Root3 Labs specializes in prototype development that leans into the field of medicine. Chad Schneider, the company’s founder, solves puzzles that may actually save lives.

“The work that we do benefits people, in that it’s medically related, and that’s inspiring. It’s part of the reason why I love my work, but the other reason is that I get to solve problems all day long.”

Schneider, 42, founded Root3 Labs in the garage of his Owings Mills home six years ago. At first it was just a one-man show, but as his client base expanded, his workload grew.

“I made the decision to hire my first and second employee almost within a month of each other and create more of a company — and that’s what we did.”

In their new Randallstown location, where they’ve been for just over a year, Root3 Labs has four employees including Schneider. The company takes on about eight commission jobs at a time. The prototypes they create range from FDA-regulated devices and processes, which interact with the body, to something as large scale as a hospital’s pneumatic tube system, used for transporting blood samples, drugs and even paperwork around the hospital efficiently.

The fact that all of Root3’s projects are connected to that vertical industry of medicine is no accident. Schneider obtained his master’s degree in mechanical engineering at Johns Hopkins University, which, as he points out, is a medically inclined institution.

“I was doing medical robotics, where we were inserting a needle into the prostate under ultrasound guidance, so it was medical research. When I left Hopkins I got a job at a company designing medical devices, and I really just sort of progressed along that route. In a lot of ways, it’s sort of part chance, part direction that I chose.”

When talking about the work he does at Root3, Schneider comes across as excited, smiling and speaking quickly about what they do, but only in broad terms. Because the nature of his work is so confidential, he can’t divulge any information about specific projects.

“[The secrecy] is a problem for marketing. It presents an issue because I can’t post details about projects that might even be a year old. I’ve already finished, it’s out the door, my client hasn’t published about it yet, so it’s still confidential. I can’t write about it.”

But that’s just the nature of the industry Schneider has chosen to work in, and in some ways the confidentiality of prototype development creates an environment of trust, which has helped Root3 develop strong connections with its clients.

“Trust is really one of those things that’s hard to build. It’s easy to break, and we have very good relationships with all of our customers,” he says. “That’s very important to me, that our clients come back and continue to work with us and continue to trust us to solve their problems. We have a lot of great customers that really keep us happy, and we keep them happy.”

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Kyle Fierstien is a Baltimore-based freelance writer.