CEO of Marin County’s Scansite wins North Bay Women in Business award
Lisa Federici, CEO of the Marin County technology firm Scansite, is a winner of North Bay Business Journal’s 2021 Women in Business Awards.
Professional background: I come from a long line of entrepreneurs and have often worked in roles not traditionally filled by women.
After earning a business degree at Ohio University, I went to graduate school in Italy and came home with a love for antiquities and a master’s in art history. It was my experience in Italy that inspired my first business venture, which was an art and antique shop. It was so much fun hunting for beautiful and unusual treasures!
The shop was located in a college town where people tended to move in and out frequently and people were always asking me to move things.
One thing led to another, and I closed the antique shop and started a household moving business. Over time, the business grew to several large trucks and soon we were relocating people all over the country!
It was during this timeframe that I met my husband, David, and eventually moved to the West Coast.
He’s an architect who, at the time, was working for a designer furniture company. They were looking for someone to run the operational side of the business and I signed on. It was through my work at this company, that I was first introduced to 3D scanning.
Even though the technology was still in its infancy, it was mind blowing to see. I realized immediately the potential the technology had and knew I wanted to get involved. Although I didn’t quit the furniture business for some time, I started Scansite in 1994 and have been pushing the technology forward ever since.
Education:Bachelor of Science, business, Ohio University; Masters, art history/Ohio, University
Tell us about yourself and your company: Scansite is fortunate to work with a wonderfully diverse client base on a wide variety of projects. As one of the first 3D technology companies in the country, we have been providing services since 1994.
Since then, as the technology has evolved, Scansite has evolved right along with it, continuing to pave the way by applying cutting-edge technology and methods as soon as they are available.
This dedication to the industry has allowed Scansite to forge many long term and successful working relationships with companies like Boeing, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NASA, Tesla, NIKE, Hyundai, Warner Bros, 2K and the Smithsonian Institution.
Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?
The stakes were high when the Smithsonian Institution’s Air and Space Museum contacted Scansite to create 15 replicas of Neil Armstrong’s iconic spacesuit.
Not only did the Museum want the replicas to be truly faithful to the original, but they also wanted them to be so exact that viewers today could experience the same magic of that fateful day 50 years ago when Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon.
The life size, interactive “Apollo at the Park” replicas were being made in conjunction with the Museum’s 50th anniversary celebration of the event.
Making such faithful replicas meant a considerable amount of creative thinking was needed and is exactly the kind of project Scansite is known for.
The first question I always ask clients is where do they want to be at the end of the day? Then we work backwards from there to come up with a reasonable solution within a budget. Often, with projects like this, there’s going to a sweet spot between technology and craftsmanship.
The project began in Washington D.C. where high resolution 3D scanning was conducted on the original spacesuit. The scanning presented significant challenges as the suit was made from several different types of material and included detail such as hand stitching, insignia patches, see-through gauges, metal ports, gloves, boots, and Velcro! The suit also needed to be scanned upright and could not be moved during the process.
This meant the material folded onto itself which created numerous undercuts and hidden surfaces that could not be ‘seen’ by the 3D scanner.
Data editing such a project is complicated and can take months to complete, especially as our number one priority is to make sure that we are creating a 3D file that is completely faithful to the original with no artistic interpretation.
Once the scan data was complete, we used it to build a full-scale, 3D print of the entire spacesuit that was used to make a mold to pour 15 roto-cast resin sculptures.
The next step, and where the craftsmanship part of the process comes in, was to accurately hand-paint all fifteen copies.