InsightsBrandingManufacturingRenewal And Revitalization On Manufacturing Day

Renewal And Revitalization On Manufacturing Day

Sprout was incorporated as an official LLC in 2016 (check) with the grand vision of providing expert marketing services to companies that typically couldn’t afford them – especially mid-stage businesses striving to bring important, new technologies to market. 

The idea had been germinating for quite some time prior to launch, synched to my all-time favorite assignment in my 20-year tenure as a Kodak marketing executive. After years in the motion picture film division, and then serving the company’s traditional print businesses, I had the opportunity to help repurpose Kodak’s largest manufacturing campus from a vast film-making facility into a multi-use, multi-tenant technology park. 

It wasn’t just an effort to fill general office and storage space. Rather it was an audacious plan to find new purpose for this immense manufacturing infrastructure and the talented workforce that had once been solely tasked with the making of film products. But as we liked to say back then, “Making film and the ability to make film are two very different things.” 

The ability to make film on a large scale (dating back to the late 1800s) required complex chemistry, imaging science and advanced coating technologies, amongst hundreds of other core capabilities. From this original technology platform, a world-class scientific community grew along with a 1,200-acre industrial campus with over 16 million square feet of manufacturing, distribution and lab space – plus distillation tanks, a wastewater treatment facility, self-contained utilities and a private railway system. 

Our goal was to connect Kodak’s existing infrastructure and know-how with nascent companies working on new technologies vital to the future of clean energy and next generation bio products. 

I’m very proud of the work our small but mighty team accomplished during that time, resulting in nearly 120 new tenant companies occupying this space today, while creating jobs and repurposing the existing infrastructure. I am immensely grateful for learnings I was afforded throughout this unique experience, which totally changed my professional trajectory. 

It gave me my first exposure to state and federal agencies, such as the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy. Our team also worked closely with elected officials, often interacting with the Governor’s office and our congressional representatives. We wrote and managed grants. We met regularly with universities and their technology transfer offices. We pitched to startups in technology incubators up and down the East Coast corridor. We founded our own technology accelerator, the Innovation Manufacturing and Materials Science Institute, which became a centerpiece of regional economic development efforts. We blew up buildings and rebuilt labs and scale-up facilities. Most importantly, we landed new tenants that used our existing equipment and intellectual capital to speed their path to commercialization of solar cells, battery films and components for super conductors – amongst many other critical products in the burgeoning Circular Economy.  

It’s where I got ‘the bug’ for entrepreneurial start-ups and developed a passion for helping scientists and visionaries to succeed – very much including the ability to produce at scale (which is a very different proposition than inventing or testing prototypes in the lab). It gave me the idea for Sprout as not just a marketing entity, but as a true growth partner for companies that need our help the most.

In recognition of Manufacturing Day, we’ll be publishing a series of posts representing some foundational insights stemming from this and the team’s related experiences in the industrial segment. They continue to inform the way we conduct business and best serve our clients across all sectors. Stay tuned!


Our values and principles

We believe in promoting authentic voices and adapting to the ever-changing marketplace needs.  To keep ourselves aligned with client needs and ahead of an increasingly complex marketplace, we have created a set of six corporate values by which to live:

Authenticity

No frills, no buzz words, no tricks. We will show up authentically in every interaction, and we will work to impart that authenticity into your brand.​

Savvy

We leverage our extensive experience, thousands of hours, projects, programs, and activations to prioritize your needs and seize opportunities.​

Integrity

From our pricing structure, to the promises we make- and even owning the occasional mistake, we will always aspire to fairness and honesty in our partnerships. ​

Co-Creativity

Our job is to help uncover and tell your story, and that means our best work starts with you. We are committed to listening and understanding first, and then delivering.​

Sustainability

We repurpose existing investments by leveraging historical assets, back-stories and images. Our continuous marketing support, instead of one-off projects, prepares clients for the future.​

Diligence

We stay humble and dedicated to our craft. With a blue-collar work ethic, we produce smart, creative products promptly and within budget.​

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