Congratulations to Andrew Limpert, director and chief executive officer at FireFly Automatix, Inc. He was named one of the 2018 CEO of the Year honorees.
When Andrew Limpert was a child, he and his friend Steve Aposhian would play baseball together—with no idea that later in their lives, they would work together on a turf harvesting agricultural technology company: FireFly Automatix.
Limpert’s career path was in investment banking, where he was happy being what he calls “mostly retired.” In that role, he founded, consulted on and funded many business ventures, and provided strategic financial consulting for several investment banks. He also served as the CFO at Profire Energy for eight years. But when his old friend Steve called him up in September 2015 to tell him about his technology company and ask for business advice, Limpert felt “called” to the business.
“I don’t feel I was looking for FireFly or AgTech, I feel I was called to it,” says Limpert. “I wouldn’t say I sought it out. I would say it called meout.”
As an investment banker, Limpert knew to expect that turning FireFly from a small, struggling technology company into a profitable AgTech leader would take “twice as long and twice as much money as you think,” he says.
“I was wrong. It was four times as long and four times as much money,” laughs Limpert. “It took a lot of guts to actually get involved in an industry I didn’t know much about. But what gave me a lot of confidence was looking at the intellectual DNA that we had in this company—the engineering team and the work ethic is unmatched.”
Under Limpert’s leadership, FireFly’s revenue has grown from $2.2 million in 2014 to over $15 million in 2017. The company added 35 new employees last year, won a 2017 Stoel Rives Utah Innovation Award, opened new service locations in Florida and Alabama, and went from manufacturing its equipment in four to six weeks to about four days. Limpert calls the increased manufacturing speed “a miracle.”
“Andrew brings the kind of experience and vision needed to help an innovative product not just gain a foothold within a competitive industry, but also to dramatically increase its market share,” says Gov. Gary Herbert.
Even aside from his business savvy, it’s the care Limpert puts into developing and cultivating relationships with people that makes him such an effective leader, says Matt Aposhian, Steve’s brother and president and COO of FireFly Automatix.
“Andrew is a people builder. He builds us all up and gives us confidence. He sees the potential in people and brings it out of everybody,” he says. “Just as an example, when he comes into the business in the morning, he walks the production floor. He talks to our welders and assemblers and get to know them on a personal level. He makes them understand the important work they’re doing for the company. He cares about people. He’s hard working, he’s very loyal and he’s dedicated.”