Work locally, succeed globally

By: 

Cheryl M. Zimmerman

PBN Logo_small

ONE LAST THING

ANYONE who knows us has heard my mantra of "stay focused on our company goals." From the beginning, our goal has been to see our Rhode Island-made navigation sonars become the internationally recognized safety tool for ships navigating on all the world's oceans and inland waterways.One Last Thing_PBN Article

We often hire locally, including interns from local universities, yet we have not been shy at bringing on staff from elsewhere. Talent is what keeps us moving forward.

Because of our global ambitions, I learned early to focus our marketing on a global customer base. We've developed global industry partners that help us get the message about our technology out to decision-makers within the international maritime community.

Out of necessity I became an expert at export challenges not always tackled by small companies. With a dual-use – both commercial and military – technology such as ours, new export sanctions and changing global politics and economics affect us on a daily basis, including internationally mandated rules. Every exported system needs to be checked against Department of Commerce lists.

As we enter our 15th year, we now have that global reputation as the best in class. Our 3-D, forward-looking sonars are a game-changer for 21st-century marine navigation. But no matter their quality, marketing across the globe requires cultural sensitivity. What works in Europe may need to be presented differently in Asia.

It has been hard work, but we have learned quite a bit, including that you can be successful on the global stage while remaining in Rhode Island.