Apex Lyo was started by Andy Lesko and Dennis Willhite in 2009 as a food freeze-drying business in Oregon. The original planning started back in 2006 when both of the principal owners worked for companies in the freeze drying business. Non-Compete clauses in their employment delayed them starting their own business until a few years later..
Bob Platt and Gil Beck, SCORE co-counselors, gave very valuable guidance to Andy Lesko and Dennis Willhite. It started with the modified business plan and guidance to scale the manufacturing that was more affordable in the startup phase. Their insight to funding requirements and operating costs helped the owners get a less risky start. The owners also kept their current employment during the initial startup phase so the business could transition to profitability and revenue growth. The SCORE counselors continue to work with them as this evolves. Bob Platt has a business background in bank managed trusts and Gil Beck has a background as owner and manager of a mechanical design & contracting business.
Andy Lesko and Dennis Willhite both worked for one of the largest freeze drying companies in Oregon. Their background in the marketing and technical skills of this business gave them the edge to start a niche business filling the smaller specialized markets in a profitable manner. With guidance from two SCORE cousnelors, Gil Beck and Bob Platt, they modified the business plan into a doable strategy to obtain the necessary funding and purchasing of some of the used manufacturing equipment needed. This saved them startup funds and a way to get started. With marketing skills to win contracts, they had enough volume to cover costs and make a profit. The volume continues to grow. The business will soon be a full time operation and production capacity will increase in the future. Apex Lyo now has a freeze-drying site at Moses Lake, Washington. It is doing research processing of special materials. They handle small volumes and quick-turn-around of a variety of material.