In September, Terrence Hahn took over as CEO of Marlborough manufacturer API Technologies, replacing Bob Tavares, who is staying on as an adviser. Hahn, who joined API after serving on the advisory council for its parent company AEA Investors, spoke with WBJ about his new role and the company.
What are API’s primary products?
Although these products can seem complex – and some certainly are – they have a broad range of use cases affecting many aspects of our everyday lives. To put this into perspective: Some of the components we design allow satellites to communicate; others, such as our IT solutions, protect sensitive data against breaches and misuse.
What markets do you sell to?
We serve clients across six markets: space; commercial aerospace; commercial communications; industrial; medical; and military, government and security.
API has 16 locations worldwide, and we serve customers around the globe. Of our 16 locations, two of them are Class K certified – which is the most stringent quality assurance requirements demanded by the worlds' tier-one space contractors. There are only 20 of these certifications in the world.
How has the industry changed in the past year?
For technology businesses globally, it is not only about being best-in-class in your area of expertise, but it is also about speed: clock-speed and cycle-time are becoming even bigger differentiators. Our growth potential will be based on optimizing time through technology and simplification.
Why did you want to become API CEO?
At API, there is tremendous potential for innovation, which has been a focus of my career over the past 30 years. I’m also excited to have the opportunity to lead a company operating across multiple growth verticals. I have been fortunate to have lived in six different countries and led global businesses in eight different industries – all technology and talent-driven – at firms like Honeywell and Air Products. I am looking forward to combining my leadership with the team at API to develop careers for our team, satisfy customers, and deliver a return for our shareholders, all from the mission-critical solutions provided by API.
What is your vision for the company’s future?
While it is early on, I will be focused on three things: growth, growth and growth. We will serve existing customers even better, attract new customers with new offerings, expand our business through acquisition, and attract and retain key talent to help us execute on these growth initiatives.
What are the biggest challenges you’ll face?
What would AEA Investors like to see out of API?
AEA Investors is a partner to its portfolio company CEOs and is focused on supporting growth and generating outstanding returns. AEA Investors has provided superior returns for its investors for decades, and they are committed to API.
What are your other focus areas?
API is a great place to build a career. Talent development is a particular focus area for me and my leadership team. The goal is to have an environment where everyone can deliver their personal best and the business can grow to achieve its full potential. We are selective in our hiring, but we welcome everyone to take interest in the diverse and inclusive positions listed on our website. Come join our winning team.
This interview was conducted and edited for length and clarity by WBJ Editor Brad Kane.