PADT Inc. was founded by a group of aerospace engineers who felt that the tools and skills they used to design, analyze, and prototype turbomachinery could also be applied to other industries. In the summer of 1994, they joined forces to form Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies, Inc., better known as PADT.
The first office was a one-man executive suite. They crammed four people and three computers into this tiny room and started calling potential customers. Slowly but surely, work started to come in and the company was off and running. With the purchase of a 3D Systems SLA250 Rapid Prototyping machine at the end of 1994, PADT became the first independent Rapid Prototyping service provider in Arizona.
When the lease was up on the tiny executive suite, the search began for a larger facility that had room for both engineering services and rapid prototyping. A small suite in the eastern Phoenix suburb of Gilbert was discovered, and soon PADT had moved into the Fiesta Tech Center.
Initial Growth (1995-1999)
The number of customers that PADT was working with continued to grow until it became obvious that the founders and a few moonlighters could not keep up with demand. The next step was to find and hire like-minded engineers and technicians to grow the company. Many of PADT’s core employees joined the company between 1995 and 1999. In addition to the engineers and technicians, PADT began to build a sales staff.
Near the end of this initial growth period PADT also forged its most important business partnership. PADT became a sub-distributor and then a full distributor for ANSYS, Inc., a company that soon, through growth and acquisition, became the world’s largest provider of simulation software. In these early days with ANSYS, Inc., PADT sold and supported software in Arizona and New Mexico.
Full Service for Product Development (1999-2002)
In 1999, PADT decided to grow in the area of product development and sought and won funding under the U.S. Government’s Small Business Initiative Research (SBIR) program. Leveraging simulation technologies, in-house prototyping, and engineering experience, these projects sought to break through the technical barriers in efficiency and sizing of rotating and power related machinery. The company also formed specific groups to tackle the entire product development project from concept to prototype. Success in this new area, and strengthening our experience in Simulation and Rapid Prototyping began to pay off and PADT saw its fastest growth to date. PADT expanded its head count and the number of customers it served.
An Established and
Growing Concern (2002-2009)
Another milestone occurred in 2002 when PADT moved from its Gilbert facility to a new, larger facility at the Arizona State University Research Park in Tempe. The new facility, with over 15,000 square feet, allowed an expansion in testing, manufacturing, and inspection that was not available before. All areas of the company grew in 2001 and 2002, but the Power System Group grew the most, with the awarding of a total of four Phase II SBIR projects. In addition, many of PADT’s initial investigations transferred from research into development projects for a variety of commercial companies.
In March 2004, PADT celebrated its 10th anniversary with an open house that was attended by more than 250 customers and with a user group meeting for the local ANSYS user community. The event was also marked by the expansion of the company into an adjacent suite to allow for more lab, office, and manufacturing space. The move brought the total facility up to 24,000 square feet and includes a lobby that is actually slightly bigger than PADT’s original executive suite.
During this time PADT became an established and stable company that continued to see consistent growth in each of its business area. Now firmly established the company focused on increasing the breadth and depth of solutions that we could offered to our customers. This included becoming a reseller of Stratasys 3D Prototyping Equipment, adding injection molding capabilities to manufacturing, increasing the test facilities on site, and building long term partnerships with vendors.
Another critical investment made during this time was the establishment of PADT Medical. This group with PADT’s product development department, is focused on carrying out medical device product development.
An Industry Leader
(2009 and 2013)
PADT celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2009 and is now recognized by many as an industry leader. Having broken through the barrier of 50 employees and over 750 named customers, PADT was no longer a start-up company.
Since that celebration, PADT has continued to grow and solidify its reputation as a trusted partner to companies large and small. It soon became obvious that it was time for PADT to give back to the Arizona technology community by participating as angel investors and mentors through the Arizona Technology Investor Forum (ATIF) and other organizations. The company also became very active in the Arizona Technology Council and several charity efforts.
During this time PADT also made two very significant investments. The first was to purchase the building they occupied from ASU in 2010. This 44,000 square foot facility was renamed the PADT Innovation Center, and with three other tenants, PADT was able to add “property management” to its growing list of businesses. The second investment was the opening of an office in Littleton, Colorado to support the company’s growing success in Colorado and Utah.
Some other milestones that occurred during this period include:
- The growth of PADT’s compute cluster to over 100 nodes
- Launch of the company’s first commercial product, the Support Cleaning Apparatus
- Being chosen by Stratasys, Inc. to distribute their complete line of FORTUS, DIMENSION and uPrint prototyping machines
- The launch of the company’s first on-line store, PADTMarket.com
- Replacement of its original SLA250 Machine with two more modern SLA systems
- The addition of Polyjet, CNC, and Cross Sectional Scanning Tools to its rapid prototyping services
- Becoming a reseller for the Flownex System Fluid-Thermal Simulation tool, CGI Cross Sectional Scanning Systems, NDI Laser Scanners, and Geomagic Software
PADT’s leadership status was affirmed by the Arizona Business and Technology community in 2011 when the company was awarded the ASU WP Carey Spirit of Enterprise Leadership Award and the Arizona Governor’s Celebration of Innovation Pioneering Award, presented by the Arizona Technology Council and the Arizona Commerce Authority.
A lot happened from 2012 to 2013 as the company grew to over 80 employees for the first time and a second branch office, this time in Albuquerque, New Mexico was added. PADT also expanded its product offering with a CUBE computer systems, workstations, servers, and clusters, designed specifically for users of simulation software. PADT's internal compute infrastructure also grew to over 1,300 cores. Another major achievement was obtained when the medical device group became ISO 13485:2003 certified.
During this period PADT's partners ANSYS, Inc. and Stratasys grew considerably through acquisition, allowing PADT to offer new products such as ANSYS Maxwell and ANSYS Simplorer as well as Additive Manufacturing machines from Objet.
In 2014 PADT celebrated 20 years of being in business, and event we were happy to celebrate with our families, customers, and vendors. Our 20th year also saw the introduction of new products like the Geomagic Scanner and a growth in staff to over 80 employees.
Our 20th year was a mixed bag. We lost one of PADT's owners, Mark Johnson, at the end of 2014 to cancer. Although PADT will go on, it will be a different place without him. On a brighter note, we saw continued growth and strategic plans that led to opening an office in Utah and growing our business across the company.
The Third Decade Starts
The first half of 2015 can easily be crowned the winner for most new things at one time. We started by bringing on a full time engineer dedicated to 3D Scanning as well as adding Steinbichler scanners to our product offering. The software sales group added topologocial optimization from VR&D and geometry creation and modification from SpaceClaim to their portfolio as well. Then we anounced the launch of the second generation of the Support Cleaning Aparatus, or SCA, in April. That was followed by the launching of PADT's cloud HPC colution, CoresOnDemand. Our fifth physical office, PADT StartUpLabs in Phoenix, celebrated it's grand opening in April as well. However, the biggest change for the year so far was the acquisition of CADCAM Systems by PADT in May, growing PADT's 3D Printer customer base in Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico.
A long term goal of expanding into California was achieved at the end of 2015 with a office in Torrance for ANSYS Sales and Support in Southern California. The ANSYS team also added high frequency electromagnetics as a key focus. Continued growth across the company rounded out 2015 and started 2016 with many new challenges.
Since 1994, PADT has grown to become the most respected product development engineering service provider in the region. By sticking to its core principles and growing its skill and technology base. The company has positioned itself to continue this by providing the best solutions … at the best price … in the best time to all new and current customers.
Updated in April, 2016
Company photo, April 2016