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Medium For-Profit CEO of the Year: Adesis President & CEO Andrew Cottone

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When the research and development company that employed Andrew Cottone in the early 2000s wound up in serious trouble, he and his wife knew somebody had to act fast – Cottone was that somebody.

Andrew Cottone acquired the research and development company where he was employed in the early 2000s and rebranded it as Adesis.

Andrew Cottone | PHOTO COURTESY OF ADESIS

The old company he was with at the time had more than $1 million in debt, major layoffs and no customers after trade secrets were stolen. Then, with his wife’s support, he bought it in 2004, naming it Adesis after his wife and three daughters – he then passionately brought the company he knew back to life with the help of a team of fellow chemists.

“I said to my wife, ‘Can I borrow all of our money and buy the company?’ She looked at me with such confidence, I looked behind me to see who she saw and there was nobody there. When somebody looks at you with such confidence, you better not let her down,” he told the Delaware Business Times. “It’s a pretty cool story. There were about 16 of us who banded together with 15,000 square feet of space in New Castle – and we won all of our contracts back and started to grow.”

In 2016, with 43 employees on the docket and 25,000 sq. ft. of laboratory space, Adesis was sold to Universal Display Corporation for about $36 million. Cottone continues to stay on as its president and CEO to this day. As of last year, the company had grown to 164 employees with a total revenue of $46 million and 100,000 square feet of lab and office space to its name over two sites.

“We’re definitely growing and hope to have a more global presence,” he told DBT. “The key to being an entrepreneur is once you have your idea, your vision, commit yourself to success and answer those hard questions.”

Cottone, who has done just that for nearly 20 years through Adesis, recently decided to ask more of those hard questions by starting another Delaware-based company, First State Hydrogen, with a mission of continuing work in the scientific field by providing profitable and clean hydrogen throughout the Mid-Atlantic. Through this new venture, Cottone is committed to working to maximize Delaware’s potential as a partner in a renewable energy future while continuing to focus on the business he grew and loves.

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