Columbia Tech Helps Entrepreneurs Realize Visions

March 28, 2016

Westborough, MA – March 28, 2016

Columbia Tech helps entrepreneurs realize visions

Jim Coghlin, Sr., chairman of the Coghlin Cos. (in the black jacket) with his two sons, Jim Coghlin, Jr., chief operating officer (far left) and Chris Coghlin, CEO (far right) and Chris Palermo, CFO Coghlin Companies/GM Columbia Tech.

Say you’re a startup founder with a brilliant idea for a medical device or a new way to use solar power. The problem is, you have no way to actually build the thing and no time to sort through manufacturers who could.

Don’t worry. Columbia Tech is there for you.

The Westborough company provides engineering and manufacturing services for clients in fields from pharmaceuticals to homeland security. Just as importantly, if there’s any service it can’t provide, chances are, it can figure out someone else who’s perfect for the job.
Since 2014, Columbia has run the Referral Alliance Network, which provides a smooth path for getting products made fast. Chris Coghlin, president and CEO, said the company works with local and international partners to do everything from designing circuit boards to turning around a big run of products.
“By doing this, we keep it in the family, and we develop very trustful relationships,” Coghlin said.
The complex web of Columbia’s partnerships includes Applied Interactive, a Worcester marketing firm that reaches out to innovators who are just in the process of developing their ideas. When those entrepreneurs respond, they need fast, smart guidance, he said.
“When that phone rings or when that lead comes in, it means they need help now,” Coghlin said. “We can help them ourselves or get them in the hands of a partner.”

Among the companies that Columbia looks to for help is Optimum Technologies, a Southbridge medical device developer. Optimum CEO Randal Chinnock said when a client comes to Columbia to get a medical device manufactured, the company often reaches out to Optimum.

“More often than not, the product isn’t really ready for prime time,” Chinnock said. “If they haven’t been through the process of developing medical devices specifically… you will have missed things.”

Optimum helps clients with design work, making sure the devices meet with the standards used by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, before Columbia turns out the designs into products.

Similar stories play out in all the industries Columbia operates in. Phil Holman, president of Fourstar Connections Inc. in Hudson, said Columbia calls his firm in when they need cable assemblies and other components for electronic systems.
“One of the things they sell is time to market, so it’s a very challenging environment to work in,” Holman said. “All the processing has to happen quickly.”
The partnership works because both companies can apply their own areas of technical expertise to seek out cost savings and efficient ways of getting the work done, Holman said.

Aside from its clients, partners and suppliers, Columbia works closely with local high schools and colleges, meeting with students to develop the next generation of talent for local businesses.

“We’re very passionate about forming collaborations locally and nationally to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts,” Coughlin said.

Read the original press release, here. 

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