Success Stories

Kelly Mendell is the president and majority owner of MIKEL, a woman-owned, leading undersea warfare technology company in Middletown. In 1999, Kelly’s father, Brian Guimond, started MIKEL, in 2002 Kelly joined him and by 2008 was the company’s President.

Kelly’s journey began at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she majored in engineering and began interning in a machine shop gaining hands-on experience in manufacturing, planning, materials, and quality control. Kelly graduated from UMASS with her BS in Industrial Engineering and from Babson College with an MBA and would go to work for companies including Polaroid, Gillette, and Raytheon working as both an industrial engineer and manufacturing manager.

In 2002, after the birth of her daughter Laura, Kelly joined MIKEL as the Managing Director. Kelly was responsible for managing all aspects of the business including billing, payroll, contracts, accounting, benefits, financial tracking, sales, and... Read More

AVTECH Software, a private corporation founded in 1988 by Michael Sigourney, is a computer hardware and software developer and manufacturer.  Since its founding AVTECH has continuously expanded their offerings, growing from a startup software developer to a small business with international reach.

Their progression was not immediate but gradual, taking the addition of key personnel and co-owners including CFO, Anne Sigourney and President and COO, Richard Grundy. Anne joined AVTECH in 1997, managing the accounting, administration and human resources departments while Richard came onboard in 2001, growing through engineering leadership roles and now overseeing day to day operations and executing the strategic growth plan.

With key personnel in place AVTECH worked to create a strong infrastructure, including the 2008 SBA loan funded purchase of its headquarters at Cutler Mill in Warren, RI. The facility continues to be a center of growth for AVTECH as well as the... Read More

Ann Kaiser

Ann Kaiser is the CEO of ProjectEngin, a STEM education consulting firm specifically focused on the inclusion of engineering design in the K-12 classroom. At ProjectEngin they believe there is no “right” answer, they believe in the idea that every student can define a problem, evaluate solutions, modify them, and reach an optimized final product. No problem or project is ever necessarily finished, but creates an education path to create a way of learning for the rest of their lives.

Ann drives her curricular and pedagogical efforts with the idea that innovative solutions to current and future challenges will require the combined efforts and talents of diverse thinkers. By educating the educators, ProjectEngin is creating a classroom culture of “engineers” who are not afraid to fail, an environment where a student’s imagination and vision is bolstered, promoting respect for each other’s divergent opinions; a brewing pot of collaboration. “Most of us engineer every day, we... Read More

Small Business Person of the Year: Blue Moon Industries; a Pillar of Technological Excellence in Rhode Island

Gary Palardy, President and CEO of Blue Moon Industries, began his journey into business at the age of 17 where he started as a co-op student working for the computer division of Raytheon (Data Systems). Gary credits much of his success to the mentors he encountered there and the success driven mindset instilled in him. He began working in minicomputer design, writing machine-level diagnostic software and software to stress test various peripheral equipment. Gary soon moved into working with operating systems design and development but with the introduction of the microprocessor the market changed. An explosion of opportunity presented itself and required a new way of thinking towards; in was an environment in which Gary would thrive.

By 1991, an opportunity to create his business for selling, implementing, and supporting Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems presented itself and he created Blue Moon Industries. Blue Moon was created to provide business software and... Read More