Fred Miller of Seicon Limited
Meet Fred Miller, founder of Seicon Limited, a shock and vibration isolation company.
What is Seicon Limited?
We have exclusive rights with 10 patents to new, unique technology for shock and vibration isolation. That is, to reduce the transmission of vibration generated by mechanical or other activity to surrounding structures, equipment or people.
What's the back story?
The holder of the initial patents is a sculptor and college professor, John Cunningham. He needed to move large pieces of stone in his studio by himself. He discovered a unique way to accomplish this task which led to his utilization of the same technique as a vibration isolator or shock absorber. Later he discovered that he could adjust the isolator to meet changing operating or environmental conditions while it was still fully loaded. This capability is unique to our technology. An interesting aspect of Professor Cunningham’s development is his theory that his method of moving large stones in his studio was used by the Egyptians to build the pyramids.
What was the biggest surprise in starting your business?
The lack of risk taking and creativity in large American companies combined with serious reservations to adopt new, unique methodology, particularly when not invented by the company. This manifests itself in many ways from the board room to senior engineers and researchers who seem resistant to new ideas, particularly when the “not invented here” syndrome comes to the forefront.
Where did you find your first employee?
The company’s first employee was a mechanical engineer who promoted the technology and saw the multitude of applications but could not convince his employer to utilize it. He then became a non-compensated consultant to the company and continues his involvement. Our second employee left a high-paying position with a large research laboratory to join the company at about 30 percent of his previous salary. He has made significant contributions to the new product development.
What does a typical day in your business look like?
At Seicon as with most start-ups, there is no typical day. Every day presents different challenges to increase product sales, to consult with existing or potential customers regarding their problems and how our technology and products can help, and to apply our technology to solve specific vibration or shock problems presented to us.
What are some of the advantages to doing business in Ohio?
Generally easy access to research and educational facilities, geographical access to large populations centers, good manufacturing and testing facilities, and bright, interested young people.
What resources or organizations in Ohio did you take advantage of and how did they help?
We have not had the support we had hoped from Ohio’s development programs, but access to universities continues to be beneficial.
Can you share a funny or amazing entrepreneurial experience with our readers?
Although not exactly an entrepreneurial experience, it is always fun to watch peoples’ faces and body language when they initially observe the effectiveness of the technology and its extremely unique tuning capability. Shock, surprise, amazement and sometimes even a hint of disbelief are on most faces or in their comments.
What inspires you?
Solving problems that are causing stress or discomfort in peoples’ lives is a very positive aspect to what we do. Also knowing that we have not yet scratched the surface of the breadth of applications and benefits this technology provides is very exciting.
Can you share some of your favorite off-time activities or hobbies?
There is not much time for off-time activities or hobbies for me, but spending time with my grandchildren who, except for one, are now adults has taken most of my free time and probably will continue to do so since our six-year-old still enjoys spending time with grandparents. As long as he wants to do so, then we will also.
What founders do you admire and why?
Henry Ford, because he believed the automobile was more than a luxury and would be utilized and benefit every person if produced efficiently so as to be affordable, which he then did.
What’s next for you?
Maybe time for a good book or two.
Interview by Joe Baur