Like lots of Minnesota manufacturers, Erick Ajax hadn’t given much thought to selling his products in foreign markets.
Exporting sounded too complicated. Too risky. And EJ Ajax, a Fridley-based precision metal-forming company, was too busy taking care of its U.S. customers to go prospecting in unknown and uncertain territory abroad.
A couple years ago, Lisa Lavin posed a question to a friend over lunch. “Do you have a patent burning a hole in your back pocket?” she wondered.
The inquiry wasn't entirely out of leftfield, considering that Lavin’s dining companion was Mark Kroll, an internationally recognized biomedical engineer who helped revolutionize implantable heart defibrillators, who holds more than 350 issued or pending patents, and who is widely considered Minnesota’s most inventive genius.