In the 1980s while running a former company I co-founded with my wife, Lisa, I was frustrated with the long lead times needed for prototypes of new product designs, which pushed our time-to-market out. This frustration was the impetus to create the Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) process and my first additive manufacturing system. The invention of FDM Technology led to the formation of Stratasys 25 years ago. Since this time, I’ve served as Chairman and CEO and have overseen Stratasys growth into one of the leading companies in the 3D printing market. During this period I have been personally involved with numerous innovations, such as the Breakaway Support System (BASS), the Soluble Support System, the Dimension: the first bench-top 3D printer, and the recently released, Mojo 3D Printer.
Last April, we announced our intent to merge with Objet, and in December, our companies officially closed the merger. Combined revenues of the two independent companies in 2011 equaled $277 million, which puts us at the top of the 3D printing industry. The purpose of the merger is to accelerate the development of new technology for faster growth and expand our ability to serve customers. It was not done as a measure to reduce operational costs. David Reis, former CEO of Objet, is now CEO of the new entity, Stratasys Ltd. David has an impressive track record at Objet and decades of experience in the industry, having previously held positions at NUR Macroprinters, ImageID and Scitex Vision. He will be ably assisted by Erez Simha, our CFO, as well as COO of Israeli operations, and Tom Stenoien, COO of North American operations. Stratasys Ltd. has a solid leadership/management team, and I have tremendous confidence in it. I am also looking forward to working with Objet founder and previous Chairman Elan Jaglom and learning from his enormous business experience. Elan moves into a position as Chairman of Stratasys Ltd’s executive committee.
Meanwhile, I am moving on to a new role as the fulltime Chairman of the Board, and in addition, I will head up global innovation for the company. As CEO, I had less time to devote to product innovation, which has always been near and dear to me. As head of innovation, I will devote attention to developing the next generation of technology and will be the company’s champion for new development. I don’t mean just advancements in FDM and Inkjet-based technologies, but the next technology too. One of my goals is to reinvent 3D printing all over again, and have a whole lot of fun.
I also intend to focus attention on the next generation of direct digital manufacturing (DDM) technology that will promote the technology as a mainstream process. DDM involves producing parts for sellable products, replacement parts and custom manufacturing tools, and it will play a big role in the future of global manufacturing. Beyond developing new technology, we will of course continue to increase the capabilities of existing ones, while driving down the cost of our 3D printers.
Based on my early frustrations seeking prototypes, it has become a personal and rewarding mission for me to drive 3D printing innovation that helps engineers produce new products. I relish the challenge of creating a new solution where previously there was nothing. This challenge will continue to energize me and the Stratasys innovation process as we move into a new chapter in the Stratasys story.