When Regions Bank announced earlier this month that it had created a billion dollar loan pool to help businesses expand in Alabama, they made their presentation from the offices of Integrated Medical Systems, Inc — exactly the kind of business they’re trying to help.
“The reason that I think Regions decided to announce the loan pool here is that IMS is growing, ” said Elaine Witt, IMS’ Director of Public Relations. “With the economy the way it is, they were looking for a company, like IMS, that is growing and needs capital to grow,” she added.
Founded in 1990 and headquartered in Birmingham, IMS provides surgical instrument and device repair to hospitals around the country. Their clients bring devices ranging from stainless steel scalpels to endoscopes, which are used for procedures such as colonoscopies, to repair centers for restoration.
Currently working with 2,500 healthcare providers nationwide, IMS has annual revenue of $117 million and wants to double that by 2017. IMS has repair labs not only in Birmingham, but also in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Phoenix, Arizona; and Rockville, Maryland. The company employs more than a thousand people, but with expansion plans that number is expected to grow locally and nationally.
“IMS has employees working throughout the country in several lines of business, and we cannot precisely predict where our growth will be,” Witt said. “We are expecting…some of our growth to be in Birmingham and some of it to be in other areas around the country.”
Regions loaned IMS $7 million to renovate the new 55,000-square-foot building located across the street from the company’s current offices. The building, formerly owned by Noland Plumbing, is scheduled to open in June.
According to Witt, all operations in the current building and the repair lab, will be moved to the new facility once finished. An IMS subsidiary company, Wedge Manufacturing, will then move from their current offices on 3rd Avenue South into the current IMS building.
Wedge Manufacturing creates high-precision, small, complex parts for the medical and aerospace field. Wedge was founded in 1998 by IMS in order to create parts needed to refurbish instruments and devices that were not provided by manufacturers.
“A lot of the components that we use to refurbish instruments and devices are not available to us from the manufacturers. We cannot use their sources for the components,” Witt explained. “Wedge provides a number of the components that we use here and provides them for other customers who need extreme precision in machine parts.”
Trying to consolidate its parts, IMS has also purchased the U.S. Pipe building on 1st Ave North, with the intent of using it as a new corporate headquarters.
“What IMS is really doing is consolidating. We are trying to get everyone on one campus to create a collaborative environment,” Witt said.
IMS also purchased a smaller building from U.S. Pipe and converted the building into a gym for employees. Employees are allowed 30 minutes to exercise daily while on company time. The gym includes free weights, treadmills and more, but also has various classes offered throughout the week.
IMS is one of the early beneficiaries of the Regions loan pool, an example of how seeding local businesses can help improve the economy.
“We are fortunate to have a robust state and local incentives geared toward economic development,” Regions Financial President and Chief Executive Officer Grayson Hall said. “This loan pool will serve as an additional resource in growing our state’s economy and creating jobs.”