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Modern business: ‘Always something cooking’

The ownership partners at Interfacial Solutions are, from left Gregg Bennett, CEO; Brian Szymanski, chief legal officer; and Jeff Cernohous, president and chief technology officer.

Jeff Cernohous says the state award his company will receive represents a trait needed to prosper in the business world.

“My personal opinion is that innovation is key for businesses to remain competitive in a global marketplace,” said Cernohous, president and founder of Interfacial Solutions of River Falls. “I firmly believe that it drives the value proposition of a company’s product or service offerings and its resulting profitability and growth…Innovation is our core. We develop and implement best innovation practices every day.”

That core drive has gotten Interfacial Solutions noticed. Located in Whitetail Ridge Corporate Park of River Falls, the company just earned the 2013 Wisconsin Business Innovation Award.

The presentation will take place Dec. 4 during the third annual Friends of Small Business Luncheon at the Monona Terrace Convention center in Madison.

According to Wisconsin Business Development, the independent nonprofit agency that sponsors the award, the criteria are: 1) Innovative leader in the industry; 2) Using green initiatives; and 3) Innovations of product, service and process.

IFS is a privately held research and development firm that helps other companies in the plastics industry overcome technological hurdles.

It has a creative team of scientists with more than 50 patents and has state-of-the-art polymer testing equipment, compound and processing equipment, and production abilities.

IFS also has humble origins.

“We were founded in late 2003 in my garage (in Hudson),” said Cernohous, a 1989 River Falls High School graduate. “Our 10-year anniversary is on October 31st.”

IFS was incubated by Phillips Plastics in 2004-05 at the Prescott Technology Center.

In late 2007 IFS built a 15,000 square foot plant in Whitetail Ridge. Two years later growth led to a plant expansion to 42,000 square feet.

In 2012 IFS started Magma Flooring, a 20,000 square foot facility, 283 Troy St., in the River Falls Industrial Park.

Between IFS and Magma, there are 40 employees. Half of them have doctorates and/or science/engineering expertise.

Bill Rubin, St. Croix Economic Development Corp. executive director, knows firsthand about IFS’s potential.

“The 2013 Business Innovation award is well deserved,” Rubin says. “St. Croix EDC has observed this company grow and mature from its startup consulting base to an award-winning business in more recent times, including the EDC’s Emerging Business of the Year recognition to Inc. Magazine’s list of fastest-growing, privately held companies in the U.S.

“As a technology innovator, an important part of the company’s business model is its contract research and development with customers, leading to successful commercialization of new products. Interfacial Solutions is truly a rising star on Wisconsin’s horizon.”

For the complete story, please see the Oct. 31 print edition of the River Falls Journal.