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San Diego Composites on a Mission to Mars


Regents Bank is pleased to have helped San Diego Composites, Inc. (SDC) secure new equipment to support its efforts to establish a new market position and outpace many competitors.

SDC provides high quality materials and structures technology, product development, testing services and production to the aerospace and defense community. The company is having its biggest growth year after developing its capabilities to compete with some of the largest aerospace companies in the country. SDC is currently at work on a contract to build components for a spacecraft bound for Mars, with test flight footage featured in the film, The Martian.

Formed in 2002, SDC is an aerospace company that provides in-house design and manufacturing for missile systems, propulsion systems, aircraft and spacecraft components. In the years since its inception, this small business has established a reputation for quality and performance, enabling SDC to compete with much larger competitors to secure contracts for landmark projects.

Today, SDC is working in partnership with Lockheed Martin to create components for NASA’s Orion spacecraft, which is scheduled to fly around the moon in 2019 before making a mission to Mars in the next 10 to 12 years.  SDC fabricates hardware for the Orion spacecraft, including critical hardware for the spacecraft’s Launch Abort System.

As part of the Orion project work, SDC acquired a 16-foot diameter autoclave — or pressure chamber used for fabrication — which is the largest in Southern California. The autoclave works like a pressurized oven, curing composite materials while collecting data at high temperature.

SDC won the contract, with assistance from Regents Bank, on the basis of their capabilities and ability to purchase an autoclave large enough to complete the work.

SDC has been a Regents Bank client for 10 years. Regional President Stephen Friedman has worked with SDC President Robert Kolozs, Vice President Christine Benzie, Chief Technology Officer Ken Mercer and Chief Financial Officer William Eriksen, serving as a trusted advisor with banking insights to help SDC increase its capabilities and grow the company.

Since much of SDC’s business is highly classified, the trust aspect of the relationship is especially significant. Regents has provided SDC with financing for working capital needs, including equipment loans that enabled the company to grow. Regents provided the support to win the Lockheed Martin contract by working with SDC through the bidding, winning and performing phases of the process. This transaction is typical of the types of benefits that Regents is able to bring to clients by listening closely to their goals, and using our banking expertise to craft a customized solution that meets the client’s needs and timeframe.

Regents Bank also provided SDC with financial advice and professional referrals to assist with achieving SDC’s business goals, including referring the company to “best in class” valuation specialists to help them optimize their employee stock programs. Today, SDC operates from a 70,000 square foot production headquarters in San Diego.

In addition to its Autoclave work, SDC is busy with its David Sling Canister program, a missile canister used in missile defense. Not even the sky is the limit for SDC, and we’re proud to work with such a dynamic group of people.