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High-flying tech firms buzzing with activity

This illustration from Tau Technologies shows related systems of a high-energy laser system end-to-end model the company developed and uses on its website to show its areas of expertise. (Courtesy of Tau Technologies )

IT consulting and engineering firm Advanced Network Management is preparing for a July bash to inaugurate its new 40,000-square-foot building in the north I-25 industrial corridor.

The company reports spectacular growth since 2014, earning it second place on this year’s Flying 40 list of fast-growing technology firms with above $10 million in revenue. ANM shattered that $10 million ceiling over the past five years, growing its revenue 518 percent from $10 million in 2014 to $109 million in 2018.

It’s workforce expanded from 28 to nearly 200 in the same period. And its footprint is creeping across the nation, with regional offices now in four other states: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho and Texas.

The Advance Network Management offices in Albuquerque. (Courtesy of ANM)

About half of ANM’s employees remain in Albuquerque, where the company is based, said ANM co-owner and CEO Raminder Mann. About $1 million in Local Economic Development Act assistance helped ANM acquire its new $5.5 million office, which offers a huge expansion in space from the 12,000-square-foot office it currently occupies.

“It’s a state-of-the-art facility that will house our customer service center for IT infrastructure and monitoring support,” Mann said. “We’ll grow to 150-plus people there after we move in in July.”

Like ANM, the Flying 40 list of technology tigers offers a window into some of the industry activity buzzing through Albuquerque and other parts of the state.

The list reflects only a sliver of New Mexico’s booming technology industry, which accounts for roughly 10 percent of the gross state product. But it shines a spotlight on some of the homegrown companies that are diligently working to build bustling businesses here.

“We’re just a small company that does aerospace work, and not many people know who we are,” said Greg Sanford, co-founder of LoadPath, which took the No. 1 spot on this year’s list of tech companies with below $10 million in revenue. “The Flying 40 gets our name out there to show some of the good things we’re doing.”

LoadPath, which Sanford launched with a partner in 2009, specializes in designing and building components and structures for satellites and launch operations, mostly for federal defense and other agencies. It grew its revenue 1,000 percent over the last five years, from $347,000 in 2014 to $4 million last year.

It now employs 18 people, up from nine five years ago, and will soon hire more, thanks to a $15 million contract it won this year with the Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base.

“We don’t want to grow too fast,” Sanford said. “We need to keep up with our core competencies and customer demands, so we’ve pursued slow, steady growth over the years.”

Although small individually, this year’s below-$10 million Flying 40 winners collectively generated $85.2 million in revenue and employed 407 people in 2018. That’s up from $68.7 million and 373 employees five years ago.

Like LoadPath, other aerospace-related companies on the below-$10 million list also report slow but steady growth. Great River Technology, which makes electronics products for aircraft cockpit displays, grew its revenue 97 percent, from $3.5 million in 2014 to $6.9 million last year.

And Vibrant Corp., which uses proprietary technology to conduct non-destructive testing of aerospace components, reported a 46 percent hike in revenue, from $2.5 million to $3.6 million.

In the above-$10 million category, seven of the top-ten companies reported triple-digit growth, with the No. 1 winner, Verus Research, achieving a 1,500 percent increase in revenue since launching in 2014.

Taken together, all the above-$10 million firms collectively reported $888.6 million in revenue and 4,550 jobs last year. That’s up from $675.3 million and 3,336 jobs in 2014.

Many are homegrown companies that transformed into mid-sized firms in recent years, consistently earning placement on the Flying 40. IT firm Speridian Technologies, for example, grew its revenue 71 percent over the past five years, from $34 million in 2014 to $58.3 million last year. It more than doubled its workforce from 644 people to 1,328 in the same period.

Likewise, MZA Associates Corp., which does modeling and analysis for laser systems and imaging, grew from $12.4 million in revenue five years ago to $20.2 million in 2018. That company moved last year from a 15,000-square-foot space near Nob Hill to a 48,000-square-foot facility in the north I-25 industrial corridor.

This year’s list also includes one newcomer, Lentech Inc., which native New Mexican Andrew Gallegos launched in 2008. The company, which offers IT and aerospace engineering services for large federal and state entities, grew its revenue from $3.5 million in 2014 to $13.7 million last year. It now employs 90 people in New Mexico and other states, up from 12 five years ago.

Homegrown businesses build solid foundations, enjoy steady growth

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