NMSBA assists small businesses like IC Tech, which do not have the resources or expertise to solve fairly technical problems. NMSBA basically fills a major niche for technical companies here in New Mexico.
Imagine technology capable of remotely turning on or off a pump or other device while constantly collecting data so that users can respond to changing conditions without having to travel. At IC Tech, located in Albuquerque, engineers develop and implement such automated systems to help customers monitor water flows.
IC Tech sells a land-based radio with firmware custom-designed for its microprocessor units. The company was experiencing glitches with this radio that they just couldn’t pin down. To troubleshoot the problem, they needed someone who knew C programming and understood SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition), telemetry, and radio functionality. They tried to hire various individuals and companies to help, but no one around had the knowledge required. When Brad Buffington learned his company could take advantage of engineering services from the national labs through NMSBA, he decided to ask for help.
Buffington found working with NMSBA easy and efficient. They connected him with Michael Holzrichter and Don Small, two scientists at Sandia National Laboratories who possessed the expertise to identify and resolve the problematic portions of the firmware. The end result: no more glitches.
The improvements have enabled IC Tech to expand the system used by the New Mexico State Engineer and Interstate Stream Commission. The company gained $80,000 in additional revenues, enabling them to hire one part-time person. Buffington expects the job to become full-time next year.