Arkansas Power Electronics International Inc.
Category: Category II (26-75 Employees)
Arkansas Power Electronics International Inc. is a scratch-built company in northwest Arkansas that’s still growing.
APEI started in 1997 in Fayetteville with a single employee. Since then it’s grown to 36-strong, boasting eight Ph.D.s among its members.
The company designs and manufactures high-power electronics using silicon carbide conductors.
“We focus on utilizing advanced semiconductors, circuit designs and packaging techniques to make the most efficient power electronics we can offer,” said Ty McNutt, APEI’s director of business development.
At its genesis, APEI was solely focused on research and development. It wasn’t until December 2010 that it built a high-volume manufacturing facility in Fayetteville.
“That was a very important point in our history,” McNutt said. Now, the company is building a second, 10,000-SF manufacturing base.
APEI seeks out the most driven engineers, technicians and administrators possible, McNutt said. “We consider the excellent people we’ve hired as a foundation to our highly successful company,” he said.
Because of its climb from a single employee, APEI believes strongly in a bootstrap methodology. “We built this company through a lot of sweat,” McNutt said. “We’ve had no external investors to date, so we think long term, 10 to 20 years.”
Investor-funded companies tend to think in the short term, eyeing profits over innovation, McNutt said. “In the technology world, we’re a very different kind of company to have that kind of long-term vision.”