Google Fiber is Looking for Trusted Testers to Upgrade Fiber TV

If you’re a Fiber TV viewer, Google would like to talk with you.

The company is looking for Huntsville residents to become “trusted testers” and try out its Google Fiber TV upgrade next month.

“We believe the best TV is online,” Liz Hsu, Google’s director of Product Strategy, posted on her blog. “While many of our customers have already made the switch from traditional TV to streaming services, some have hesitated to take the leap, even though Fiber TV service hasn’t kept up with all the features streaming services offer.

“Luckily, all you need to get the best TV today is great internet, which is something Fiber TV customers already have.”

Hsu said testers need to be Google Fiber TV customers “who are ready to take the next step to an upgraded streaming TV experience.”

The program – which is free – includes a Google WiFi upgrade of the entire home, streaming Chromecast with Google TV, and setting up the streaming service of the customer’s choice, including an option for a free trial of YouTube TV.

For information, visit https://goo.gle/2FTGrrK.

Dynetics Completes ‘Lunar Lander’ Preliminary Design Review

The U.S. is another “small step” closer to landing Americans on the moon, thanks to a Huntsville company.

Dynetics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Leidos, has completed the preliminary design review of its Human Landing System for NASA’s Artemis Program, marking another critical milestone in human spaceflight. This review provided NASA with insight into the design of the human lander that Dynetics hopes will carry the first woman and the next man to the Moon, Dynetics said in a news release.

“This review, a culmination of nine months of intense design and analysis, included a robust portfolio of development and risk reduction testing,” said Robert Wright, Dynetics HLS program manager. “The PDR demonstrated that our team’s preliminary lander design meets all the system requirements with acceptable risk while remaining within current cost and schedule constraints.”

Additionally, the team presented detailed technical descriptions of design trades, analyses conducted, and a design status to NASA. Verification methods were also explained.

“This is another step toward the lunar surface,” said Kim Doering, vice president of Space Systems at Dynetics. “The PDR confirmed that our team is ready to proceed with a detailed design as we approach the next milestone, Critical Design Review.

“This is yet another notable review that brings us one step closer to landing the next Americans on the moon.”

The Dynetics team has completed four reviews in the 10-month initial Base phase – a systems requirements review, a certification baseline review, the continuation review, and now the preliminary design review.

Huntsville-Madison County Launches Text-to-911 Service

The Huntsville-Madison County 911 Center has launched a text-to-911 service, providing a significant step forward in accessibility to those who are unable to dial 911. The center has served Huntsville, Madison, and Madison County since 1992.
This service, offered in conjunction with the Alabama 911 Board and its network provider, INdigital, is available to those who have cellular service with Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, SouthernLINC, or Sprint.
Text-to-911 should be considered a secondary option only to dialing 911 from a cellular or landline phone and should be limited to the following circumstances:
  • When calling 911 is not possible, such as if the caller is deaf, hearing or speech impaired;

  • If a caller is otherwise unable to speak, because of a medical condition (such as a stroke), or

  • If speaking would be unsafe, as in the case of abduction, domestic violence, or home invasion.

This service also allows the center to respond to text messages to not only confirm if an emergency response is needed but to also confirm whether or not an accidental call to 911 was made.
“Text-to-911 provides another layer of service that will greatly enhance safety for the community we serve,” said Chris Tucker, Chief Operating Officer & 911 director. “Although recommended as the second option for contacting 911, text messaging is one of the primary ways people communicate today; by having this option we’re able to ensure anyone who may not be able to dial our team receives emergency service when and where they need it.”
Major advancements for HMC 9-1-1 have been a focal point for several years, especially since the center is the largest and most advanced emergency operations center in the state. Recently moving into its new 30,000 square foot facility, the center has aligned its growth ahead of the expanding population and is currently home to eight agencies.
“Having the ability to send text messages to 911 is a gamechanger for the deaf community,” said Frances Smallwood, president and founder of Deaf Access Inc. “Those who are deaf or hard of hearing struggle with things that we often take for granted; having direct and easy access to emergency personnel when it could be a matter of life or death is paramount, and something that can potentially save lives.”

Sit Down with Success: Lynn Troy, CEO of Troy 7

Sitdown with Success is a feature of the Huntsville Business Journal on entrepreneurs and their keys to success. This month’s subject is Lynn Troy, founder/president/CEO of Troy 7.

Lynn Troy: “Fear of the unknown shouldn’t hold anyone back.” (Photo/Steve Babin)

Lynn Troy calls herself an unlikely entrepreneur. Coming up through the ranks at Teledyne Brown Engineering from a co-op position while completing her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from UAH, starting her own government contracting business was not a long-term goal. That changed when she and her husband John got married and a contract they were working on seemed to be slipping away.

Troy7 has been a contender for the Huntsville-Madison County Chamber of Commerce Small Business Best Place to Work Award for eight consecutive years from 2013-2020, and a winner for six of those years. In 2020, Troy7 was named the Chamber’s Woman Owned Small Business of the Year.

A graduate of the Huntsville Leadership Flagship Class (L29), Troy serves on several local non-profit boards. She is vice chair of Economic Development for the Huntsville Madison Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee; vice president of the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity; treasurer and finance chair for the Community Foundation; 2021 chair of the American Heart Association’s Heart Ball Executive Leadership Team; and 305 8th Street.

She also serves on UAH’s Last Mile Committee; Women’s Philanthropy Society’s Advisory Board; and is a Hudson Alpha Ambassador.

In 2018, Lynn received the Russell G. Brown Executive Leadership award and was recognized as one of Alabama Media Groups Women Who Shape the State.

In 2013 she received the Technology Award from WEDC’s Women Honoring Women.

What initially attracted you to the Missile Defense industry?

When I was in the ninth grade, I had to do a paper on Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” (Strategic Defense Initiative) program and honestly, I had no idea that was going to be my career destiny.

I thought I was going to be a lawyer, but those plans changed when I found myself a young mother in high school and unable to go off to college or law school.

My dad encouraged me to pursue engineering. He was a mechanical engineer, and knew UAH had an excellent engineering program. He thought electrical would give me the broadest career options, so I enrolled at UAH. When I began working in the Optics Department developing infrared signature models of rockets, that’s when I knew I was hooked on missile defense.

You started working for Teledyne Brown Engineering while you were still at UAH, is that correct?

Teledyne Brown Engineering hired me into their co-op program when I was 18 years old and I had just completed my freshman year at UAH. I was so deeply grateful for the opportunity to have my first real job that I honestly thought I would retire from TBE one day.

It took me 5½ years to complete my electrical engineering degree but along the way I learned so much about government contracting and the various work Teledyne was doing.

I was able to rotate through different assignments and when I landed in the Optics Department, I was hooked, and had found something that I truly loved doing.

It sounds like you had a strong support system behind you at TBE.

I had some amazing mentors who invested in me and helped me not only technically, but who encouraged me to pursue leadership positions.

I was selected for an incredible opportunity to participate in TBE’s Female and Minority Management Training program.

What triggered your starting your own business?

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Teledyne Brown was forced to divest the contract I supported to another company, and Teledyne Solutions was created. While we all hoped it would be an adequate solution to create the separation the government required, after a few years the government decided it was still not enough.

It was during this time, the idea of forming a new company came to being. I had recently remarried and the date was July 7, 2007 or 07/07/07, and that is where I came up with the name of our company, Troy7.

My husband John truly believed we could, together, start a new business.

It was a hard decision to leave TBE after almost 20 years and so many wonderful opportunities, but within a relatively short time after we left, Teledyne Solutions was forced to dissolve as an entity, so I believe we made the best decision we could for us and our family.

How did Troy7 evolve?

With the uncertainty and likely loss of the contract we were on at Teledyne becoming more troubling, we began looking for alternative customers and contracts, and discovered an opportunity with the MEADS (Medium Extended Air Defense System) program.

MEADS was a tri-national (US, Italy, Germany) program that evolved out of the U.S. Patriot program, and they were nearing their test phase and needed targets to test their system against.

Target flight testing was truly both mine and John’s professional passions. I loved the threat analysis, which ensured the target matched the threat of interest in optical, radar, and flight performance characteristics.

John loved the rockets themselves and knew every detail about them and processing the telemetry flight data on-site all over the world.

We believed we would never have a better opportunity to see if we could build a company doing what we loved than that moment, so, we pulled the trigger and incorporated Troy7 on Nov. 28, 2007, less than  five months after we got married.

Looking back, it’s pretty surreal that we both quit what had been very stable and wonderful jobs and took that leap together. But we both felt strongly that we needed each other, and wouldn’t have been successful if only one of us had tried to do it without the other.

Was the MEADS program your launch pad, so to speak?

We didn’t bring a contract with us for the MEADS work. It was new work, and we worked with (Space and Missile Defense Command) and the NAMEADSMA (NATO MEADS Management Agency) team to set up their Targets Test Program. We were incredibly blessed to support that effort for five years and many flight tests at White Sands Missile Range.

The final test in the program was a dual intercept mission with a south bound ballistic target – John was the Test Conductor – and a north bound air breathing QF-4 target – where I was stationed.

The MEADS system performed brilliantly and successfully destroyed both targets.

It is a little weird to celebrate the destruction of your work, but that’s the life of targets engineers!

During those five years we were working hard to develop new customers and contract vehicles to grow our business and it was a lot of very long days and nights and several years of no vacations or down time, but it was worth it, and I would do it all again.

In a lot of ways, those early formative years are the most fun and exciting, even though you are tired and struggling at times.

What specific challenges did you face in getting started on your own?

I think the biggest challenge we faced in getting started was all the things we didn’t know we didn’t know.

Lynn Troy: “Huntsville is rich with successful small businesses whose founders and leaders are eager to advise and mentor new small businesses.” (Photo/Steve Babin)

I often tell people, I was too naïve to realize how much I didn’t know about the business side, insurances, taxes, corporation rules, the FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulation), accounting, etc. And it’s probably for the best.

I think it is fear of all those unknowns that holds people back.

I joke that John and I were still in our honeymoon phase, so we were willing to figure it all out as we went. And that is one of the beautiful things about Huntsville. There are so many wonderful and successful people in this town who are all willing to help you, share their experiences, and guide you through the unknowns. Fear of the unknown shouldn’t hold anyone back.

What vision do you have for your business in the future?

We experienced some change in 2020 when John retired.

He had a goal to retire on his 60th birthday so we worked hard to make that a reality last September.

He still comes in a couple days a week to wrap up a project, but it’s more like he’s a consultant, not day-to-day.

This was a huge change for me personally and professionally, and we spent a lot of time talking through the future and our goals.

We know it’s time for us to shift our focus from predominantly subcontracting to going after more prime contracts. We have been so blessed to work with some of the best primes in Huntsville and we have learned so much from them.

It’s our goal to grow into a prime role and treat our teammates as well as we have been treated. Although our biggest customer is the Missile Defense Agency, we also support the Army, NASA, and the Air Force.

Our first priority is ensuring we continue providing excellent support to these customers and exploring prime contract options across our customer base is our current growth focus for the future.

What advice would you give to someone interested in getting into the government contracting business?

Don’t be afraid to fail but be prepared to learn from the surprises and disappointments you will inevitably encounter.

One of my mentors from UAH, Dr. Bassem Mahafza, told me to imagine myself 10 years into the future and ask myself would I look back and regret it if I didn’t at least try. I’m still grateful for his wise counsel.

Number two – build the dream and the vision of your business in your mind before you start building the business. The opportunities will change and the paths to them will detour, but it is essential to know what you’re striving to accomplish before you take the first step toward that goal.

Number three – don’t be afraid to ask for help and seek advice. Huntsville is rich with successful small businesses whose founders and leaders are eager to advise and mentor new small businesses.

Troy7 and I personally have benefitted greatly from Huntsville small business leaders for over 13 years. I continue to try to pay it forward and help mentor new small businesses the same way I was blessed with help.

I will say, there are more barriers to entry today than when we started Troy7. Expensive IT infrastructure requirements, slower and more restrictive acquisitions, and downward pressure on rates, to name a few.

All of these factors require careful consideration but should not be deal breakers since there are so many resources available to help.

And probably the most important advice I could offer – carefully choose your employees and respect and take care of them. From the bottom of my heart, I believe Troy7 has thrived because of our dedicated and talented Troy7 family. It is not just the services we offer that make Troy7 a successful company. It’s our people.

Alabama A&M Joins Grow with Google, Thurgood Marshall College Fund Program

Alabama A&M University is among 20 Historically Black Colleges and Universities to join the Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program.

Through a $1 million investment in the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the Google-backed program provides digital skills workshops in HBCU career centers to help Black students prepare for the workforce.

“The global pandemic has punctuated and underscored the emerging role that digital skills will have in the workplace,” said Yvette S. Clayton, Director, Career Development Services for Alabama A&M University. “The new norm will mandate that all college students have some form of mastery of digital skills.”

Announced last October, the initiative’s goal is to reach 20,000 students during the current school year. Today’s announcement brings the number of participating campuses to 20, and the program will be available to all HBCUs by fall 2021.

“Google believes investing in HBCU students strengthens the future workforce and increases economic opportunity,” said Bonita Stewart, Vice President for Global Partnerships at Google and Howard University alumna. “We’re proud to expand our Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to reach more HBCU students with the digital skills they need to thrive in the workforce.”

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund — the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing the Black College Community — has a track record of connecting HBCU students with scholarships, training and jobs as they navigate college and careers. Its long history of on-the-ground work ensures the Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program is tailored to meet student needs.

“A central part of the mission of TMCF is to prepare the next generation of workforce talent,” said Dr. Harry L. Williams, President and CEO of Thurgood Marshall College Fund. “Our partnership with Google enables this mission and ensures students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities are positioned to compete for meaningful careers.”

The Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program provides HBCU career centers with funding and a semester-long, in-person and online digital skills program. The program combines Grow with Google workshops with custom job seeker content for black students, including design thinking, project management and professional brand building.

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund, which is contributing to the program’s design, will work with HBCU career centers to onboard the program.

This $1 million Grow with Google investment is part of a $15 million commitment to upskill black workers. Announced by Google CEO Sundar Pichai last June, the investment aims to help black job seekers learn skills in partnership with national workforce development organizations.

Grow with Google is Google’s initiative to create economic opportunities for all by providing free tools and training. Since 2017, the program has trained more than 5 million Americans on digital skills. The Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program builds on the company’s ongoing investments in HBCU students.

Huntsville’s deciBel Research now Employee-Owned

Huntsville-based deciBel Research announced Tuesday it is “100 percent employee-owned.”

According to a news release, the company transitioned from a privately held, small business to an employee-owned company through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, effective Jan. 1.

 Jeff Gronberg, deciBel Research Chief Executive Officer, will continue to lead deciBel Research and the company’s day-to-day management and operations will remain the same.

“deciBel Research is proud to transition to an employee-owned company,” Gronberg said. “In our industry we see many small businesses being acquired by private equity firms or larger corporations as owners execute their succession plan. Often, small businesses become large businesses due to these transactions, thus impacting the status of the business, current contracts and customers, and causing a fundamental change in the culture and business development efforts.

“Our employees are the heart of the company’s success and we felt it was in the best interest of both our employees and customers for us to share that success with them and become an employee-owned company.”

DeciBel Research is a radar system and sensor technologies company was founded in 2002. It’s headquartered in Cummings Research Park and has offices in Dayton, Ohio; Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Wallops Island, Va.

“We have witnessed some great successes in our industry with employee-owned companies and we believe the timing is right to evolve the company to benefit both our customers and especially our current and future employees,” said deciBel Chief Financial and Operating Officer Eric Cochran. “We have positioned the company for future opportunities, and this is another critical piece in making deciBel Research a long-term small business partner for the DoD and intelligence community.”

For COVID Peace of Mind – and No Swab Up Your Nose – Huntsville Hospital and Kailos Genetics Roll Out Assure Sentinel

Two issues negatively impacting COVID testing are false readings and the turnaround time it takes for results. False positive results can cause undue concern, whereas false negative readings have the potential to unwittingly add to the continued spread of COVID.

The waiting game is especially difficult; it’s the kind of time that most people don’t really have to spare. They must then play the quarantine game which, in addition to the restrictions, often means a loss of income as they wait for their results.

To overcome these hurdles, Huntsville Hospital and Kailos Genetics have teamed up to offer a COVID-19 test option  through its Assure Sentinel and Peace of Mind programs. The programs are designed for non-symptomatic individuals who want to know if they are carrying the COVID-19 virus.

“It’s the second program we’ve put into place with Huntsville Hospital,” said Troy Moore, chief science officer at Kailos, which is headquartered at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. “The first program was focused on a return to work or return to school testing, on a routine basis. Then, we learned there were quite a few people that had a son or daughter going back to school or to college, or they’ve been around family members during the holidays, or they have a parent they are taking care of.

“This is a place where they could go if they have concerns, but not necessarily a known exposure event.”

In this partnership, the hospital staff will administer the test, collect samples, and deliver the results. Kailos will process the tests utilizing its Assure Sentinel program which can detect SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Assure Sentinel testing is painless and affordable and can detect viral infections in individuals before they become symptomatic. By reducing the potential for exposure, Sentinel testing helps to minimize the impact in the workplace, as well as in the community.

The best news is the process is a saline swish and gargle – the company’s ViraWash – to provide a viable sample. No long swab going up your nose –  and it can be easily done in the workplace.

For more information, contact the Huntsville Hospital Clinical Lab at: 256-265-2LAB (2522).

Huntsville Takes Lead on Two Northrop Grumman Projects

Northrop Grumman is bringing two major Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System production programs to its Huntsville manufacturing center. 

The command system is the centerpiece of the Army’s modernization strategy for air and missile defense. 

Most of the work is performed here and the city will be the center of production for the system’s hardware for Poland’s air and missile defense program. The Army has been authorized to proceed with low rate initial production of the systems.

In the first program, Poland has adopted the Army’s command system configuration, which consists of shelters integrated with battle management software manufactured here, that maximizes the combat potential of sensors and weapon systems. 


Shelters arrive at Northrop Grumman’s Huntsville manufacturing facility where they will be outfitted for Poland. (Northrop Grumman Photo)

Six of these shelters have already been delivered to Northrop Grumman’s Huntsville facility for outfitting. Once the integration is complete and after testing, the U.S. will deliver them to Poland.

“Receiving these shelters and kicking off production marks a critical milestone and gets us one step closer to fielding this capability in Poland,” said Kenn Todorov, vice president and general manager, Combat Systems and Mission Readiness for Northrop Grumman. “Our Huntsville manufacturing center production line is ready and equipped to deliver these command centers on time and on budget.”

The Huntsville Manufacturing Center has been supporting large scale manufacturing programs including the Army’s Command Post Platform. 

In March 2018, Poland signed a foreign military sales agreement with the U.S. to purchase the command systems. They became the first international partner country to acquire this transformational capability and it has become a major component of Poland’s air and missile defense modernization program. This modernized air and missile defense capability will be used alongside U.S. forces and NATO allies.

On the home front, the Army received authorization to transition from the battle command systems development to low rate production, following a successful Milestone C decision for the program.

Approved by the Defense Department, this milestone represents a critical next step in moving the program closer to  deployment.

“The decision by our senior leaders to transition IBCS into initial production reflects their confidence in the maturity of the system and its readiness for operational testing,” said Maj. Gen. Rob Rasch, Army Program Executive Officer, Missiles and Space. “The soldiers of the 3-43 Air Defense Artillery Battalion performed tremendously in training and testing over the last year and are poised to demonstrate the game-changing capabilities of IBCS next fall during the initial operational test and evaluation.”

To achieve Milestone C, Northrop Grumman worked in partnership with the Army’s Integrated Fires Mission Command Program Office to design, develop and test the command system hardware and software. Since 2015, the program has executed seven flight tests under realistic conditions, demonstrating game-changing capabilities.

“We are proud to have contributed to this landmark achievement that will help our warfighters better address and defeat evolving threats,” said Todorov. “This milestone is a true testament to the commitment and dedication of all the men and women who have worked tirelessly over many years to deliver a truly revolutionary system.”  

System High Acquires Booz Allen Hamilton TEAMS Contract

Protecting sensitive government activities and operations is one of the biggest national security challenges facing our country.

The Missile Defense Agency in Huntsville got a big boost of momentum with System High’s acquisition of Booz Allen Hamilton’s Technical, Engineering, Advisory, and Management Support (TEAMS) contract with its 110 employees here.

System High specializes in a diverse spectrum of national security protection disciplines and compliance using innovative protection solutions in the areas of Proactive Protection, Security Engineering, Counterintelligence, Intelligence, and Cybersecurity solutions across the Aerospace, Defense, and Government sector. With the TEAMS contract, System High expands its work providing best-in-class protection solutions for information and assets vital to national security.

“The close of this transaction increases our momentum in helping customers solve their most challenging protection problems,” said Rob Howe, System High’s president and CEO. “We welcome these new employees and look forward to combining forces to better protect current and emerging MDA capabilities.

“This is just one of the initiatives being executed to expand our impact to preserve national security, and MDA success is critical for sustaining this objective. We are excited to grow our presence in the Huntsville area, and look forward to serving the community and establishing strong lines of communication and collaboration with the MDA stakeholders so that we can consistently meet and exceed their expectations.”

Booz Allen has supported the DoD for decades helping to accelerate innovation and create transformative solutions to help defend the nation.

Lincoln Hudson, senior vice president and leader of Booz Allen’s Huntsville office, has been instrumental in securing the deal with System High.

“System High is a strong organization for ensuring the continued protection of the essential systems, technologies, and capabilities that enable success of the MDA mission, which is to defend the United States and its allies from hypersonic and ballistic missile attacks,” said Hudson. “We remain fully committed to MDA’s mission and to Huntsville, where we will continue to hire and develop talent, invest in cutting-edge innovation, and deliver high-end technology services.

“We are confident this realignment of the TEAMS business will ensure uninterrupted support for this critical work and are so pleased these jobs will remain part of Huntsville’s thriving technology community as well as others across the country.”

The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Boeing Awarded Nearly $1B for Air and Missile Defense

Boeing has been awarded contracts in the past year totaling $974 million to develop a next-generation seeker for the Army’s Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) Missile system, as well as continue and expand production on current generations of the PAC-3 seeker, in Huntsville, as a subcontractor to Lockheed Martin.

The seeker provides guidance data to the PAC-3 Missile system, which has protected warfighters around the world from tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and hostile aircraft for nearly two decades.

“Boeing is proud to continue its 20-year history of delivering seekers in support of increasing and evolving air and missile defense needs,” said Robert Green, director of Boeing Integrated Air and Missile Defense. “We remain committed to ensuring that the servicewomen and men who rely on the PAC-3 have ready and reliable protection today – and modernized, next-generation capabilities that can outpace, out-innovate, deter and defeat emerging threats of tomorrow.”

Boeing has produced more than 4,000 PAC-3 Missile seekers since 2000 and recently set a 12-month program production record in support of expanding air and missile defense requirements for the U.S, its allies and international partners worldwide – despite working amid physical distancing and other health and safety measures.