Following the American Way
Growing up in humble beginnings, Curtis Landi says he couldn’t imagine one day running a thriving business in the heart of Silicon Valley. His company, Supracor, manufactures a variety of advanced plastic honeycomb materials that it then processes into a diverse array of high-end products from seat cushions to medical supplies to luxury consumer goods.
And though Supracor’s products are sold worldwide – in fact, the company sells more overseas than it does domestically – every product is entirely made in the United States. Even the raw materials come from U.S. manufacturers and suppliers.
What’s more, Landi hires from the local community in California, frequently pulling from within high-need communities such as those from meager means striving to secure a better future.
Landi has had many opportunities to speak with other small business owners, and he says they are all aware of how much the United States depends on their hard work.
“The little guy – the worker, the one with the small business – they all know the truth,” Landi says. “When we get together and talk, we all agree that this country runs on us.”
Small business owners agree that the path to success is simply the American way, Landi says: hard work, innovative quality products and sacrifice when necessary. And more specifically, they applaud efforts to offer incentives to independent investors to invest in start-ups that manufacture here at home.
As for Supracor, it has been expanding despite some internal limits. It doesn’t take in venture capital funding; it pursues no loans. It’s simply not the way Landi wants to run his business.
“Instead, we just keep a tight belt buckle on what we spend,” he says. “We don’t have the advantages of the companies that have a ton of money. No, I save money up, I test the water before I jump in.”
That approach extends to his own finances. Landi is so dedicated to his company and its growth that he has sacrificed the occasional bonus – and sometimes his salary – for the long-term success of his business.
After all, for Landi, the success is the reward. It’s just what small business owners are supposed to do.
Ari Matusiak is Executive Director of the White House Business Council