in electrical engineering and design technologies, John Munson and Rick Hoover created Computer Measurement Laboratory (CML) and began to pursue federal grants for technological innovation.
John was a professor at the University of Idaho’s College of Engineering when he first heard of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. It is a highly competitive grant program that encourages entrepreneurs in the private sector to conduct technological research and development for the federal government. The grant funds critical startup and development stages of projects and enables small businesses to compete in the same arena as larger businesses. Small businesses can also develop their technology for commercialization and profit.
One of the SBIR topics offered at the time was an extension of one of John’s research specialties and provided an excellent opportunity for him to form a company and pursue the grant. Realizing the possibilities at hand, John quickly contacted Rick who had over 20 years of engineering and design experience in the private sector. The two formed CML in 2007 and began operations in the university’s small business incubator.
Shortly after forming their company, John and Rick applied for their first SBIR grant. Within two months of submitting their application and just four months after creating their company, CML was awarded their first grant. This grant enabled the company to begin the first phase of their military defense research project and paved the way for five additional SBIR grants.
With the ability to use grant funds to pay for project costs, operating overhead, and employee salaries, John and Rick began to expand their company. When they heard the business incubator that housed their company was shutting down, the company decided to move their operations to Meridian, Idaho. Not only would the move provide more options for business locations, it would also offer access to more technical people for future hiring. Their move paid off; CML is now conveniently located in the Treasure Valley and has effectively grown to eight employees.
Explaining how the SBIR grants have helped his company, Rick stated, “The SBIR grant is how we were even able to start our business in the first place. The grants have enabled our company to continue important technological research and development, expand our contracting services, and begin new product line development. We could never have accomplished all this without this program.”