Polymer Solutions: How We’ve Evolved to Better Meet Clients’ Needs


Polymer Solutions has grown from a one-man operation to a business that will be building a new, 20,000-sqare-foot facility.When Polymer Solutions started up 27 years ago the company consisted of one employee, our founder and CEO, Jim Rancourt. The same year PSI was founded, Jim  earned his Ph.D. from Virginia Tech. His story and the story of Polymer Solutions are tales of perseverance, the will to succeed, and a dream realized, three things that continue to shape our company today.

Since its inception in 1986 PSI has grown in many ways. The employee count has gone from one to 31. Jim originally had no office and no square footage to claim, as he rented time on lab equipment at Virginia Tech and worked out of his home.

In sharp contrast, PSI just announced plans to build a brand-new, state-of-the-art facility that will cover 20,000 square feet. The new building will allow for further growth and greater client service capacity.

Expanded Services and Equipment

Polymer Solutions originally was founded with the intent of solving materials challenges involving polymer, plastic, and rubbery materials. Many of our clients have problems with products that are a combination of materials, such as metals combined with polymers. We realized our clients didn’t want to have to go to another laboratory for metals testing; they wanted to be able to rely on us for this expertise as well. So, in the past year we have welcomed to our team Materials Engineer Alex Wensley, PE, who has an educational background and industry experience working with metals. Alex has been a tremendous addition to the PSI team, both from our perspective and the perspective of our clients. To support Alex and the expanded metals testing functionality of our company, we acquired equipment for X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy (XRF), and a Scanning Electron Microscope with Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (SEM/EDS). These instruments are excellent for metals testing work, but also have wide applications across all materials. This is just one example of growth that expands our service capacities and requires more physical space.

Increased Quality Assurance Capacity

Additionally, our clients’ testing needs — particularly increased quality assurance — influenced our decision to expand. Regulatory bodies such as the FDA have extremely high expectations for all aspects of laboratory testing, expectations that include environmental controls and air exchange systems. Many of our clients are regulated by the FDA and as a result have the same expectations. One benefit of constructing a new facility is that it makes it possible to improve on these systems. The facility we are building will be cutting-edge to support our customers’ present and future needs. We understand the importance of looking ahead and see this building project as an extension of our core commitment to meet or exceed customer expectations.

Looking Ahead

Since our humble beginnings — one man using rented lab equipment — our motto has always been “continuous improvement.” We’ve seen how staying ahead of our clients’ needs allows us to serve them at the highest level possible. We continue to monitor and track the expertise and instrumentation we can add to our repertoire. We stay abreast of the latest expectations from our regulated clients and regulatory bodies. As a company, we enjoy solving and preventing our clients’ problems. It is exciting to think about how much better we will serve you once more when we have moved into our new testing facility.