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SBA loan helps company secure new home to ensure continued growth

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In 1995, Ernesto Starri launched Delta-Sigma Inc. (DSI) in the garage of his Corona home. The native of Trieste, Italy, started his business — which specializes in the design and manufacture of high-power radio frequency (RF) amplifiers that serve a range of needs for private companies and government agencies — with $45,000.

Within a year, DSI completed work on its first project, a high-power 10KW amplifier for the U.S. Air Force. Since then, the company has continued to grow steadily. Starri is the main engineer and designs all DSI products, but credits his well-trained staff with much of the company’s success.

Today, DSI has eight employees. The company’s products play integral roles in United States and other military programs. The Canadian Ministry of Defense, for example, uses them in its over-the-horizon radar systems, which enable operators to detect icebergs and commercial fishing vessels beyond what they can see on the horizon.

Other key DSI projects include designing amplifiers for the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s GeoSAR (Geographic Synthetic Aperture Radar) and AIRSAR (Airborne Synthetic Aperture Radar) programs.

“We don’t advertise or go to trade shows,” said Starri, who earned a degree in electrical engineering in England before being lured to Seattle, Wash., in the 1980s to serve as vice president of engineering for Kalmus Engineering International.

“All our business is through word of mouth,” he said. “When we started, we were doing about $150,000 in sales a year, now we do three or four million. Our customers know that we provide very reliable products at competitive prices.”

As more contracts began to flow in to DSI, the company outgrew its quarters in Starri’s garage. In 1997, Starri leased a 2,000-square-foot building in Riverside, Calif. Two years later, DSI moved to a larger facility nearby to accommodate its continuing growth.

A few years later, representatives from the Canadian government approached the company about doing more work but expressed concern about the size of its existing space. So Starri jumped at the opportunity to buy a new 11,420-square-foot building, also in Riverside.

After being turned down for a loan by several banks, Starri was thrilled to discover California Bank & Trust. Working with Grace Garcia, vice president of SBA Business Development for California Bank & Trust, Starri soon secured an SBA loan.

“What I especially liked about California Bank & Trust is that they really understand how small businesses operate,” Starri said. “The other banks we met with didn’t have a clue. They think you need to have a steady flow of income. Our business isn’t like making widgets — it takes a long time to design, create and develop an individual project. So even though we might get an individual contract worth $2 million, it can take a year before we invoice the client and get a check.”

After completing improvements to the building, Starri and his staff moved into DSI’s new home last February. Starri has been letting customers know about his company’s expansive new facilities and says business has been pouring in faster than ever. And he’s also been spreading the word about California Bank & Trust.

“Grace Garcia and California Bank & Trust really outdid themselves,” he explained. “I have passed their names along to other small business owners in our complex.”

With almost 100 offices throughout the state, including 30 branches in San Diego, California Bank & Trust is a Preferred SBA Lender. The bank offers a variety of products, resources and financing solutions for businesses and individuals.

Sponsored by California Bank & Trust

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