Micro-Ant LLC designs and manufactures custom antennas for products where quality of a wireless communication link is essential. This includes satellite communications on land, sea and air, internet of things devices such as autonomous vehicles and smart meters, GPS navigation systems, and defense communication and detection devices like radar.
53% increase from 2018 – 2021
48% increase from 2018 – 2021
Tell us about your background. What led you to starting your company?
Dr. McCarrick was born in Middleboro, Massachusetts. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth, where he studied electrical engineering and became fascinated with antenna technologies. After graduation, he worked as Chief Scientist for Seavey Engineering and consequently started Micro-Ant LLC in 2003. Micro-Ant’s antennas are a part of the product offering of almost every major satellite communications terminal integrator. “We consistently challenge ourselves to develop the best solution to the problem rather than the solution that was the most common or even requested by the customer. Customers tell us what they want, and we build them what they need.” To date, McCarrick calls his ability to design beam forming and beam shaping arrays his greatest accomplishment.
Was there an ah-ha moment that led you to your entrepreneurial journey, or where did the idea for your company come from?
When I was working at Seavey Engineering the company was acquired and the new owner came in and dictated a reduction in my salary. This was in spite of the fact that I brought most of the business into the company and designed the majority of its products. That was the moment when I decided that I would never work for anyone else again. The week after that Micro-Ant LLC was founded. My goal at Micro-Ant has been to foster a great team and culture and ensure that people on the team are cared for and always rewarded for their contributions.
Did you know you always wanted to be a CEO/entrepreneur?
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit but early on had doubts about my ability to run a business because I didn’t have any formal education in business or leadership. Eventually, I learned to rely on my own life experiences and common sense to guide me on difficult business decisions. Recently, I published a memoir, Lessons My Brothers Taught Me: How to Transform Your Personal Qualities Into a Successful Business where I juxtapose life lessons learned from my four brothers and sister growing up with the tough decisions and experiences on my entrepreneurial journey.
Tell us about your business and the value it brings to your customers.
We solve the most complicated antenna problems in the industry. Some customers come to us and every one has failed to develop to their requirements so their money, time, and patience are gone. We are able to turn those projects around and design a stellar product for their mission. Other customers who come to us have an ambiguous problem because they are in a new industry and we are able to understand their use case and design something that makes their product uniquely capable of solving that challenge. This gives them a tremendous competitive advantage. We customize not only the original design but also the manufacturing and testing to ensure that every product, whether built-in small volumes (10/year) or large volumes (100,000 per year) is 100% tested against the requirements. We stop at nothing to make our customers’ ideas a reality and have built more than a thousand bespoke products that make a difference in people’s lives worldwide.
What makes your company culture unique? How do you like to lead your team?
Our company culture is very tight-knit and family oriented. Our team members come here and don’t leave because they get to work on new challenges, grow and advance constantly. We select A players and invest a lot of time to teach them about antenna design and manufacturing and our industry because very few people have any experience with antenna technologies. It is crucial to us that everyone on the team has the utmost integrity because we have very high standards for the quality of products and that requires everyone to be comfortable with identifying quality issues and tackling them. We give people big goals and a lot of independence in executing them and then nurture a fun and positive atmosphere. For example, we have a company cafe where everyone gets high-quality lattes and freshly brewed teas. People from all departments eat lunch together and hang out during breaks ensuring that there’s a sense of camaraderie and belonging. The amount of ownership that people on our team show towards their projects and to achieve the right results is unbelievable.
What makes your company different than others in your market?
Micro-Ant (micro-ant.com) designs, develops and manufactures custom antennas for land, maritime, and aerospace applications operating within the Microwave Frequency Spectrum, including UHF, L, S, C, X, Ku, and Ka-bands. While most other antenna designers specialize in a specific antenna design: parabolic or ESAs, Charlie and his company have succeeded by focusing on the toughest challenges regardless of the architecture. Charlie’s designs have been used on a Mars rover by NASA, on E-Z Passes around the country, to automate agriculture worldwide, and of course, to save lives and deliver coms in disaster and defense settings.
We operate with a blue ocean strategy inside and out. Blue ocean means you are in a space where you have no competition. We look for opportunities where advancements in antenna technology open up an entirely new sector of business or significantly improve the current offering. Through time, many of our customers have skyrocketed from small businesses to owning the greatest market share because our technologies outperformed everyone in the industry. As a result, we’ve done more and more projects with those customers and developed deep technology partnerships.
Since starting or while growing your business, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a business owner? How did you solve or overcome them?
The greatest challenges that we face are the type of challenge all small businesses face – avoiding being taken advantage of. In our industry, Micro-Ant’s technologies are extremely coveted, and protecting our intellectual property has been an important consideration from day one. We’ve learned these tough lessons while working with large organizations that knowingly took our designs. Now have a robust process for vetting out potential customers to make sure that the people we’re dealing with have integrity all the way up to the top of their organization.
What goals do you have for your company? How do you hope to see it grow in the coming years?
Micro-Ant is continuing to grow and our focus right now is on ensuring our processes scale so that we simultaneously maintain or even improve the quality of products and customer service. We are doing this by focusing on developing our talent and introducing new standards for program management across the entire company. We’re also looking for new ways to adapt our existing products to the changing market. One example of this is that we launched a direct-to-farmer and direct-to-OEM website for our Precision GPS systems. It’s a new strategy for us to sell an antenna directly to the user, but in this case, we believe it will allow smaller farmers to modernize their equipment at a lower cost compared to buying it from resellers and we see this as an opportunity to continue making a difference in the world.
What has been your proudest moment as president/CEO?
When a major customer recognized how jubilant and uniquely creative our team is. They said, “you built an incredible company.”
What does it mean to you to be selected as an FLCTW honoree? What do you think it means to your employees?
We are honored to receive the GrowFL Award. Many people within our company have worked with us for 5,10, and even 15+ years and have seen us grow from a small operation to a world-class engineering firm with great processes and relentless pursuit of excellence in design and manufacturing. We firmly believe that the company also has a responsibility to the community – to provide meaningful employment to its residents and share in the business’s prosperity. We strive to do right continuously by our team, our industry, and our state. This accomplishment reflects the tremendous efforts of our team over the years.
Is there anyone special you’d like to thank?
Eric Wilson, for taking the chance on a small, unknown company for such an important product and opportunity.
It goes back to my motto, “Go Fearlessly.” Whether starting out as a young entrepreneur, no matter how many years you’ve clocked in, it all comes down to maximizing your strengths and overcoming a lack of experience and confidence with character.