CEO, Stratasys Direct Manufacturing
A nearly 30-year veteran in the additive manufacturing industry, Kent Firestone helms one of the Santa Clarita Valley’s undisputed technology leaders.
I expect there are hundreds of people who drive by the Stratasys Direct Manufacturing facility every day and ask themselves, ‘I wonder what they do there?’ What’s the answer?
We are here to facilitate our customers’ manufacturing needs by leveraging nearly 30 years of expertise building parts using 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, and conventional technologies. We provide custom-tailored manufacturing solutions, while delivering a premier customer experience. Our home office is in Valencia, where we have two separate facilities that house six of the manufacturing methods we offer to customers. We also have seven additional locations in Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, Texas, and near San Diego, California.
Stratasys Direct was honored in May as the Santa Clarita Valley Business Journal’s Tech Company of the Year. How meaningful is that award and what does it say about the company’s people and its work in the fields of engineering and manufacturing?
It means a lot to us. We have been in business in the Santa Clarita Valley for 27 years, and we are proud to advance the region’s reputation as a center of excellence. Most of our employees live in the community, as well, and we are grateful to be able to source such high-caliber employees to our organization. It is important for us to support and foster local interest in engineering and manufacturing, which is why we participate in events like Manufacturing Day at College of the Canyons every year. It is wonderful to be recognized for our contributions by the local business community.
What’s your backstory, and how did your career bring you to Stratasys Direct?
Since 1990, I have worked in various engineering and operations roles for several of the leading 3D printing machine providers. In 2004, I joined Solid Concepts to help them push the 3D printing technologies forward into end-use part manufacturing. Solid Concepts was acquired by Stratasys in 2014 to strengthen the company’s foothold in production. Our experience has led to collaboration with Stratasys and has helped support their focus on this market segment.
What do you see in Stratasys Direct’s future?
I am excited about our future. In order to continually meet our customers’ needs, we must constantly innovate and challenge ourselves to do something more, better or different than we have in the past. That is why we offer new 3D printing processes and develop new materials that push manufacturing capabilities forward. With that desire to constantly solve for our customers’ challenges, I see a lot of opportunity for Stratasys Direct to not simply grow in revenue, but to enhance the capabilities of what can be achieved with additive and conventional manufacturing technologies.