State College Startup Quietly Makes its Mark


Defense teams across the globe, and even NASA, demand the unassuming technology manufactured here.

RTD Embedded Technologies, Inc., occupies a two-story portion of Innovation Park’s 103 building, the non-descript office belying the extremely technical and highly specialized work inside. It’s there that approximately 35 individuals show up to work each day, engineering computer and tech solutions for some of the most rugged, extreme and life-or-death environments in the world.

Incorporated in 1985, RTD is a State College startup through and through. The local founders graduated from the CBICC’s business incubator, and moved to Innovation Park in the early 2000s, and are now not only attracting Penn State graduates to their office, but also engineers from all over the country, who are more than pleased to move to Happy Valley.

Around the World and Beyond

RTD’s products appear nearly everywhere, from spacecraft to oil rigs, and their crucial nature requires they work right, the first time, and every time. That’s why these specialized computers undergo multiple rounds of testing before making it to the client, many of which are in the defense industry and spread across the globe. High quality and high reliability are nothing out of the ordinary for RTD, though.

According to Stephen St. Amant, vice president of marketing and communications, “RTD caters to the customer who really needs high reliability… Our engineers are very talented and very focused on making the best product that we can make, really meeting customers’ needs.”

This standard of excellence has been the catalyst behind RTD’s slow and steady growth since 1985. As the company built a market reputation for its highly reliable products and those that meet very specific needs, customers began to recognize RTD for the void it fills in the marketplace.

Moving forward, St. Amant assures that RTD has no intention of changing the strategy that’s proven so successful. “[We’ll] continue to provide the best products to meet our customers’ needs. We are in a market where continuous improvement is highly valued, so continuing to innovate, continuing to talk to our customers and meet their needs, those sorts of things are always important to us.”

He goes on to explain how RTD defines its success, as the company puts the focus on the customer’s success. “We define success through the lens of our customers. If our customers are successful, then we’re successful. It’s often the customers that are most happy with our product that we don’t hear from. They’re working on these projects that have been running for a decade without issue, and we hear from them when it’s time for them to move on to the next generation of their project.”

Making a Home at Innovation Park

Since moving to Innovation Park, RTD has been nothing short of thoroughly pleased with the experience.

“Innovation Park is nice,” says St. Amant. “It’s easy to access. There is not a lot of traffic that you have to worry about. People in the Park are friendly. It’s a nice place to walk during lunch or breaks. There are food trucks here from time to time…Penn State has a vibrant community. Our people feed off of that.”

RTD is certainly an example of a truly successful State College startup, and it has the decades of continual improvement and increasing growth to prove it.

For fellow State College technology companies, Innovation Park tenants and startups, St. Amant offers a few words of advice based off RTD's success: “I think we’ve learned a lot through being patient. The economy goes up and down, but if you believe in your product, and you’re making measured decisions, then you’ll be able to ride the tide.”


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