Hyperstealth Biotechnology Corp is a world leader in Camouflage, Concealment and Deception (CCD). Hyperstealth has developed over 14,000 camouflage patterns and over 5,000,000 military issued uniforms use Hyperstealth camouflage including: The Kingdom of Jordan, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Mexico, Jamaica, Afghanistan and the Philippines.
Hyperstealth also designed the Optifade hunting line camouflage for WL Gore (Goretex) for their Sitka products which is also used by Beretta, and the firm has developed patterns for Vans Shoes OTW (Off The Wall) Collection, Columbia Sportswear PFG (Performance Fishing Gear) and LBX Tactical (a division of London Bridge Trading Inc.).
Guy Cramer is President and CEO of Hyperstealth. He tells us more about the company and its business strategy.
“Given that Hyperstealth is primarily about camouflage design I don’t require much staff and thus I can keep our overhead to a minimum so revenues are being built up and not being offset by huge wage requirements,” he explains. “I have been called an expert disruptor; someone who is innovating the industry of camouflage and not only staying ahead of the competition but changing the way business is done in the industry.
“We can print on demand any one of our 14,000 patterns in a matter of hours, not days
or months as the large print factories require. One would think that this would upset the large print factories but our quick turnaround actually saves them time and money as the process of development no longer pulls their machines out of production for the many days it would often take to get patterns developed and colored correctly.
Their large print machines are often running three shifts a day for most of the week so any downtime for them to carry out development is lost production and lost revenue. We save our clients time and money by rapid development and short run production. We can print 1 yard or 100 yards at the same cost per yard but the large printers typically require 10,000 yard minimums, so we don’t even compete with their business and we’ve changed their business by being able to provide them a final product that they just need to match to, which can save them 80-90% of the time it used to take them to do this.”
The motto of the company is ‘Making The Best Better’ and Guy strives to do this constantly. “My job as a CEO is to run the company on behalf of the shareholders. We have about 130 and each of them put faith in Hyperstealth so my focus must be on behalf of each shareholder to provide the best products, the best science and the best representation, which in turn will create the best value for the company and thus the benefit the shareholders.”
When undertaking a new project, Guy has a very set process that he follows in order to quickly and accurately assess the client’s needs, but Guy won’t take on just anybody.
“We used to take anything that came our way but I now carefully pick and choose based on past experience, for example I ask myself ‘How long do I anticipate this will take?’ ‘Will it interfere with our core business?’ ‘What is the current focus and will this distract me from that?’ Once I have determined that it meets our criteria I have to determine what the client’s expectations are: do they want to have me develop something unseen before or do they want to pick from my library of 14,000 camouflage patterns? Where will the camouflage be expected to operate in? Are there surrounding countries that use our patterns and if they do I need to make something that won’t be confused with those?
“Most country programs take 2-3 years before the uniforms start being issued so it can take a lot of patience and the term “loose lips sink ships” is something we practice, you won’t hear me speak of a new country until uniforms are being issued, so what is happening now will only be revealed between tomorrow and three years from now. Even when I travel I don’t post on social media where I’m going or take photos when I’m there unless there is no requirement from that country for a new camouflage pattern, in which case I am there for other reasons that don’t show up on any radar.”
Recently, Guy was voted Aerospace and Defence CEO of the Month – an accolade awarded to him by readers of Corporate Vision magazine.
How does it feel to have won this award in your jurisdiction? “It is an honor to be recognized in this industry, which has so many intellects and top-quality people in it that while our business is in the area of concealment and hiding (camouflage), our company ironically has become quite well known around the world,” he laughs.
“I have been involved in this Aerospace and Defense part of the business for 14 years now and, while my focus is on survivability and effectiveness, I also understand that you need to listen to your mentors and advisors and I have the best possible people in that area to allow me to make the best decisions I can.”
Guy has faced many challenges in his life as CEO of Hyperstealth. Initially it was his age and inexperience.
“We formed the company in 1999 right when the dot com craze was happening and being a young President and CEO was considered the new and improved way of taking on the business world. Many people discovered that these 30-year old CEO’s were making huge mistakes, they had the drive but not the experience and the years of dealing with people and companies.”
Guy was fortunate in his upbringing and he tells us of the mentors and life coaches who had a huge influence on him and have helped to make him the success he is today.
“My first mentor was my Grandfather, Donald L. Hings CM MBE, inventor of the Walkie-Talkie and more than 56 other patents. He received the Member of the British Empire award after World War II and the Order of Canada in 2001. I worked with him for six years as his assistant and he taught me how to innovate. I absorbed his stories and his life experiences which provided me with a huge advantage at a young age.
“In 2003, I meet another mentor, Lt. Col. Timothy R. O’Neill, Ph.D. (US Army, Retired), the world expert on camouflage. We discovered early on that his research and guidance, along with my advancements in the field, would allow us to make better, more effective patterns than both of us working independently. Again I listened and relied on his teaching and this has happened numerous times to me with other very experienced people in their areas of expertise. It is these relationships that have allowed me to gain so much understanding that without them I would not be the success that I’ve become. It really is the sum of all parts (mentors and advisors) that makes this work.
“I get so tired of the comment ‘If you just put your mind to it you can do anything you want!’ This comment routinely comes from the .0001% of the population that just had the right opportunity at the right time or knew the right person that elevated them to that stunning achievement. In their minds, if they could do it, anyone can do it. The reality is
that most people that attempt this will only be disappointed. We are not all radio quality singers or actors or authors, often success comes from a lot of persistence and hard work but the formula is much more difficult to pin down. More often than not, it is who you know, not what you know that puts you on that road.
“Success is also fleeting, how many award winning actors continue to always have similar performances in the future? Because of the award they are offered better roles but this doesn’t always translate into a cookie cutter performance. It is one thing to be successful at some point and another thing entirely to be described in the same way two or five years down the road. My motivation is not the success but doing the best job I can with the talents I have and in the end that may be why I’ve become successful.”
Guy claims that he is constantly problem-solving and he loves a challenges, this is one of the attributes he possesses which have helped to make him the successful CEO he is today.
“I enjoy coming up with new solutions that have not been tried before, which makes me a disruptor in this industry!” he states. “You can model other company business models or technology but that usually doesn’t put you at the top. You must do the extraordinary, the unexpected, the impossible, in order to stand out from the crowd.
“I capitalize on new ways of developing, designing, interacting with technology and finding hybrid solutions that don’t require huge investments. I utilize those developments quietly before anyone realizes change is coming and by the time I release something that looks new to the world, I’m already busy working on the next generation, always staying at least one step ahead of any other company.
“It is not the one game that creates a championship team but a whole season of games that makes them the best. In business, one good contract should not reflect on the CEO but all the contracts, programs and projects together over the years reveal the attributes which truly separate the average from the above average success rate.
“I can say that Hyperstealth is associated with many hugely successful outcomes and many more are in the works.”
With regards to the current industry, Guy has seen many new companies starting up in the last ten years, with only a limited number of them in the military market enjoying any success. Indeed, most of these new companies are now struggling to survive as countries are deciding to develop on their own, or simply to do what everyone else is doing.
“The problem with wearing the same thing as everyone else is ‘operational security’,” explains Guy. “Can someone easily infiltrate your defenses wearing something that almost anyone can acquire? One of the biggest complaints from the public about Hyperstealth is that they can’t seem to acquire our patterns, even on Ebay, whereas our competitors are easily obtained. The reason is that most countries we work with get an exclusive pattern to provide them with the operational security they need and should have.
In the hunting industry there are a few companies that have recently made a name for themselves – WL Gore is one of those companies that recognized that hunting patterns were,for the most part, a mimicry of natural settings and that there didn’t seem to be any science behind them. W.L. Gore tasked Guy, Lt Col Timothy R O’Neill and brought in Dr Jay Neitz (an Animal Vision Expert) to work together to come up with a camouflage based on the science of how animals see and not how humans see. It took us some time but in the end, we came up with a number of patterns under the Optifade camouflage clothing line.
“These patterns have been proven to be very effective in the industry and hunters swear by the Optifade brand as the animals or birds that they are hunting do not see them the same way the other hunting brands allowed them to. You have to do something very different to break into this well established market and WL Gore did just that.”
It is clear that in Guy’s line of work, technology is of critical importance and provides him with the innovation he requires to continue succeeding. He tells us in more detail about some of his greatest creations.
“In 2010 I developed a color-changing cloth, called Smartcamo, which I didn’t realize at the time, far surpassed anything the US Military was developing.
“In 2011 I developed Quantum Stealth (Light Bending Technology) and discovered a way to completely hide a target by bending the entire visual light spectrum around the target. This technology also works in the near ultraviolet, near infrared and thermal spectrum. Many physicists claim what I’ve done is impossible, which is actually beneficial to me as it provides more time to develop and improve it to the next generation (version 2) before they have even figured out what version 1 is. I’ve done numerous demonstrations of the technology to a number of highlevel military and government groups and it is progressing, but that is all I can say without giving something away.
“I can, however, tell you that this technology makes many aspects of traditional camouflage obsolete and providing it to everyone would create a host of problems for our own forces where they utilize technology as an advantage over their adversaries. Our Quantum Stealth would render many of these advantages useless, so it has to be controlled, which is why it is still not something I can show to the general public after all these years. I don’t mind the skeptics, I would be one of them myself if I was on the outside.
“In 2012, CNN ran a story on me describing the Quantum Stealth applications and the story went viral around the world with more than 5,000 news organizations picking the story up. That was overwhelming and I can only imagine what would happen if I was ever allowed to show it to the public.”
Guy tells us of current trends emerging and where he believes the camouflage industry may be heading within the next five years.
“I see the trend moving to the science side: objective testing, vision science, color science human behavior studies - we are that trend and we are very much ahead of that trend as typical bureaucracy delays many of these advancements. This has allowed many of the competitors freedom to promote their products without any testing or minimal testing at best. Even military testing is often subjective and flawed and the sad part is the soldier is the one who is put in harm’s way with an inferior product due to politics, poor testing, lobbying or naive policies. I would hope for the sake of the soldier that whoever gets the next contract can provide an optimal solution with the best pattern or technology available to give them an unfair advantage against their enemies.”
With regards to his own business, Guy coyly tells us that he is working on several ‘big’ projects, however he cannot share them for security purposes! Nevertheless, the future is looking very bright for Hyperstealth