Elinor Coatings: An Entrepreneur Who Stayed for the Environment...And the Environment
This story is part of a series highlighting ways the GFMEDC supports area entrepreneurs.
Elinor Coatings’ mission kept it in the startup phase longer than most companies. Research takes time. In the past four years, their growth launched them onto the national scene.
Founded in 2006, the Fargo-based company develops technology that protects metal surfaces on ground, air and maritime vehicles, and communication systems and structures.
The company’s twist is that its products protect without using toxic heavy metals, such as hexavalent chromium, the carcinogen made famous by Erin Brockovich and featured in the movie by the same name, starring Julia Roberts. (Brockovich discovered that a cluster of cancer cases had been caused by hexavalent chromium leaching into drinking water.)
Elinor Coatings co-founder and CEO Holly Anderson graduated from Frazee (Minnesota) High School and came to the Fargo-Moorhead area for university at Concordia College and North Dakota State University. She stayed for the growing entrepreneurial scene.
Now, she and her Elinor Coatings co-founder and Chief Technical Officer Dante Battocchi are working on, among other things, Department of Defense contracts to research new materials for the U.S. Air Force, Army and Navy. They also are involved in local projects combating zebra mussels and improving agricultural equipment maintenance and readiness.
Although theirs is a highly specialized business, Anderson said the local EDC has helped them stay on top of opportunities while they focus on the day-to-day operations of running a business.
“The GFMEDC has been a primary source of information and support to us as a startup and as a growing business,” Anderson said. “They celebrate our successes and do everything they can to alleviate our frustrations. As a primary sector business, I am so grateful for their care and attention.”
Anderson shared a list of opportunities Elinor Coatings has experienced, thanks to the GFMEDC, including:
- Representing North Dakota entrepreneurs as a delegate in India
- Competing (and becoming a national finalist) in the CleanTech Accelerator program
- Receiving a grant at an SBA conference that kicked off their federal contracting journey
- Being featured in business magazines
- Speaking on panels and at events, and participating in workshops, seminars and retreats.
- Having the GFMEDC act as their fiscal agent for the North Dakota New Jobs program
- Getting alerted to state programs like Operation Intern, the North Dakota Venture Capital Fund and LIFT program
- Being part of a NASA roundtable, meeting with public officials and attending sessions on Department of Defense contracting opportunities
- Receiving assistance with employee searches, wage comparisons and tours for out-of-state job candidates
- Help finding commercial space as they grow
“The entire (GFMEDC) staff contributes actively to our health and well-being as a company,” Anderson said. “Plus, they are just really awesome people to have in our community.”