Stefanie and Raymond Catania, husband and wife and Owners of Catania Enterprises, an engineering consultation and product design firm, met while studying Mechanical Engineering at The University of Central Florida. Upon graduating in 2008, they each entered the corporate world and worked for various engineering and defense corporations such as Lockheed Martin and L3Harris. Over the next ten years, Stefanie and Raymond both advanced in their careers, gained confidence and expanded their skill sets. However, according to Stefanie, something was missing.
"The corporate world was a very beneficial experience but it wasn't going to let us grow how we wanted," she said. "We're both extremely driven and we both always wanted to be in charge of our own future. We felt this way not long after graduating, but we were too young at the time to walk away from our corporate jobs. Having our children has driven us even more to find a solution that works for our whole family."
When Stefanie and Raymond launched Catania Enterprises in June 2018, it wasn't their first go around with entrepreneurship. As Stefanie shared, their journey was filled with trial and error and many different attempts over the past ten years.
"We've tried lots of things," she said. "We've done mechanical engineering side ventures, designs for motorcycles and even a gluten-free catering business. The catering business was actually quite successful and very fun, but before we had our first child, we decided that lifestyle wouldn't work for us and our goals."
Catania Enterprises represents a perfect blend of Stefanie's Project Management and Systems Engineering background with Raymond's technical expertise in Mechanical Engineering, Prototyping, Fabrication and Production. About six months after launching the company, Raymond walked away from the corporate life to focus entirely on the new business. Stefanie still has a part-time corporate job, but is preparing to step away some time this summer to join Raymond full-time.
Specializing in designing and prototyping artful products, Catania Enterprises is able to provide full engineering support services and sets itself apart in a number of ways.
"We specialize in taking an idea from a 'back-of-the-napkin' idea all the way through final prototyping, focusing on ensuring our client's product is visually appealing to the end-customer," Stefanie said. "We then provide consultation for production once the prototype is final. We have full engineering services support and our specialties are: Idea Conceptualization, 3D Modeling and Prototyping, Machining, Photo-Realistic Renderings, Material Selection, Startup Consulting and Proposal Support, Systems Engineering and IBM Rational DOORS, and Program/Project Management."
Stefanie continued, "We're also focused on a niche market that combines engineering and design in a thoughtful and artistic way. If you have a product, it's not just about making it useful. It's about designing something that the end-customer will love."
According to Stefanie, much of their rapid growth can be attributed to the excellent reputation both engineers have developed within the community. They're at a point now where they want to grow and hire, but they also want to ensure enough work is available.
"Right now it's like the chicken and the egg dilemma," Stefanie said. "We really want to hire two more employees to sustain current engineering work, allowing Ray and I to work on growing the business, but we also understand the importance of growing at a sustainable rate. We have had a very successful first year and want to continue by growing the business with talented employees, expanding our network and continuing to excel in our product designs and engineering support. Our top goal is to provide efficient, high-quality engineering to our customers. We know we succeed when they succeed."
What advice does Stefanie have for aspiring entrepreneurs? "Just keep trying," she said. "We have gone through so many ideas and startup businesses and just had to get the courage to take the best one and try it. We focused on choosing our passions and making them into the core of our business. You'll be so much more successful if you love what you are doing. Also, taking risks and accepting failure is part of the business, and with that, being flexible and optimistic is 100% necessary. Lastly, there are a lot of resources out there. Take advantage of them. Don't be afraid of all the paperwork required to start a business and don't be afraid of making mistakes."