Company Founder and General Manager, Mikro Systems
Mike Appleby is an innovator and entrepreneur. After attending the Berklee College of Music in the 1980’s, he pursued his first career as a professional musician in the Boston area. Mikes work as a drummer included performing, teaching and managing a small music publication company. Mike eventually pivoted to a new career working for several small businesses in the field of photo-chemical-etching, where he honed his engineering skills as a precision toolmaker. He formally entered the manufacturing arena in 1994 when he joined the metals division of the Thermo Electron Corporation as Manager of New Product Development. With a small team of engineers Mike began developing new and innovative fabrication techniques by combining precision machining and assembly with photo-chemical-etching. Using this hybrid approach the team went on to commercialize its first product; a 2D anti-scatter grid for x-ray mammography, which quickly became the gold standard for lower x-ray dosage, better imaging and early detection of breast cancer. Other successes followed including advanced x-ray collimators for NASA’s RHESSI solar imager and the DARHT facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where megavolt radiography is used to test aging nuclear weapons under the DOE’s Stockpile Stewardship program.
In January 2001 with a vision for advanced manufacturing, Mike and two co-founders started Mikro Systems Incorporated (Mikro) in Charlottesville Virginia. They formed the company to commercialize products using NASA’s “faster, better, cheaper” approach. By combining lithography with molding and casting methods, a manufacturing platform emerged which they called “Tomo-Lithographic-Molding” (TOMO). Under Mike’s leadership, TOMO was applied to the Healthcare, Energy and Aerospace markets, resulting in significant breakthroughs for medical CT and gas turbine technology. The company received funding through a series of SBIR grants from the National Energy Technology Laboratory to advance the manufacture of internally cooled turbine airfoils for large industrial gas turbines. In 2011, Mikro licensed its TOMO technology to Siemens Energy who built a manufacturing center in Charlottesville Virginia. In healthcare, Mikro has produced over 200,00 2D anti-scatter grids for a major OEM in the medical CT market. In January 2018 the company was acquired by a large US aerospace OEM to develop next generation technology for its military and commercial jet engines. At the time of the acquisition the company held over 140 patents. Since Mikro’s inception more than 200 manufacturing jobs have been created in Charlottesville Virginia. Mike currently serves as the company’s general manager where he continues innovate and create US manufacturing jobs.