President & CEO, CFD Research
Q: Tell us about CFD Research Corporation.
CFD Research, an Employee Owned Company, was founded in my parents’ basement in Huntsville, Ala. in 1987. Our first major project was the Space Shuttle Challenger Solid Rocket Booster redesign. It was through this effort, helping NASA return to space, that we began transforming the future through innovative technology solutions. Since our humble beginnings we have always sought to work on and solve the Nation’s toughest problems and make an Impact on society. This is reflected in our Vision – Transforming the Future through Innovative Technology Solutions.
Q: What would you like the community to know about your team?
CFD Research is an employee owned company of 163 highly qualified and technically diverse staff. Over 30 percent of our staff have PhDs and over 70 percent have an Advanced Degree. Additionally we have over 25 different technical degrees represented within our staff. Some of the broad areas we serve are: Aerospace, Biomedical, Cyber, Energy, Materials, and Propulsion. Customers include the Department of Defense, NASA, National Institutes of Health and others.
CFD Research has made a firm commitment to the North Alabama area in the last few years with the purchase of our 45,000-square-foot Headquarters in CRP in 2018, construction of a test facility in Hollywood, Ala. in 2021 and we are currently building a 15,000-square-foot laboratory addition in the back of our CRP building.
Q: What are a few of the challenges your company encountered during the pandemic?
The pandemic was and still is an ongoing challenge. To say we weren’t prepared for having to transition to 100 percent remote environment would be an understatement. That being said, I can’t say enough about our employees’ resilience and perseverance which has allowed our company to continue to execute and actually grow and thrive despite the disruptions to normal work conditions.
Putting a positive spin on this question, the unprecedented challenge of the pandemic has provided an opportunity to demonstrate our core values in action. CFD Research successfully planned and executed a continuity of operation plan allowing our employees to work from home before government mandates (and school closures) required it. The organization quickly acquired the resources and security plans to allow employees to take home IT equipment, office furniture, and supplies as needed. We communicated early that we were positioned well to transition to remote work, how to keep mission critical operations running, and maintained a steady cadence of communication with COVID updates. The organization established emergency leave hours for employees to charge against for any reason that impacted their ability to work during the pandemic. The goal of this account was to provide financial security to our employees so they could focus on their health and well-being during a pandemic – without having to use vacation time. Employees also generously donated personal leave to support those employees who needed more than the program offered. It was incredibly important to company leadership that these policies were in place as soon as possible and ensured they could be coupled with any legislative initiatives later provided to support employees impacted by COVID. Regular COVID updates and changes to company policy to maintain our effectiveness are discussed weekly by the Executive team, and updates are communicated to all employees at least monthly if not weekly as needed.
Q: What would you say to other companies considering an investment in the Chamber, or HREGI, the Huntsville Regional Economic Growth Initiative?
The Chamber and particularly HREGI play a critical role in strategically growing the Huntsville/Madison County community. Through HREGI, the Chamber is able to step in and fund various studies and projects that are critical in recruiting the large companies to Huntsville and growing our community. This growth leads to more local customers and business opportunities for companies like CFD Research and it also leads to growth in restaurants, hotels, and events. At the end of the day all of the growth and positive publicity have made recruiting and hiring that much easier – I never get asked the question, “Why Huntsville?” anymore!
This article appears in the February 2022 issue of Initiatives magazine, a publication of the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber.