Clay Guillory’s life is hectic — an endless round of meeting with companies, welders and suppliers and managing employees and international orders.
And the 29-year-old says he wouldn’t change a thing — success is its own reward.
Guillory put together a 3D printer in his garage and advertised his services via Craigslist. A day later, he received a request to build a huge printer for a local company. That was in 2014. Two years later, he’s quit his full-time job, moved from the garage to an industrial site off Garden of the Gods and is negotiating deals with international companies.
Since then, Titan Robotics has been honored with a Celebrate Technology award from the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance and a Young Entrepreneur of the Year award from the Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center.
Recently, he sat down with the Business Journal to talk about his career, its challenges and its rewards.
How did you start Titan Robotics?
I just started in my garage — we hit the right thing at exactly the right time, it seems. I built a kit for a 3D printer and then advertised that I could build one or make products from one. A day later, I had my first offer. My second offer was at the Woodland Park Dinosaur Resource Center — and then it just has grown from there. I’m now talking to people with huge, international companies.
I was working full-time as an engineer at Diversified Machine Systems at the time — I was so lucky to work there. I learned so much that really helped me with this company.
I completely bootstrapped the company; we didn’t have investors. It’s a blossoming market, and there’s so much opportunity out there.
Are you surprised by the success?
Yes. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. It was supposed to be something I did part-time. And the recognition I’ve received — it’s just totally unexpected. It’s great, but unexpected.
I’m an engineer; I’m not a businessman. I’ve had to learn the business side of things. I’ve relied on mentors to keep me from floundering, to keep me focused. And there’s no right formula to make decisions. You just make one, and hope it works out. Fortunately, we’ve had a lot of decisions that worked.
Are you from Colorado Springs?
I moved here with my fiancée. She was looking for a job, and I liked Colorado — so we ended up here as a compromise. She works for KOAA as a reporter. We plan to stay here. This is not a franchise model at all. It’s an industrial manufacturing facility. So we’ll be centered here, with salespeople all around the country. Why would we go anywhere else?
What do you think of the Springs?
I love it here. It’s gorgeous; the people are so nice. And it has great potential for growth — it’s actually growing quite fast.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Work hard. Work until you can’t work anymore — and then keep working. It’s the only way to get through the barriers to entry.
What do you do for fun?
I don’t have much free time anymore. I love to go mountain biking, I like to hike.
What’s next for Titan Robotics?
Well, we’re working with some very high-profile companies — things I can’t talk about right now. We’re going to be building the fastest FDM printer (fused definition modeling — a type of printing that is used to create end-use products.) All I can say is — stay tuned.