ONTARIO - Southwest Medical Resources is looking primed for expansion.

Its business is servicing, refurbishing, leasing and selling Magnetic Resonance Imaging machines, CT (X-ray computed tomography) scanners and other sophisticated medical imaging devices.

Spare parts are a big part of the business. Southwest Medical sells imaging equipment parts to firms across the country that are also in the business of servicing MRIs, CTs or other imaging devices.

It got its start in 2005, when two engineers working for the GE Healthcare's Diagnostic Imaging group decided to form their own servicing company.

When Russ Caldwell and Don McCormack began their company, they were worked out of pickup trucks.

But the business grew rapidly. After a few years, it was operating out of five leased buildings scattered from Temecula to Apple Valley.

"This was horribly inefficient. Some days an engineer would spend a good part of his day picking up a part in Temecula and driving to Apple Valley to install it," said McCormack, chief executive officer.

Among its rental facilities was half of a 143,000-square-foot building at 1290 Elm St., Ontario.

Buying the whole building would enable Southwest Medical to consolidate under one roof.

But taking out a conventional loan would mean Southwest Medical's owners would need to pull out $3.3million from the business as their share of the loan, McCormack said.

The owners wound up connecting with Redlands-based Enterprise Funding Corp., which specializes in hooking up small growing businesses with U.S. Small Business Administration funding.

Enterprise Funding was able qualify Southwest Medical for a loan requiring a cash outlay of $550,000. The firm received credit for about $500,000 of its investment in building improvements.

"We could have never bought the building without the SBA loan," McCormack said.

Enterprise Funding and Community Bank of Pasadena funded most of the loan.

Among its services, Enterprise Funding shops loans to various banks, seeking the lowest interest rate for its client, said Jeff Sceranka, president.

Southwest Medical expects to increase its 75-person work force by about 20 this year. Much of that expansion will be to bring in-house some of the repair tasks that have been outsourced, McCormack said.


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