successful small business case history illustrates a
long-term SCORE mentoring relationship.
Over a period of 16 years we counseled the owners as
they responded to an ever-changing market. The
business changed over the years from printed circuit
board testing to selling sophisticated test
equipment in the same industry.
success story of Paul Benke and Michaela Brody and
the role SCORE has played started on Aug 22, 1996
when they had a counseling session in Palo Alto with
counselors Mike Mulcahy and John Edwards. From
this session and many more mentoring sessions and
suggestions by counselors, ZD Test was founded and
become the first SVSCORE success story. Zero Defect
International LLC is their second success
story with SV SCORE.
the launch of ZD Test, Paul and Michaela, the two
entrepreneurs decided to expand their horizon and
started working on Zero Defect International LLC
Brody, the president of Zero Defect International
completed her BS from California State University
Fullerton. She worked in various companies as sales
management and operations MRP and Paul Benke, the
CEO of Zero Defects International completed his BS
and MBA from California State University Northridge
and worked with Mica Corp., Culver City, CA as the
Director of Marketing and Sales, Nationally and
Their initial involvement in the electronics
industry was with printed circuit board materials,
copper clad epoxy glass laminates.
Mentoring continued with discussions of the changes
due to globalization. Paul and Michaela foresaw the
shift of volume PCB production to China and so began
ZD Test's focus on more sophisticated fixtures such
as those used to test backplanes and circuit
assemblies [PCBAs]. Eventually the company became
virtually 100% involved with backplanes.
Counselor Mike Mulcahy (who had run a successful Rep
company for big equipment) suggested that they
become North American Reps for major test fixture
equipment and related products. Thus Zero Defects
International (ZDI) was formed as an LLC in October
2003 to take advantage of all previous work and
contacts. ZDI was created by incorporating and
representing several companies including the Indian
company Skyla Technologies for cam software and an
Italian company, Seica SpA, for test systems to
their list of principals. They also added German
company Viscom and also
a major Asian-based provider of test solutions for
the assembly industry worldwide. Now ZDI, LLC is
truly a global rep company taking advantage of their
experience and globalization.
counselors Mike Mulcahy and John Edwards enabled the
company to define the best core businesses they
helped us to focus on sales representation and to
acquire more global clients to sell products in
North America. Now services are generally performed
essentially to advance the sale of equipment, a
synergistic balance,” said Paul.
Michaela agreed with Paul and added, “space is even
rented to principals for sales purposes. The results
have been very positive in terms of sales and in
terms of having made lasting and mutually profitable
relationships with the companies mentioned above.
This will serve the company well going forward”.
founders were recently able to secure an SBA loan to
buy a building located 1931 O'Toole Way, San Jose,
to house their business and allow for further
expansion of clients and activities. Their web URL
will continue with the identification of new
opportunities, such as direct imaging for PCBs [as
manufactured by Miva Tech in Germany, and to promote
market penetration of these technologies.
From SCORE we would anticipate the same sound
exchange of ideas and sharpening of our focus as
we've enjoyed in our workings to date. We are
currently working on long-term forecasting at the
moment. Mentoring will continue for strategic
planning, business planning and cash flow reviews.”
Paul and Michaela concluded the story.