Their products begin in the labs of the world's finest engineers and end "with the grin on your face." Automotive enthusiasts Paul Lambert and Todd Cope — who less than 10 years ago graduated from Carnegie Mellon's electrical engineering program — now help customers transform their cars into some of the best performing vehicles on the road.
Through STaSIS Engineering, the two entrepreneurs have broken the barriers of access to high-performance braking, increasing fuel efficiency and elevating the act of driving to an art.
"The idea of starting from something small and seeing it grow has always intrigued me," said Cope, the company's chief financial officer. He took his first job at what he said was the smallest company and lowest salary of the five offers he received.
"I'm glad I did, as I got a taste of entrepreneurship when I was sent to Malaysia to start an engineering division from scratch. Now, 900 people work there," Cope said.
Meanwhile, Lambert was busy breaking records both on the race track and in engineering and sales. At the office, he was driving Altera Corporation's revenue from $10 million to $110 million over five years through 200 direct and distributed sales staff. On the race track, he was bringing Audi its first race win, pole qualifications and four series championships.
Lambert started STaSIS Engineering after becoming a significant engineering service provider to North American race teams through the first company he founded, Competition Engineering Services.
"When I joined STaSIS, Paul just had a few guys working out of a garage space next to Sears Point Raceway, so it has been very rewarding to see the progress we've made over the last four years," Cope said.
What the electrical engineering program at Carnegie Mellon mainly taught him was how to think, Cope said. And he would tell students today that they don't have to have experience or be a certain age to do something great; sometimes being young and not knowing any better is a great advantage, he said.
"I think all most of us can hope to do is expand the envelope of human experience just a little bit," Cope added. "Whether it be in the realm of technology or business, doing something that has never been done before is exciting."