LOVELAND — Teaching can be rewarding, but Terry Precht decided he’d rather be doing. That’s how Loveland-based Vergent Products was born in 1995.
“I started this company because I like to design and build things,” he wrote on the company’s website. “While I was a professor of mechanical engineering for 10 years (at the University of Idaho), I missed the opportunity to build the things I was designing and changed my career path to allow me to be exposed to the opportunities that would allow the products I was designing to be built. As I launched my career in private industry, I was able to design products that were very high volume, giving me a great appreciation for design for manufacturability, and manage a large team of talented engineers …
“At Vergent Products, I have been proud of the diversity and number of products we have designed and manufactured for our clients, ranging from Doppler radar-based golf products to specialized contamination analyzers for the metals foundry industry. In particular, I enjoy the learning opportunities a new client’s products present in technical challenge and understanding their market applications. This ability to learn from our clients fuels that same enjoyment I got when I was in the classroom.”
Terry Precht told BizWest that he started Vergent on the suggestion of a friend and mentor. “I was working at a venture-funded startup that was not going to survive, and he suggested I start my own company — and away we went.”
Terry Precht is president and chief executive at Vergent, while his wife, Diana, serves as vice president. She gained marketing experience as director of a chamber of commerce in Canby, Ore., south of Portland. Its 150 member businesses all had different needs and motives, she wrote, so “it wasn’t a difficult transition to Vergent. Our customers all had different needs too.
“As we have grown, my role moved from generalist to client engagement. Now, the exciting part about my contribution is that I am able to work with people who have an idea, a working prototype or a developed product allowing me to participate in the evolutionary process of continually elevating our client’s product.”
Diana Precht contributes to the community through work with nonprofits including McKee Medical Center’s foundation, which raises money for health-related needs.
She likened her role to her hobby of growing dahlias.
“This nurturing of the plant and the subsequent amazing bouquet that I create and share with everyone at the office is not unlike our philosophy at Vergent Products,” she said. “We think of every new client as someone who is about to embark on a journey of producing an incredible product. We work together to support and nurture that effort and in the end, the results can be something truly amazing.”
“Being an entrepreneur is a matter of having the intestinal fortitude to see your way through any barrier that might come up, whether it’s financial, technical or personnel. Those all occur,” Terry Precht said. “We work with a lot of startup companies, and we get a lot of exposure to the ones who work well and not quite so well. That learning makes us better.”