Genova Corridor Business Profile

samanthakollasch

Business

corridor

Profile

Celebrating 25 Years

of Engineering Excellence


Genova employees

celebrate the

company’s 25th

anniversary with cake

at a gathering Oct. 12.

Genova evolves with technology

in the past quarter century

In 1993, the internet was in its infancy, there

were no social media sites and smart phones

didn’t exist. Fast forward 25 years and it is

unfathomable that a company could thrive

in technologies that didn’t even exist when

it began.

As Cedar Rapids-based Genova Technologies

celebrates its 25th anniversary this year,

employees reflect on the evolution of

technology and how the custom software

development company has responded to it.

“Just a few short years ago there was no such

thing as mobile development, or the Cloud,”

Genova President and General Manager

Scott Stimart said. “Now everyone expects

to get data and information directly on their

phone or mobile device. Technology isn’t a

necessary evil, it’s a requirement.”

Saved by determination

Genova was established in 1993 under a

different name and owner, with Rockwell

Collins and UI Health Care as its primary

customers. Within five years, the company

was on the verge of shutting down due to

financial troubles.

The company’s history could have ended

then if it weren’t for an investment from

some local businesses and an employee

devoted to saving it.

Dawn Ainger, who started in 1996 as a

software engineer, ran the company – which

changed its name to Genova in 1998 – until

she was able to gain control in 2001 by

purchasing majority stock from the investors.

The single mother had a background in

software engineering and she wasn’t afraid

to get out and talk to potential customers.

“I needed to feed my family, so I started

knocking on doors,” she said. “I had the attitude

of ‘you don’t know me, but you’ll want to.’”

By 2005, Genova had to move to a larger

office to accommodate growth and allow

for expansion, and in 2006, it began

providing engineering services for the

Center for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) in

Baltimore. In 2010, Genova was awarded

a Blanket Purchase Agreement to provide

requirements to CMS, and opened offices in

Baltimore and Bethesda, Maryland.

Around this time, Ms. Ainger was diagnosed

with multiple sclerosis. While she had led the

company on an incredible growth trajectory,

she realized her limitations.

“If I would go down in a heap, the whole

company would go down,” she acknowledged.

She divided the company into an engineering

division and a health care division, hiring Mr.

Stimart to lead the engineering side. Genova

moved to its current location at 4250 River

Center Court in Cedar Rapids in 2011 to

accommodate additional growth.

When Genova sold its health care business to

Booz Allen Hamilton in 2014, Mr. Stimart was

promoted to president and general manager

of the entire company, while Ms. Ainger

remained owner and CEO.

DAWN AINGER

SCOTT STIMART


Employees

collaborate

on projects

at Genova’s

headquarters

in Cedar

Rapids.

“It took us back to the engineering business which

has really evolved in the past five to 10 years; we

are doing software development work we couldn’t

imagine when we first started,” Mr. Stimart said.

While the company has plenty of work coming its

way, the biggest challenge is finding quality software

and electrical engineers in a tight labor market.

A place to thrive

Attracting – and retaining – the right staff is vital

for all businesses, especially a smaller engineering

company competing for talent with local and outof-state

corporations.

Genova’s leadership has worked hard to understand

the changes in today’s workplace, said Government

Business Development & Contracts Manager Josh

DeSousa, who telecommutes from Washington D.C.

Even when he was an intern while a student at the

University of Iowa, Mr. DeSousa felt like he was part

of the team. His decision to apply for a full-time

position after he graduated was a no-brainer.

“I knew it was going to be a good fit from a cultural

standpoint, but I also knew I could grow in my

career,” he said.

He started in 2012 as a business development

assistant. When his wife was promoted and

transferred to Washington D.C. in 2014, he knew he

wanted to stay with Genova and asked Mr. Stimart

about working remotely.

“It’s not something the company had previously

considered, but we gave it a try,” Mr. DeSousa said.

The infrastructure has been set up so that all the

networks and files are available to him through

cloud computing without “skipping a beat.”

“That flexibility makes Genova unique,” he said.

“Career growth and flexibility have retained me.”

Ben Elliott also started at the company as an

intern. He began full-time as a software engineer

in 2004 after graduating from Coe College and is

now a software engineering manager.

“You need to be able to pick up new skills and be

open to cross-training,” he said of being successful at

Genova. “It’s not for everybody. You have to want to

work in a team environment and learn new systems.”

Mark Richmond, who has been with Genova since

graduating from Coe in 2002, echoes that sentiment.

“The best part of the job is learning something new

all of the time; the worst part of the job is learning

something new all the time,” he said.

Into the future

For 25 years, Genova has kept pace with constantly

changing technology and customer needs.

Mike Noke, who has been a software engineer with the

company for more than 10 years, believes business

management decisions of the future will be based on

analyzing the large amounts of data available.

Since joining Genova in 2004, Engineering

Director John Klein has seen many changes in

the development of software systems for both

commercial and defense programs.

“Even with these new advances, software

development continues to get more complex and

in more demand,” he said. “As the cost and size of

hardware decreases, the amount of wanted bells

and whistles provided by software increases. I see

this trend continuing for the rest of my career.”

Genova takes a proactive approach by “watching

where our customers are going with new

technologies and trying to invest in those as early

as possible,” Mr. Klein added. “This usually includes

sending employees to training courses and/or

getting involved with our customer’s discovery

process of those technologies.”

And, of course, by hiring people with the right

attitude, aptitude and integrity.

“People who know how to learn will make it in this

industry,” Ms. Ainger said.

Genova has experienced double digit growth

under the current leadership, “And the future is

only looking brighter”. n


Genova has navigated many challenges and changes in

the industry. Here are some highlights of our journey.

1993

Genova established in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

under a different name and owner.

1998

Geneva’s previous owner locks doors due to financial

troubles. Dawn begins running Genova for investors.

2002

Genova is awarded the Da Vinci Award for

innovation for a State of Iowa contract.

2005

Genova moves to a larger office to accommodate

growth and allow for expansion.

2008

Genova named one of 2008’s Fastest Growing

Companies by Corridor Business Journal.

1996

Dawn Ainger starts working for Genova after

completing her masters in computer science.

2001

Genova has grown and Dawn gains control of

Genova by purchasing stock from Investors.

2004

Genova wins the Women-Owned

Business of the Year Award.

2006

Genova extends business reach to the east by

providing engineering services to Center for

Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) in Baltimore.

2010

Health care business takes off on the East Coast.

Genova awarded Blanket Purchase Agreement to

provide requirements to CMS. Opens corporate

offices in Baltimore and Bethesda, Maryland.

2010

Genova wins state of Iowa Volunteer Award

for service on Iowa’s Technology Council. 2011

Genova named one of the Corridor’s Fastest

Growing Companies for the second time.

2012

Genova named one of the Corridor’s Fastest

Growing Companies for a third time. 2012

Genova moves to new Cedar Rapids

office to allow for growth and expansion.

2013

Genova’s CEO Dawn Ainger wins Ernst and Young and

Corridor Business Journal Entrepreneur of the Year awards. 2014

Genova sells health care business to large

government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.

2014

Genova wins large subcontract award to provide engineering

services to government contractor on West Cost naval base. 2015

Genova’s engineering business in Cedar

2016

Genova’s Cedar Rapids office expands and remodels

to accommodate agile program growth and to better

suit modern software engineering program needs.

2017

2017

Genova’s first employee retires after more than two decades.

2018

Genova celebrates 25 years in business.

Rapids continues to grow and expands

into mobile application development.

Genova begins work in Crystal City, Virginia,

on F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program as a

subcontractor to a large government prime.

2018

Record growth year for Genova’s

engineer division in Cedar Rapids.

www.genovatech.com

4250 River Center Court NE

Cedar Rapids, IA 52402

(319) 378-8455

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