Tag Archives: Growth

Colorado Springs’ presence shrinks on Inc’s list of 5,000 fastest-growing companies

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– Braxton Technologies, LLC which was started in 1994 and develops software to help Air Force commands in the Springs and Los Angeles automate satellite control and other tasks. The company made the list for the fourth consecutive year.

It employed 96 people at the end of last year, adding 58 in the past three years. Braxton’s revenue was up 78 percent since 2008 to $20.1 million, ranking it 3,735th, compared with 3,064th in 2012.

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Congratulations Braxton Science & Technology Group

Congratulations Braxton Science & Technology Group on making the 2014 Inc. 5000 annual list of fastest-growing private companies in America!  2014 marks our fifth time on Inc. 5000.  Check it out!  http://www.inc.com/profile/braxton-science-technology-group

Colorado Springs stalls amid federal squeeze, but cuts could aid expansion

  • By Braxton
  • Published April 8, 2013
  • Tagged

COLORADO SPRINGS — With a heavy concentration of military bases and defense-related businesses, it is not a matter of whether federal budget cuts will hit Colorado’s second-largest city but a matter of how hard.

However, some area business and political leaders, while bracing for economic bleeding, see an opportunity to recast the city’s economic future. Through a combination of nimble strategizing and aggressively targeting competitors for acquisition, a handful of companies operating in the shadow of Pikes Peak are hoping to position themselves and the city on a growth path.

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CPASC Contract Win

Braxton Technologies announced today that they have signed a 5 year, 4.5 million dollar subcontract with Kratos Defense & Security Solutions for work on the Consolidated (CCS-C) Sustainment and Production Contract (CPASC). The CPASC contract enables a unified Command and Control (C2) capability for the 50th Space Wing’s complete family of MILSATCOM satellite programs. By employing standards-based systems and an open architecture approach, the 50th Space Wing efficiently and cost-effectively supports legacy and emerging satellite platforms and programs. Braxton Technologies will provide simulation and human machine interface software sustainment services as well as reliability, maintainability and availability systems engineering and Technical Documentation Services. Ken O’Neil Braxton’s president and chief operation officer noted that “The CPASC Contract is an excellent addition to our portfolio as we now support the four major mission groups at Schriever Air Force Base including MILSATCOM, GPS, DMSP and the NRO. We are also looking forward to a long and prosperous relationship with our newest mission partners at Kratos Defense.” Braxton will add 5 new local jobs for the effort slated to begin 1 February.

High Valley Group, Inc. Invests in Braxton Technologies, LLC

  • By Braxton
  • Published October 2, 2012
  • Tagged

Purchase of minority interest represents continuing community commitment.

Colorado Springs, October 2, 2012: Braxton Technologies, LLC and High Valley Group, Inc. (HVGI) are pleased to announce that HVGI, through its affiliate company High Valley Technology, Inc., has purchased a minority interest in Braxton Technologies. David Francis, President of HVGI, stated “we are pleased to have purchased a minority interest in one of the fastest growing technology companies in this city. Not only does Braxton appear to be very sound on the business front, but they are also very civically minded. Braxton’s vision for acquiring Department of Defense companies and bringing their headquarters to Colorado Springs aligns well with HVGI’s interest in promoting economic development for the city.”

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Braxton’s Strategic Reorganization

  • By Braxton
  • Published September 12, 2012
  • Tagged

Braxton Technologies announced the promotion of Kenneth O’Neil to president and chief operating officer. O’Neil is a Colorado native and has spent 27 years in the defense business, including the last five as COO for Braxton. O’Neil also reorganized the company, promoting six current Braxton employees to director: Jim Robinson, director of operations; Kevin Hoskins, director of finance; Mark Hutter, director of information technology; Chad Raymo, director of product planning and development; Bev O’Neil, director of corporate services; and Ed Baron, director of sales and marketing. Baron, recently retired from the Air Force with the rank of colonel, is a recent addition to Braxton; he has more than 26 years of experience with numerous National Reconnaissance Office, Air Force, Army, Navy, NASA and DARPA space programs working operations, acquisition and communications support.

Braxton President Lauded for Community Contributions

On Wednesday, the annual Arts, Business and Education Luncheon celebrated Colorado Springs-area business leaders who foster the arts.

This year’s event was opened by Charlie Baughman, senior site manager for Progressive insurance. His message: Art may need business, but business also needs art.

The O’Neil Group Company CEO and Braxton Technologies President, Kevin O’Neil, took home two awards: first, for his success in establishing the Colorado Springs Conservatory’s new home and, second, for helping rejuvenate the downtown area through the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Corporation, and Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo.

Braxton Named Security & Defense Technology Company of the Year

  • By Braxton
  • Published November 11, 2011
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Nine businesses, local governments and civic groups were honored Wednesday at the Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corp.’s sixth annual Excellence in Local Industry Awards.

The event recognizes contributions to the community by employers, innovators and entrepreneurs, and their supporters. The recognition took place during a reception at The Broadmoor hotel in Colorado Springs.

The winner of the Security and Defense Technology Company of the Year Award, which recognizes a Pikes Peak region company that develops products to support the military, homeland defense or space industries, was Braxton Technologies. Braxton owns a line of ground-system products that are used to operate satellites and provide engineering and support services. The company also provides technical support to Air Force satellite programs, among other programs and services.

Read the full article:

http://www.gazette.com/articles/honored-128197-businesses-contributions.html#ixzz1dJlu3jaJ

Inc5000 Honors Braxton & Other Springs-Area Companies

  • By Braxton
  • Published September 14, 2011
  • Tagged ,

For the second year in a row, Braxton Technologies has made the Inc5000 list of fastest-growing private companies.

To make the list, companies had to be founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2007, based in the United States and be privately held, for-profit and independent — not units of other companies — as of Dec. 31, 2010. The minimum 2010 revenue requirement for the list was $2 million.

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Braxton Joins Downtown Renaissance

Four years ago, Colorado Springs business people and civic leaders finalized Imagine Downtown, an ambitious plan touting more retail, housing, employers and attractions for the area.

Today, supporters say the economy has made it tough for downtown to become the round-the-clock, live-work-play environment they’ve visualized, but strides have been made.

Critics, however, say there’s not much they can do other than imagine a better downtown because the area remains troubled.

“Our downtown’s in intensive care,” said Rich Walker of First Properties Inc., a commercial real estate broker who’s marketing an empty downtown space that, until May, had been occupied for nearly 25 years by Mrs. Fields Cookies.

Traditional, big-name stores have been replaced by tiny, no-name shops, he says. There’s no convention center or baseball stadium to attract visitors; financial incentives to woo businesses are lacking; and nightclubs and bars have taken over prime retail spots along Tejon Street, bringing undesirables to downtown’s shopping district, Walker said.

“I fully expect those three blocks, Colorado to Bijou on Tejon, to be ‘Bourbon Street west,’ ” he said. “I think it will be populated by bars, restaurants, tattoo parlors, novelty stores. I’m just waiting for the first ‘X’ (adult) store to open. The reality is that the retailers are leaving. The quality retailers downtown have voted with their feet.”

Chris Jenkins board president of the Downtown Partnership advocacy group and head of Nor’wood Development Group, has a much more positive view.

The area has a lower office vacancy rate than any part of the city and new employers and businesses have arrived or are coming, Jenkins said. The area maintains a vibrant retail mix, even as some stores have come and gone. And the Imagine Downtown plan demonstrated there’s a broad, civic commitment to the area.

“As we look at this last political campaign, both (mayoral candidates) ran heavily on the heart of our community and how important our downtown is,” said Jenkins, whose company has invested tens of millions of dollars in downtown real estate.

The different assessments underscore downtown’s still uncertain future.

Downtown boosters have known for years what they want the area to become, but still are trying to get there. Critics, meanwhile, complain not enough is being done to maintain downtown as the city’s governmental, cultural and business hub.

For now, though, there’s little disagreement that the dismal economy has taken a toll on downtown.

The area’s retail vacancy rate jumped to 14.3 percent in the second quarter of this year,  according to figures compiled by Sierra Commercial Real Estate, a Springs brokerage; it was 5.9 percent in the months just after the Imagine Downtown plan was completed.

Other parts of the community have been hit hard by the economy, too, of course, and there are plenty of gaping storefronts along Powers Boulevard or Academy Boulevard and in some of the city’s newer and trendier shopping centers.

But it’s just not the economy that has hurt downtown retail. Linda Hunter owns Johannes Hunter Jewelers at 124 N. Tejon St. and has operated her business downtown since it opened in 1988. By Thanksgiving, she’ll have moved her store to the University Village Colorado retail center, northwest of Nevada Avenue and Garden of the Gods Road.

Hunter said she remains a vocal downtown supporter, but it’s not the same place it once was. Tejon’s nightclubs and bars don’t open until early evening — effectively becoming vacant retail spaces in the daytime that don’t attract shoppers during the hours she’s open. Hunter said she wants to be near a critical mass of storefronts similar to hers, which she’ll find at University Village, where a Costco Wholesale Club, a Kohl’s department store and several other stores and restaurants have opened in recent years.

“Downtown just is not getting the growth we’d like to see,” she said.

The homeless people who frequent downtown are an issue, too, she says.

“If you have a high homeless population,” Hunter said, “it’s a less relaxed atmosphere.”

Gary Feffer of commercial brokerage Fountain Colony, said closings over the last several years of the Chinook Book Store, the Elgin Edwards clothing store, Michelle Chocolatiers & Ice Cream and Hathaway’s newsstand have left downtown lacking the one-of-a-kind retailers that made the area special.

“Those have been the anchors of our downtown,” Feffer said. “And we have not replaced those anchors, to a certain degree.”

One big name retailer did move to downtown late last year — 7-Eleven, which has leased the ground floor of the former World Savings building on the northeast corner of Pikes Peak Avenue and Tejon Street in the heart of downtown.

Some downtown boosters welcomed the retailer and its variety of convenience items. But for Walker and Feffer, putting 7-Eleven on arguably downtown’s most prominent corner is a waste of prime retail space.

“That’s the best we can do?” Feffer said.

Downtown also won’t be helped by the loss of several hundred employees when El Paso County government offices move to the former Intel chip-manufacturing plant on the city’s northwest side, Feffer said. And panhandlers who hit on downtown patrons and drunken customers spilling out of bars and nightclubs are problems that hurt the image of the area, he said.

Walker, meanwhile, says the area needs major financial incentives offered by other communities, such as loan programs and tax credits, that would encourage retailers, businesses, employers and headquarters companies to move downtown. A combined convention center and civic arena — the kind of anchor urban planners have identified as potential downtown people generators, but which voters routinely have rejected — also would attract stores, restaurants and visitors, he said.

“The bottom line is, with our downtown, there just isn’t any reason to be downtown,” Walker said.

Not true, say downtown supporters, who point to plenty of businesses that have chosen to be there.

There are more office users downtown, on a percentage basis, than in other submarkets around the city, said Jenkins. The vacancy rate for downtown office buildings was 11.5 percent in the second quarter, compared with 14.5 percent citywide, according to Turner Commercial Research of Colorado Springs. And the vacancy rate for Class A, or top-of-the-line, buildings was 9.9 percent downtown; across the rest of the city, the rate is nearly 20 percent.

Last year, the U.S. Olympic Committee moved its Boulder Street headquarters to a new building at Tejon and Colorado Avenue, after receiving a $42.3 million community incentives package. Freedom Financial, a Colorado Springs mortgage company, also opened an office on the building’s first floor.

Meanwhile, a partnership that includes the majority owners of Braxton Technologies of Colorado Springs bought the Chase One building, across the street from 7-Eleven at Pikes Peak and Tejon, in June, and Braxton plans to move its 80 employees there by year’s end, said company president Kevin O’Neil. Braxton will take the building’s second floor and basement, and is looking to attract other businesses to the building, where the Vladmir Jones advertising and public relations agency is among the tenants.

The Chase One building’s $5.8 million purchase price — coming out of foreclosure — was right, and its central location was attractive, O’Neil said. But the decision was more than just dollars and cents and location, he added.

As a Springs native and downtown resident, he says he strongly believes downtown is worth investing in. Not only will the building’s value grow, he said, but downtown has stores, restaurants, parks and other amenities that will help his company attract highly paid, young software engineers who enjoy a pedestrian friendly, urban environment.

The company hopes to double its workforce in the next two years — which might mean leasing or acquiring a second downtown building, O’Neil said.

“We believe if you’re going to be somewhere,” he said, “why not be downtown?”

For other businesses considering downtown, incentives are in place, said Ron Butlin, executive director of the Downtown Partnership.

A so-called form-based zoning designation approved for downtown is designed to offer more flexible zoning that will make it easier to develop mixed-use projects. A portion of that zoning designation includes relaxed parking rules for development taking place within most of downtown’s core; a developer constructing an office building, for example, would determine how much parking is needed to make the project attractive to tenants, instead of being required to provide a specific number of spaces.

The Downtown Development Authority, approved by downtown property owners in 2006, was created to help spur area improvements, such as spruced up building facades, creating sidewalk cafes and nicer business signs, Butlin said. Since its creation, the authority has distributed nearly $608,000 in grants to downtown businesses, who also are required to provide matching funds. So far, the money has come from a special downtown tax.

Russ Mallery, who opened the 7-Eleven store at Pikes Peak and Tejon in December and who owns two other convenience stores just outside downtown, is happy to be downtown, although he acknowledges he’s had a few problems.

Mallery said he deals regularly with homeless people who sit on the benches in front of his store and ask for money. It doesn’t bother men so much, but “a female customer who sees five or six homeless people, they want to walk by as quick as possible.”

A brawl one night between downtown bar patrons resulted in a shattered window and $6,000 in damage, he said. On New Year’s Eve, a young woman threw up in the store, which forced Mallery to throw out $900 worth of products.

Mallery said he’s making money, although he isn’t yet hitting the numbers he projected. But his store has proven to be an oasis for downtown shoppers and employees who want food and drug store items they can’t find elsewhere else, especially since downtown has no grocery store or Walgreens. Mallery said he gets repeated requests for panty hose sales, and he’s trying to figure out if he can add greeting cards and flowers.

“The store has made a positive impact on the downtown community,” Mallery said. “I think people really enjoy that it’s there.”

Officer M.J. Thomson, of the Police Department’s special unit that works with the city’s homeless population, said downtown always will be a place where homeless people gather, in part, because the Marian House Soup Kitchen is on downtown’s west edge. But things seem to have improved since the City Council’s action last year to remove homeless camps along Fountain and Monument creeks, Thomson said.

“That said, we’re always going to have people panhandling. You can go to any city in the United States, you’re always going to have that population there.”

Meanwhile, a coalition of downtown business people, nightclub owners and Colorado Springs police has worked diligently in recent years to curb nighttime problems, said Butlin, of the Downtown Partnership.

A downtown team of officers regularly patrols downtown Tuesdays through Sundays, while the Police Department has created a separate radio frequency for downtown calls, which speeds law enforcement’s response to problems in the area, Butlin said. Meanwhile, police meet regularly with nightclub and bar owners to discuss issues and what remedies have worked or not worked.

The downtown Syn nightclub — the scene of several violent incidents over the past several years — lost its liquor license and closed. The former nightclub has been bought by a church and is being remodeled for its new owners’ use.

“The tenor of what’s going on downtown is just vastly different,” Butlin said.

Kathy Guadagnoli, who along her husband, Sam, operate Cowboys and several other downtown clubs, said they’ve gone to great lengths to work with police and downtown businesses to identify and address problems. One of the latest innovations that police and downtown officials plan to announce soon: A high-tech system that will allow participating bars and clubs to capture the names, driver’s license numbers and photos of patrons, and use the information to identify troublemakers.

Downtown nightclubs have gotten a bad reputation because of one or two establishments, Kathy Guadagnoli says. Her businesses have been regular sponsors and contributors to many downtown events and charities.

“We’re not responsible for the world’s problems,” she said of her nightclubs, “but we try and do the best we can.”

Contact the writer at 636-0228

 

HITS, MISSES AND WORKS IN PROGRESS

For years, civic leaders, developers and business people have envisioned a thriving downtown: Residents of apartments and lofts strolling to nearby shops and stores; employees of downtown businesses dining at restaurants and coffee shops; and tourists and visitors enjoying the area’s parks and other amenities.

Several downtown dreams have come true in recent years, others have flopped and some remain under way or on the drawing board. Here’s a look at a few of them:

HITS

•  The 280,000-square-foot, 13-story Plaza of the Rockies south tower, southeast of Colorado Avenue and Tejon Street, was completed in 2001 by Nor’wood Development Group of Colorado Springs. It’s now one of downtown’s top office destinations.

• Several hundred lofts, townhomes and apartments were built starting in the late 1990s on the south edge of downtown, southeast of Rio Grande Street and Nevada Avenues, as part of an urban renewal project around the former Lowell Elementary School.

• The upper floors of a handful of buildings in downtown’s core have been converted into trendy lofts, including along Tejon Street, the area’s primary retail district. A newly constructed building with luxury condos was constructed along Monument Valley Park.

• Downtown business people and property owners approved creation of the Downtown Development Authority in 2006. Using a special property tax and revenue from future downtown development, the authority was envisioned to promote housing, retail and office development, building upgrades and other improvements.

MISSES

• In August 2001, the Colorado Springs City Council declared about 100 acres of southwest downtown as an urban renewal site, and developers bought property in the area envision a large mixed-use development known as Palmer Village. A decade later, little has happened in southwest downtown, other than the city’s construction of America the Beautiful Park.

• CityGate, a council-approved urban renewal project in 2007, was supposed to go up southeast of Cimarron and Sawatch streets. Like Palmer Village, CityGate has never taken off.

• Six years ago, two local developers announced separate plans to build mixed-use buildings on the City Auditorium block. Both projects were envisioned with 20-plus stories of offices, residences and retail, and both developers spent thousands of dollars on their plans.

Developer Ray O’Sullivan later pulled the plug on his Cooper Tower, lost the property he had purchased on the block to foreclosure and later declared bankruptcy. Nor’wood Development Group, whose project was called Pikes Peak Place, shelved its project because of the ailing economy, and might reconsider it when conditions improve.

WORKS IN PROGRESS

• The former Mining Exchange Building, which is being remodeled into the The Mining Exchange, a Wyndham Grand Hotel, was scheduled to open in late spring at Nevada and Pikes Peak avenues. The hotel hasn’t opened yet, but work continues on the project.

Read more at http://gazette.com/as-businesses-come-and-go-views-of-downtown-differ/article/123520#QzWfFALV5KvWYX6z.99

Braxton at CMMI Level 2

  • By Braxton
  • Published August 4, 2011
  • Tagged

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Braxton Technologies, LLC today announced achievement of their Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) Level 2 rating. CMMI is a framework for business process improvement that a company may apply to its standards, processes and procedures to implement practices that have proven successful worldwide. The CMMI process is gradual, and companies achieve level ratings as they institutionalize their processes.

Braxton COO, Ken O’Neil, is justifiably proud. “This is Braxton’s first step of several to come in the area of process improvement that allows us to compete and team with larger contractors as an equal partner, not just an average small business,” Ken explains. “The entire Braxton organization remains focused on, and excited about, maintaining effective processes and continuously improving on them.

Braxton HQ to Move Downtown

  • By Braxton
  • Published July 13, 2011
  • Tagged

A partnership that includes the majority owners of Braxton Technologies has acquired the former Chase Bank building in downtown Colorado Springs and plans to move the defense software company there in October in a bid to adopt a higher profile locally.

 

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Braxton on GD AIS SSC PAC Cyberspace Team

Four of the nation’s largest government contractors have won Navy task orders under a multiple-award, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract with a total potential value of $204 million over five years if all options are exercised.

The awards by the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific, San Diego, call for the quartet to examine the science, architecture, engineering, functionality, interface and interoperability of cyberspace systems at the tactical, operational and strategic levels, according to a Defense Department announcement.

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Braxton CEO Discusses Government Contracting Success

  • By Braxton
  • Published November 5, 2010
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“Small businesses that are looking to be subcontractors to larger prime contractors should ‘focus on the need of the customer, and then the relationship with the prime contractor will fall into place,’ said Frank Backes, CEO of Colorado Springs-based Braxton Technologies.”

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Braxton Front-End Processor KS-252 Interface Announced

  • By Braxton
  • Published April 30, 2010
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Braxton Technologies, LLC today announced the integration of its industry-leading ACE Premier™ command and control (C2) product suite Front End Processor (FEP) with AMERGINT Technologies, LLC softFEP™. This integration ensures seamless interface of the Braxton AceFEP and the latest Air Force Cryptologic Systems Group (CPSG) IP-based satellite ground station cryptographic device, the KS-252. The new KS-252 Ground Operating Equipment is slated for use on space vehicle and ground segment programs for which ACE Premier™ is well-positioned. The KS-252 crypto significantly reduces design complexity and cost for new and modernized command and control systems while maintaining data security and integrity.

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eSpace Expands Board of Directors

eSpace: The Center for Space Entrepreneurship, a non-profit business incubator for aerospace companies, today announced that it has added new members [Frank Backes, CEO, Braxton Technologies, LLC] to its board of directors and a new member to its team of government liaisons. Already lauded for workforce development programs that encourage high school and college students to enter the aerospace industry, eSpace now fortifies its position as mentor with high-level, connected advisors and guides who can help space entrepreneurs succeed in the highly-regulated, tight-knit aerospace industry during a recessionary economy.

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Springs Growing Leader in Aerospace Tech

Colorado Springs is building a reputation as a leader in the Global Positioning Satellite marketplace. Not only is the city home to the missile defense and satellite control systems headquartered at Schriever Air Force and to Air Force Space Command’s headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base, it is supported by emerging private sector GPS companies as well.

That growing focus was noted recently by ClearanceJobs.com, when Colorado Springs was included among the top 10 Defense Job cities – due in large part to a concentration of private sector companies that surround the area’s military aerospace industry.

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Ernst & Young announces Rocky Mountain finalists for Entrepreneur of the Year

  • By Braxton
  • Published May 14, 2009
  • Tagged

Ernst & Young LLP Thursday announced the Rocky Mountain region finalists for its Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards. The finalists [to include Braxton CEO, Frank Backes] were chosen by an independent judging panel of regional business, academic and community leaders. The winners will be announced at a gala on June 18 at the Grand Hyatt Denver hotel.

“Entrepreneurs contribute so much to our economy and the fabric of this nation,” said Jim Wilson, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year program director for the Rocky Mountain region, in a statement. “These finalists help our region create jobs, while encouraging community growth, development and innovation. We are pleased to honor them.”

The finalists are:

Kevin Semcken, chairman & CEO, Able Planet Inc.

Pascal Noronha, president & CEO, Abound Solar

Kathy Boe, president & CEO, Boecore Inc.

Frank Backes, CEO, Braxton Technologies LLC

Stephen Patterson, president & CEO; Brian Brown, Chief Technology

Officer; and Michael Davis, Executive Vice President; Broadnet

John Tredennick, CEO, Catalyst Repository Systems

Michael Moniz, founder, president & CEO, Circadence Corp.

Brad Poorman, CEO, Cocona Inc.

Barry W. Cooper, chairman & CEO, Cooper Tea Co.

Marcia Coulson, president, Eldon James / EJ BioMed

Michael Fiore, president, Fiore & Sons, Inc.

Scott Wylie, chairman & CEO, First Western Financial, Inc. / First

Western Trust Bank

Robert Levitt, president, Hudspeth & Associates, Inc.

John Raeder, president & CEO, IQNavigator, Inc.

Blake Jones, co-owner, founder, President, & CEO, Namaste Solar

Jim Perry, CEO & owner, Bob Deibel, President & Owner, OfficeScapes Group

David Chernow, president & CEO, Oncure Medical Corp.

Joshua Onysko, founder & CEO, Pangea Organics

Rajat Bhargava, president & CEO, Still Secure

Roy Dimoff, chairman & CEO, ViaWest, Inc.

Dan Caruso, president & CEO, Zayo Group

Regional winners will be eligible for the national Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2009 awards, to be presented Nov. 14 at Palm Springs, Calif.

In the Rocky Mountain region, sponsors include Faegre & Benson, Clifton Gunderson LLP, LeGrand Hart, and the Denver Business Journal.

SOURCE: http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/stories/2009/05/11/daily68.html

Sky No Limit to Satellite Company

  • By Braxton
  • Published October 29, 2008
  • Tagged

(The Gazette/Jerilee Bennett) Frank Backes is the Chief Executive Officer and Kenneth O'Neil is the Chief Operating Officer (not to be confused with his brother, Kevin O'Neil) of Braxton Technologies. On the desk behind them is a model of a GPS Satellite that was designed by Braxton

By Bill Radford, The Gazette. Colorado Springs-based Braxton Technologies, at a time when many companies are hunkering down and trying to survive, is focused on growth.

Picture: (The Gazette/Jerilee Bennett) Frank Backes is the Chief Executive Officer and Kenneth O’Neil is the Chief Operating Officer (not to be confused with his brother, Kevin O’Neil) of Braxton Technologies. On the desk behind them is a model of a GPS Satellite that was designed by Braxton.

Helping fuel that growth: a role on an ITT team recently awarded a massive contract by the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center to provide operations support for its space and ground communications networks. The maximum potential value of the contract is $1.26 billion.

Braxton is a software development and services company specializing in satellite ground command and control systems. “What that means,” explains Frank Backes, Braxton’s chief executive officer, “is that basically we build the software and the infrastructure on the ground to be able to fly either satellites or weapons systems.”

Though the new NASA contract may not be the biggest one the company has been part of, Backes said, Braxton’s role is larger than in some other deals. “The potential for business to Braxton is greater than any program in the past,” he said.

The company hasn’t called Colorado Springs home for long. Though it has had an office on Wooten Road on the east side of the Springs, for about three years, the company was headquartered in Pleasanton, Calif., until this past summer, when Springs-based The O’Neil Group Co. bought the business and moved it here.

Backes was already here, having lived in Colorado Springs since 1985. He joined Braxton when the local office was launched.

“I came aboard three years ago to grow the company all over the country, but primarily here,” Backes said. Colorado Springs, he pointed out, is a center for satellite command and control. It’s home to Cheyenne Mountain, Peterson Air Force Base and Schriever Air Force Base, where Braxton has a role in launching and flying the Global Positioning System satellite constellation.

Bill Simpson and his wife, Loraine, both engineers, started Braxton Technologies in California in 1994. It’s always been a very engineering-focused company, Backes said.

The O’Neil Group has added emphasis on marketing and business development. It’s a shift that Backes – who while earning his bachelor’s degree in semiconductor physics from the University of California at San Diego also minored in communications and marketing – sees as key to growing the business.

Even before the acquisition, Backes’ efforts were paying off. While he didn’t divulge revenue figures, he said revenue has grown in the 25 percent to 40 percent range each year over the three years. When he started, Braxton had about a dozen employees. Now it has more than 60, most. The company also has offices in California and Florida, and with the awarding of the NASA contract is looking at opening offices in Washington, D.C., and White Sands, N.M.

It was Braxton’s growth potential that appealed to Kevin O’Neil of The O’Neil Group Co., a corporation specializing in strategic acquisitions and services. O’Neil didn’t have to go far to learn about Braxton; his brother Ken is chief operating officer.

The company could easily employ 500 people in five years, Kevin O’Neil said. “If we’re not 200 by the end of 2009, I would be very surprised.”

Much of Braxton’s work has been for the defense industry, an industry Backes acknowledged faces a future of tightening budgets. But with “an aggressive price point” for its products, he said, “as the budgets tighten, our business tends to get better.”

Meanwhile, contracts such as the one with NASA open new avenues for Braxton.

“The satellite industry as a whole is very stable,” O’Neil said.

Most of Braxton’s work is done as a subcontractor under major players such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin and ITT. But Backes sees that changing.

“Over the long period of time, we expect Braxton to be bidding as prime contractor,” he said.

Colorado boasts the nation’s third-largest space economy, with the aerospace industry providing $4 billion to $5 billion in revenue annually in the state, according to the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. But while many big-name aerospace companies have operations in Colorado, few are based in the state, Backes said.

“Our philosophy very much is to grow an aerospace company headquartered here in Colorado.”

Braxton Expands Colorado Springs Headquarters

Braxton Headquarters, located Colorado Springs, held a facility expansion ribbon cutting celebration on July 29th, 2008. The Chamber of Commerce attended with multiple ambassadors and provided the materials for the ribbon cutting.

GAZETTE NEWSPAPER PAGE

After the ribbon cutting, Kevin O’Neil, Braxton President, and Brian Binn, Chamber President of Military Affairs spoke. Kevin highlighted Braxton’s achievements, growth areas, and planned business opportunities in product, services, and acquisitions. Brian expressed his appreciation for Braxton joining the Chamber earlier in the month and for the opportunities Braxton is bringing to Colorado

GAZETTE NEWSPAPER PAGE

 Expansion ribbon cutting ceremony for Braxton Headquarters.Chamber of Commerce Joined Braxton for the Ribbon Cutting Expansion ribbon cutting ceremony for Braxton Headquarters.Kevin O’Neil (left) and Frank Backes (right) Cutting the Ribbon

 

Expansion ribbon cutting ceremony for Braxton Headquarters.Post-Cut Picture of Braxton Employess and Chamber Members
 Expansion ribbon cutting ceremony for Braxton Headquarters.  Photograph: Kevin O'Neil (left), President, Braxton Technologies.  Brian Binn (right), President, Military Affairs Division of the Chamber.Kevin O’Neil and Chamber Member Brian Binn   Expansion ribbon cutting ceremony for Braxton Headquarters.  Photograph: Frank Backes (left), CEO, Braxton Technologies.  Brian Binn (middle), President, Military Affairs Division of the Chamber.  Debbie Estrem (right), FSO/BD, Braxton Technologies.Frank Backes Illustrating Braxton Product Capability

A New Air Force Association (AFA) Partner

Braxton Technologies, LLC, has become the Air Force Association (AFA) Lance P Sijan Chapter’s newest Community Partner. The Air Force Association supports local military personnel and organizations, and Braxton affirmed its commitment to this important work by joining over 150 other Chapter Community Partners.

Tom Cavalli, Air Force Association Lance P Sijan Chapter President presents Community Partner plaque to Frank Backes, CEO, Braxton Technologies, LLC.

Braxton Technologies’ ACE Premier™ Framework provides an infrastructure of configurable applications, tools, and simulators that dramatically reduce cost and accelerates the development and deployment of command and control systems. Braxton Technologies also offers consulting services, engineering support and training on all products. Products and services are available on our GSA contract. The company has offices in Pleasanton, California; Melbourne, Florida; and Colorado Springs, Colorado. For more information on Braxton Technologies Inc., visit us at www.braxtontech.com.