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September 21. 2017 10:54AM
At Rapid in Nashua. A.J. Solan of Milford, standing, a lathe supervisor, talks with Jim Tompkins of Ayer, Mass., a machinist. (Allegra Boverman/Union Leader)

RAPID in Nashua.

15 Charron Ave., Nashua

INNOVATION: RAPID is a New Hampshire-based manufacturer that produces prototype sheet metal and machined parts for various industries across the globe. Other services include wire harnesses, cable assemblies and box builds. Industries that RAPID serves include robotics and automation, medical device, aerospace, instrumentation, electronics and more.

LEADERSHIP: RAPID was founded in 2001 by Jay Jacobs out of the desire to get sheet metal parts from manufacturers to his customers in a timely manner. Jacobs saw an opportunity to create a sheet metal shop that focused strictly on prototypes. Employing the business principles of the quick turn, additive manufacturing SLA (stereolithography) service bureau world he knew, he could eliminate the delay for quotes. Jacobs serves as the company’s CEO.

WORKFORCE: Today, RAPID has more than 325 employees in 140,000 square feet of manufacturing space, with operations running every hour of every day. The company makes significant efforts to retain a skilled and valuable workforce. As RAPID continues to grow, it recognizes that its team of employees has been the backbone of its success from the beginning, and will continue to be the reason customers depend on RAPID for their quick turn and prototype needs.

HISTORY: Jacobs discovered a small sheet metal shop in Nashua, Russell Sheet Metal, whose owner was retiring. With the help of his family and friends, his local bank and life savings, he purchased it. By using dedicated machines and 3-D CAD data to streamline the process, Jacobs has been able to eliminate long queue times for RAPID customers.

COMMUNITY: RAPID not only strives to be the fastest source of prototype parts, but it is also committed to working with local nonprofits who serve the community. RAPID has sponsored various groups, including Boy Scouts of America, Girls Inc, FIRST Robotics Team, Boston University Racing, Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter, and more.

Mark Lytle, vice president and general manager

TECHNOLOGY: RAPID offers a free add-in, eRAPID, for SOLIDWORKS that allows users to cost and order sheet metal parts within CAD, instantly. eRAPID also provides design for manufacturability feedback as users design sheet metal parts. 

SPOTLIGHT: Among a field of four finalists, Jacobs was awarded New Hampshire’s 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year by the New Hampshire High Technology Council for significantly advancing innovation in the Granite State throughout his career. 

HOT HIRE: Mark Lytle, vice president and general manager

Lytle moved to New Hampshire from Michigan where he previously served as president of an automotive pump supplier. “I was interested in joining RAPID based on the opportunity to help a growing company in new manufacturing realize its potential. Also, RAPID’s team-based culture is very compatible with my leadership style,” said Lytle, 52. “I really like the can-do spirit of New Hampshire and appreciate the natural beauty of the state, as well as the access to a variety of outdoor activities.”


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