Ron Farmer called up Paragon Innovations. He wanted to set up a lunch meeting.

When the crew at Paragon received him warmly and started checking their calendar, he had to clarify. No, like, now.

Luckily, there was a table available at Red Lobster, and Farmer, the CEO of US LED, started a relationship that would last for more than 20 years, with Paragon serving as his technology development partner.

The key, Farmer said, is how well the companies fit together.

“The gating issue is a cultural match, and that’s it. When it really comes right down to it, when we hired Paragon, Paragon did not know how to do what we were going to do in basic terms because they’d never done a product like that before,” Farmer said. “Really hardly anybody in the whole world knew how to do what we were doing. I had to bring the problem, they had to bring the solution.”

“They had the skillsets, and it was a good cultural fit. If they had the skillsets and not the cultural fit, it wouldn’t have worked out.”

Mike Wilkinson (embed contributor page), CEO of Paragon, said Ron’s direct approach, not just when asking for a lunch meeting but also when explaining exactly what he needs a white-light LED module to look like.

“I love it the most when customers like Ron come and say, ‘Here’s what I want, here’s what I need.'” Wilkinson said. “Those are sometimes very different things but tell us what do you want, what do you need and then tell us about the environment, help us understand.”

The way the two companies and their leaders gel mean the lunch meetings continue, even decades after that hastily scheduled seafood lunch.

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