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Fiore Industries: Engineering a path into new markets

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque engineering firm Fiore Industries Inc. is rapidly climbing the ranks among New Mexico’s top-performing technology businesses.

Last year, the company had earned eighth place on the Flying 40 list of fast-growing firms with less than $10 million in revenue. But this year, it leapt to No. 4 among companies with more than $10 million after reporting $16.5 million in revenue for 2016.

That’s up 207 percent from the $5.4 million Fiore earned in 2012, and 79 percent from 2015, when it reported $9.2 million in earnings.

Fiore founder, President and CEO Bill Miera says the company is reaping the rewards of a change in strategy a few years ago, while drawing on the broad range of engineering expertise it’s developed since launching in 1989 to expand its horizons.

Prior to 2008, most income came from defense-related contracts in New Mexico. But the war in Iraq diverted federal defense spending away from the military research and development work that Fiore was supporting, forcing it to seek new customers in new markets.

“We’ve reduced our defense contracts to about 30 percent of out total revenue,” Miera said. “We do a lot of work now with other federal agencies like NASA, and with state agencies and commercial clients.”

Since its start, the company has always concentrated on high-tech engineering design and testing for everything from new microwave technology to electromagnetic protection and certification for aircraft and avionics. As part of that work, it built and operated innovative information technology and data acquisition systems and provided facility management services on projects.

Now, the company is drawing on those varied engineering and management skills to win more focused contracts, such as overseeing safety and protection operations at the New Mexico Spaceport and at facilities in other states.

“We still do the same things we did before, but we’ve turned the individual areas of expertise into their own business areas,” Miera said. “Facilities management has grown into its own area.”

In addition, branching out to other states has allowed Fiore to win new opportunities.

“We spent a lot of time doing work in New Mexico, but there’s often bigger return on investment when marketing dollars outside the state,” Miera said. “Getting out of that New Mexico mindset has helped us grow a lot more.”

Like Fiore, other Flying 40 companies cite aggressive marketing beyond New Mexico as key to growth.

“We remain headquartered here, but our strategy is to expand rapidly outside the state,” said Andrew Baca, CEO for computer and networking services company Abba Technologies, another 2017 Flying 40 winner with more than $10 million in revenue. “There’s less money and slower growth here than in other places, so we’ve diversified.”

More growth means more jobs. Fiore now employs 151 people, up from 28 in 2012, although many work on site in other states.

About 50, however, are permanently stationed in Albuquerque, where Fiore operates a 10,000-square-foot facility for high-tech design and testing services.

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