Martin Schwalm – CEO of Two Square Sciences – is a University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Brown University alum.
He started the Fall River-based scientific testing equipment manufacturer with partners Samantha Wrightington and Arch Williams.
Schwalm talks to Providence Business News about starting the business, the scientific testing equipment market and the Fall River business environment.
PBN: What's the story behind Two Square Science? How did you start up and why did you pick Fall River as a base of operations?
SCWALM: Second part of the question first.. I got my bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from UMass Dartmouth, and my masters at Brown, so I knew and liked the area, and my first company, Hatch Science, a consulting firm that specialized in custom automation equipment, was based in Fall River … so in many ways Fall River was a comfortable choice – if it fit the business plan.
Two Square Science chose Fall River as its location for its business-¬friendly environment and the access it provided to the intellectual resources needed to design and manufacture our innovative products. In addition to the local office of economic development, Fall River has two unique organizations, the Greater Fall River Development Corp. and the Fall River Industrial Park Association (FRIPA) which are drivers in attracting and growing businesses /jobs to the area.
Recently, through the cooperation of many local organizations Fall River has opened the new SouthCoast Life Science and Technology Park on Innovation Way, and has just broken ground on the $28 million dollar Massachusetts Accelerator for Biomanufacturing helping to continue the growth of innovation for our markets in the area. The combination of these factors is proving to positively position Two Square Science for it own growth initiatives.
PBN: What's the market for the kind of testing equipment Two Square Science specializes in and what kind of different companies use your products?
SCHWALM: The markets for Two Square Science products are the pharmaceutical, life science, and biotechnology industries. Currently, the highest concentration of use is in the pharmaceutical market by major pharmaceutical companies. Pick a major pharmaceutical company and they are probably already using Two Square Science products.
PBN: Designing and manufacturing automated testing/monitoring equipment is a pretty specialized field. What made you decide to pursue that as a career?
SCHWALM: Two Square Science was founded by me with partners Samantha Wrightington and Arch Williams. For Arch and me, along with the rest of our team, development of testing and monitoring systems is a natural outcome of many years of tinkering, inventing, and generally taking things apart to see what made them tick. Learning what makes things work lead to making things work better, and inventing where voids exist. It is exciting to be able to apply what you love to a market, and make life better for all.
PBN: How long does the whole process take – ¬from the initial idea to designing a new machine to testing to manufacturing? Are there any sort of regulations that help/hinder the process?
SCHWALM: The time it takes from the initial idea to production of a particular product varies widely. However, Two Square Science tends to take the time up front to listen properly to ensure that our products are truly innovative.
Two Square Science is recognized for its rapid development capabilities; however, we also recognize the need for testing for performance and reliability to ensure long-¬term suitability of a systems purpose.
Once initial systems are developed, from a matter of weeks for simple systems to many months for highly complex systems, long–term testing is performed to ensure product quality.
Once initial systems are product ready, the design for manufacture process begins to ensure that the highest quality products can be produced in a reliable manner and reasonable time frame.
PBN: What's something that your company and your machines offer that goes above and beyond your competitors?
SCHWALM: There is a simple truth to the success that Two Square Science has found as a business and with its products; First we Listen and then we Innovate.
Our opportunities were actually created by competitors who have at times forced the market to live with less than adequate solutions, and our reputation for a willingness and commitment to listen. While our design and manufacturing processes have evolved to a high level over time, it is our simple strategy, followed passionately, of listening and then innovating, that we believe uniquely positions our products.