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In January of 2009, local entrepreneur, Paul Silvis turned 100% of Restek® Corporation’s ownership over to its employees under an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).

A business unit of the company, Restek Performance Coatings (RPC) was acquired by Silvis and a core group of RPC employees, thus forming SilcoTek, the world’s leading provider of chemical vapor-deposited (CVD) silicon coatings. That same year, the company met Ben Franklin Technology Partners, a state-funded initiative that invests in tech-startups and small manufacturers, and applied for funding that would help increase their sales by developing a state-of-the-art facility dedicated only to coating customer-supplied parts.

Commenting on the Ben Franklin investment, Mr. Silvis remarked, “During the early days of the company, it was Ben Franklin’s funding that kept us afloat. We knew that SilcoTek would grow tremendously, but that it would take time. Ben Franklin’s investment bought us that time.”

SilcoTek’s coatings are utilized in a growing list of diverse industries. As part of Restek in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, the treatments were applied to analytical chemistry instrumentation which helped chemists and lab technicians get more accurate results. Nine years later, following the birth of RPC, air monitoring system components installed in the Discovery space shuttle were coated to improve their performance. In 2004, R&D Magazine recognized Silcosteel®-UHV as one of the 100 most technologically significant products of the year.

The growing reach of applications for SilcoTek’s innovative CVD coating solutions – outside of Restek’s chromatography business – is what inspired Silvis and the RPC team’s vision for a company dedicated to coatings. SilcoTek’s coatings can be found in applications worldwide from oil and gas drilling to semiconductor fabrication and more.

In 2013, the SilcoTek team was named the Outstanding Technical Company of the Year by the Chamber of Business & Industry of Centre County (CBICC) and moved into a new 38,000 square foot facility in the Benner Commerce Park. The new building, coupled with the company’s success over the years, is just one part of Silvis’s vision for the company. By 2020, he plans to have acquired 100 patents on coating technologies, 100 off-site processing oven installations, and to be generating $100 million in sales.

Today, with customers that include refineries, petro-chemical plants, and industrial, aerospace, and automotive manufacturers, SilcoTek is in the position of being able to pay off its remaining debt to Ben Franklin early. That money, a little more than $300,000, will be re-invested in three more startups located in Ben Franklin’s footprint. Stephen Brawley, Ben Franklin’s CEO, commented, “In 2014 alone, right after moving into a new facility, SilcoTek introduced two new coatings and filed nine patents – so, I have no doubt that they are on target with their goals for 2020. Paul Silvis and his team are to be congratulated for their vision, energy, and their ability to turn a startup, in six short years, into an award winning company that now employs 40 people.”