Celebrating 25 Years
of Engineering Excellence
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
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
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.
“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
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.
Genova established in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
under a different name and owner.
Geneva’s previous owner locks doors due to financial
troubles. Dawn begins running Genova for investors.
Genova is awarded the Da Vinci Award for
innovation for a State of Iowa contract.
Genova moves to a larger office to accommodate
growth and allow for expansion.
Genova named one of 2008’s Fastest Growing
Companies by Corridor Business Journal.
Dawn Ainger starts working for Genova after
completing her masters in computer science.
Genova has grown and Dawn gains control of
Genova by purchasing stock from Investors.
Genova wins the Women-Owned
Business of the Year Award.
Genova extends business reach to the east by
providing engineering services to Center for
Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) in Baltimore.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Genova wins large subcontract award to provide engineering
services to government contractor on West Cost naval base. 2015
Genova’s engineering business in Cedar
Genova’s Cedar Rapids office expands and remodels
to accommodate agile program growth and to better
suit modern software engineering program needs.
Genova’s first employee retires after more than two decades.
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.
Record growth year for Genova’s
engineer division in Cedar Rapids.
4250 River Center Court NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402