How the Enterprise Center Helped Fayette Environmental Services

July 01, 1999

Several years back, in the small town of Fayette, Mo., (population 3,000), Rhys Thomas developed a unique storage tank leak detection system. This finding eventually led to Thomas and partners Bob Greenwood and J.B. Waggoner forming Fayette Environmental Services Inc. in 1994. The company looked to the Thomas Hill Enterprise Center for assistance in editing and improving its business plan and providing finance suggestions. "The center assisted us in fine tuning a business plan that helped with both a new management approach and how to price services," said Waggoner, vice president and director of Business Development.

The Center also provided funding to Fayette Environmental Services in the form of a $50,000 loan to fund a cash flow gap. Fayette Environmental was able to meet its five-year business plan goals within the first three years of operation and now employs five chemists and three business support professionals.

Today, Fayette Environmental is exploring innovations in environmental problems. It has received Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer grants from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Air Force. Now in an expansion phase serving a national base of customers, Fayette Environmental remains involved in laboratory analysis but is moving rapidly into research and the commercialization of technology.

"I would advise anyone starting a new venture to talk with the experts at the center before getting started," Waggoner said.

Bridges is a regular review of regional community and economic development issues. Views expressed are not necessarily those of the St. Louis Fed or Federal Reserve System.

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