Michael Bartholomeusz was hired as CEO of Draper-based company HZO in July 2013 to manage the company’s growth and operational excellence. HZO has created a product that protects electronic devices from corrosion and extended liquid immersion, virtually making worrying about water damaging electronic devices a thing of the past.
Describe your business and the services you provide.
We provide a solution to our customers called a nano coating. It’s the application of the nano coating inside of electronic devices so that you don’t see it, touch it or use it. It’s invisible to the end user. It’s applied to the devices which renders them liquid proof. You can have your cell phone in your pocket when you’re doing laps in the pool. You can drop your e-reader into your bathtub. The case is like the mosquito net. We are like the vaccination.
Describe your role at HZO.
The company has transitioned from commercialization to growth, and I was hired to manage the growth phase. My focus at HZO has been operational excellence to support that growth. Our business lifecycle involves three elements: initiation with the customer, execution with a customer and realization of the solution in the market with the customer. The challenge is to make those individual cycles as short as possible, so we’re shrinking the life cycle of our product so we can go to market faster. By doing so we can increase our bandwidth to accommodate more and more customers. Six months ago, we had 20 customers. Today, we have 40 customers. In the next six months, we will have close to 70 to 80 customers.
Describe your contribution to HZO’s growth.
A lot of my job has entailed hiring talent, putting together comprehensive organizational development programs, and ensuring that we have the right organizational platforms. I also ensure that we have the right enterprise planning and information-systems platforms so that the team members who are disbursed around the globe have the tools to get the job done and are aligned to what they need to do to meet common objectives.
Give an example of where you’ve been able to implement these programs.
Every employee is a stakeholder at HZO. Every employee’s quarterly and annual goals have a clear description of what their goals are. They understand that what they are held accountable for impacts the company’s planning process. This platform ensures alignment of all resources and ensures that all of us, everything we do, is to support this. And if it doesn’t, we don’t do it. I’ve been a strong advocate and champion of implementing this over the past six months.
What do you hope to accomplish in the near future?
In the next 18 to 24 months, HZO is going to change where and how people use electronics. I often think to myself, “How did I do without this device 10 years ago?” In the next 12 to 18 months, we want people to ask, “How did I do without these devices before they were liquid proof?” That’s the paradigm shift we are enabling in the industry.
This is not just in consumer electronics with phones and tablets and e-readers. We are working in the medical science industry with biometrics devices, glucose monitors and implantable devices. We are working in the industrial space with the myriad of electronics that comprise an automobile. We are working in the military industry and in the oil and gas industry. All of these industries have devices that are susceptible to damage.