Sound Innovations

sound-testimon2Sound Innovations leverages a small grant through GMEDC for a major defense contract, and potential expansion

Based in White River Junction, Sound Innovations is one of those high-tech product development companies that makes a huge impact with only a small footprint.

Sound Innovations consists of six engineers, researchers, and product developers. That’s a small footprint. And the huge impact? The team has secured millions of dollars worth of contracts with the Army, Air Force, and National Science Foundation to develop its groundbreaking technologies.

[Executive Director] Joan Goldstein took the time to understand our business and what our needs are, and when a tool became available that she thought might be useful to us, she took the initiative to come to us and suggest how it could be effective.

sound-testimon3Consider the company’s specialized niche: in-ear communications and hearing-protection innovations. And the huge impact? Not only does Sound Innovations products help clarify incoming commands and other communications to soldiers, but also help to protect soldiers from hearing loss, which the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs cites as the number-one military retiree health disability, adding up to $7 billion in claims over the last 30 years.

Now, Sound Innovations is looking to grow its operations and add jobs, and that’s where GMEDC comes into play.

[Executive Director] Joan Goldstein took the time to understand our business and what our needs are, and when a tool became available that she thought might be useful to us, she took the initiative to come to us and suggest how it could be effective, said Chris Pearson, CEO of Sound Innovations.

At the time Goldstein approached Sound Innovations, the company had been contracted by the U.S. Army to develop and prototype technology for helicopter air crews to protect their hearing and clarify communications, but they felt that the technology could also be applied in many other areas of the military.In order to receive funding for that extension of the technology, the company needed the support of a major defense contractor that could help transition the technology.

The grant through GMEDC enabled us to hire a consultant who had the right contacts at major defense contractors, and he was able to help us establish
a relationship with one of the biggest, said Pearson. With a strong letter of support from the defense contractor, we were able to win the $600,000 extension support program funding, and now the consultant is generating more business development opportunities for us.

sound-testimonAnd the $600,000 extension support funding, Pearson said, is just the beginning.

The new product it will allow us to develop could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and will be marketed globally, he said. Our part of it could be significant in terms of jobs.

The technical assistance grant to Sound Innovations through GMEDC wasn’t large, but it was carefully targeted for maximum positive impact on the GMEDC’s 30-town region, Goldstein says. And, it seems, it enabled Sound Innovations to again make a huge impact with a small footprint.