In war zones around the world, U.S. military and intelligence forces use high-tech tools to cope with enemy combatants who can appear suddenly and disappear quickly.
Some of those tech tools rely on software developed by Austin-based Ticom Geomatics Inc., which does the signals intelligence needed to analyze information from remote sensors that are airborne, land-based or sea-based.
Ticom is one of the “Notable Newcomers” in the American-Statesman’s 2016 Top Workplaces project.
The company describes itself in technical terms, which can be challenging for the layman to decipher.
Its tools are involved in precision geolocation — which means, finding things that the military and intelligence services are interested in finding. The company says it is a leader in creating systems for ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) and QRCs (Quick Response Capabilities).
Its systems have been deployed by U.S. forces since 2003.
Developing and trouble-shooting these sorts of high-tech systems takes highly skilled people. One of them is Jessie Preecs, engineering manager for Ticom’s geoanalysis team.
Preecs, who has a master’s degree in applied mathematics, says she enjoys her work, which can involve significant amounts of technical problem solving in analyzing the signals from remote networks.
“I love finding a pattern in data and figuring out a solution,” she said. “We are a problem-solving group. Everyone in my group likes the problem-solving aspect of the work.”
Much of the work Ticom’s technology is used for is classified, the company does get intelligence-cleared briefs relating to the success of its systems in the field.
Everyone on her team has a background in math, engineering, computer science or physical sciences.
The work is highly technical and highly important. Preecs says the people she works with closely identify with the critical need for what they are doing.
“We are protecting war fighters,” she said. “Everyone is sharing that purpose and mission. Everyone is pretty passionate (about the work) around here.”
Alvin Leung, engineering manager for the company’s research and development group, agrees that workers in the company have a strong sense of purpose.
“The best part of work is just having a group of smart and hard-working people who are focused on our mission and have the opportunity to contribute to the nation’s security and defense,” he said. “We know that the software we develop will have an impact that is tangible. That is very fulfilling. We want to deliver great products and you want to keep contributing to those projects going forward and making them better.”
The work is demanding, but the atmosphere is informal and collaborative, he said.
The company, which is now owned by CACI International, a defense contractor based in Arlington, Va., makes sure that top workers are acknowledged.
“I like the fact that people who are producing results get recognized,” Leung said.