“The difference between success and failure is getting up one more time than you are knocked down”.
I was sitting in a London pub a few weeks before the 2012 Summer Olympics sipping a semi-cold pint of Guinness and watching folks on the street. I had just finished a long week of meeting at the Farnborough Air Show developing international business opportunities as the Senior Vice President & General Manager, Commercial, Civil, and International Programs for Comtech AeroAstro, Inc. (CAA). It was Friday, July 13, 2012, and I was joking with a business associate about it being an unlucky day. At about 2pm local time my phone rang with a call from the States. I stepped outside and answered. The President of CAA informed me that CAA was closing operation immediately and that early that morning (it was starting time on the East Coast of the U.S.) word was going out to all the employees (http://www.spacenews.com/article/comtech-shut-down-aeroastro-small-satellite-operation). I listened, ask a few questions (was my ticket home still good?), and finished the conversation.
Upon returning to the pub I informed my Director of Space Trade and International Affairs that CMTL (our parent company) was pulling the plug. It was interesting since just two days before we had received a commercial order for modeling and simulation support worth a few million dollars. The flight back the next day was spent assessing the situation and taking stock in my options. Would I try and go back to my previous employer? Maybe see if other aerospace companies located in the Denver area were hiring? Neither mitigated the impacts to our customers or the remaining AeroAstro staff. I quickly discussed the situation with my family, financial advisor, and close business associates and decided it was time to hang out my own shingle for business. On Sunday evening, July 15, 2012 we electronically filed with the State of Colorado officially incorporating Oakman Aerospace. Two days later, July 17, 2013, the same day “two-week” layoff notices were being handed out to all “non-essential to the closure” personnel, I submitted a lease-equipment purchase proposal to CMTL and CAA to assume lease and equipment liabilities in return for Intellectual Property associated with the Commercial, Civil, and International line-of-business I had previously developed. After a few weeks of give-n-take the lease-equipment sale was signed by both Oakman Aerospace and Comtech AeroAstro on August 23, 2013. OAI was officially in business…
OAI was able to hire six of the former CAA employees to begin the new company. OAI staff also worked diligently to find other displaced employees work with other companies both domestic and international. Today OAI has eight total employees and we are working hard to grow our business providing superior customer service.