By the time distributor Will Quinn had finished touring Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) last year, his mind was made up. He knew he wanted to find a way for his company to directly benefit the program and the students involved.
CU-ICAR is a 250-acre complex about 10 miles from Greenville, SC, that’s home to the Deep Orange vehicle prototype program for promising graduate students, which gives them the opportunity—with help from major partners such as Toyota, BMW and Bridgestone—to design and build concept cars from the ground up. “This is a very select group of students,” says Quinn, the president/CEO of Proforma Business Impact (asi/490152), located fewer than three miles from CU-ICAR. “They’re snatched up by major auto companies once they’re finished the program.” After seeing the students’ work first-hand, Quinn agreed to team up with the Center, offering a sizable financial fellowship and a technology partnership.
But before the fellowship agreement, even before discovering CU-ICAR, Quinn and his team had been focusing instead on actively seeking out a marketing technology partner whose capabilities they could add to their menu of services. At a Proforma Regional Meeting in Atlanta, Quinn happened to meet Lino Hilario, the founder, vice president and partner of Klokwerks Digital Inc., a marketing agency and creative production studio with headquarters in Toronto that specializes in 3D renderings, animations, interactive tools and mobile apps for the automotive, real estate and product industries, including Augmented Reality and 3D imaging.
After Atlanta, Quinn stayed in touch with his new contact, and met up with Hilario again in the spring of 2015 at a Proforma Million Dollar Club meeting in Mexico. “In a couple hours, we had worked out a partnership,” says Quinn. “We wanted to be able to offer their 3D imaging to real estate developers. It was a natural fit—they had the perfect technology, and we happen to be located in a booming real estate area.”
At first, Proforma focused on partnering with Klokwerks to serve clients in the real estate and housing development sector. “Their technology and the augmented reality app they develop allows real estate concepts to be toured in detail,” says Quinn. “It’s a ‘sell today, build tomorrow’ approach.” Quinn happened to show the impressive Klokwerks app to two architect friends, who were very impressed by its capabilities and urged him to present it to CU-ICAR as a tool the students could use in the concept design and manufacturing process. “We realized it would be a perfect fit for their program,” says Quinn
Read more in the February edition of Counselor magazine and at www.asicentral.com.