Flying successfully

Finalist
Technology

Carol M. Craig began her career as an engineer working on cockpit systems for the Department of Defense. Despite a fear of flying, she eventually joined the U.S. Navy and became a naval flight officer, flying using the system that she had developed herself.

But then she was medically discharged, and she decided she wanted a flexible career that would allow her to support her husband’s naval career, so she returned to software engineering and began working from her home as a consultant for government and commercial clients. She eventually grew her consulting clients into a full-scale business, which was the start of Craig Technologies more than a decade ago.

She began with just 10 employees and struggled to break into the established business relationships in the federal contracting arena. Before the company received any revenue-generating contracts, she supported the business herself, using eight credit cards, a small bank loan, and using her house, life insurance and stock as collateral. She also didn’t receive a salary in those early years.

Despite those struggles, she recognized the importance of technology from the onset and invested in building a solid, technologically advanced infrastructure and even purchased technology for the company before it even needed it. She also made sure to take care of her employees by providing them with excellent compensation packages that were consistent with larger government contractors and allowing them to work from home. This approach has allowed the company to grow from just 10 employees in 1999 to about 190 today. She says one of the keys to her success is situational awareness, a term pilots use to describe their state of mind while flying in which the pilot is constantly processing data and anticipating changes in their surroundings. This approach has helped her and her employees stay on top of everything and not miss critical data.

How to reach: Craig Technologies, (321) 784-0465 or www.craigtechinc.com