It was the innovation to replace wooden and paper pallets with recyclable sustainable plastic shipping platforms that prompted Jeff Lamb, the Newnan-based entrepreneur originally from Calgary, Canada, to sever his ties with IKEA and launch OptiLedge in 2009.
In the start-up phase he also launched a materials handling and transportation consulting company. With the continued success of both firms, he recently decided to transform the consulting company as ULS Global Strategies LLC to focus on small- to medium-sized companies that have only an inkling of the international opportunities they might pursue.
“We have recast ourselves with a unique approach geared to small- and mid-sized companies to help them go international in a low risk and relatively low cost manner,” he told Global Atlanta.
He added that the firm’s unique strength comes from its global contacts with governmental service providers and the many business relationships that they have acquired over the years. In addition to his office in Newnan, the company has offices in Prague, the Czech Republic, and Brisbane, Australia, to cover European and Asian markets.
“The businesses that use our services have to pay a small upfront amount so that we know that they have skin in the game,” he added. “But we get paid for our services only if they are successful in a new market.”
He has teamed up with two trade professionals in Houston, Duaine Priestly and Michelle Zhang, who have had close ties to the U.S. Commerce Department and extensive experience in markets around the world.
While overseeing these global operations, Mr. Lamb also chaired the Georgia District Export Council, bringing together its chapters based in Atlanta and Savannah.
During his tenure as a District Export Council (DEC) member, he worked closely with the U.S. Export Assistance Centers in both Atlanta and Houston, where from 2003-07 he was an adjunct professor at the University of Houston. He also has been a distinguished executive professor at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.
Mr. Lamb has maintained ties to his business partners Mr. Priestly and Ms. Zhang who are based in Houston and have been affiliated with the Houston DEC and where Mr. Priestly was the director of the U.S. Export Assistance Center.
The company’s sights are not only on overseas markets, however. In view of Mr. Priestly and Ms. Zhang’s success in attracting medical tourism clients to Houston — (The Texas Medical Center has had as many as 40,000 a year, according to Mr. Lamb) he has promoted local hospitals and medical facilities in the Atlanta area to pursue a similar strategy.