Babson Professor Stephen Spinelli, Case Director

Jim Foster and Dan D'Heilly, Case Writers

 Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship

© Babson College, 1996


This case describes how a successful serial entrepreneur launched and harvested increasingly complex business ventures. AirTech was twelve years old in 1995, and it was one of the manufacturer's largest U.S. compressed-air machine distributors. The case provides a platform for discussing manufacturer/distributor and distributor/ distributor relationships as the entrepreneur evaluates strategic growth alternatives including buying additional distribution territories and pursuing vertical integration. This entrepreneur shaped an opportunity in a fragmented industry and helped change the market's perception of a once free service (accessing compressed air at gas stations). The case also describes the creative development of a service delivery system, and raises the issue of managing growth in a cash-based business.

This case is best used in courses with a focus on building a career as an entrepreneur, rapid growth, cash businesses, service delivery systems, consolidating fragmented industries, and dealerships.

Location of the company: Agawam, Massachusetts

Year(s) spanned by the case: 1985 through 1995

Industry segment(s): Coin-operated air vending machines

Stage of the company: Early growth

Age of the entrepreneur(s): 40s


There is no DVD is available for this case.

Teaching Notes

A 7-page case teaching package, written by Stephen Spinelli, is available for this case and will be included with a complimentary copy of any or all of the cases. The teaching package includes strategies for case presentation, key concepts, solutions to the assignment questions in the case, and suggestions for the most effective ways to work this case into a course.