A 100 percent employee owned growing small business, Torch Technologies, Inc., provides quality technical services at competitive costs, all while maintaining ethical business practices. We are leaders in research, development, engineering, planning, execution, performance analysis, design, and reporting in the following areas: research and development; system engineering; modeling and simulation; test and evaluation; advanced technologies; manned and unmanned aircraft systems; information assurance; computer network defense; and information technology.
Ownership. Ethics. Culture.
We are Technology and Solutions Focused
Our company goal is to be recognized as the premier services and solutions provider and preferred prime contractor for our customers. We also strive to be recognized for our integrity and the respect and commitment we give to our customers. As an employee owned company, employees all have a stake in the success of the company, so our employees are highly incentivized to work together. Torch’s culture of cooperation is something our employees are very proud of and is one of the key reasons for our success.
We Foster a Culture of Cooperation
In 2011, a group of employee owners volunteered to help develop an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) training curriculum for existing and new employees. These modules included a number of videotaped interviews with employees describing areas core to Torch’s history, culture, and founding principles. One of these videos addresses Torch’s culture of cooperation, which provides a perspective into how Torch employees have turned a cooperative spirit into a differentiator in the marketplace today.
Every Employee Has a Stake in the Outcome
When co-founders Bill Roark and Don Holder formed Torch Technologies, both had previously worked for companies that were sold. Neither wanted to repeat that experience, and in establishing Torch, they wanted every employee to feel secure that their career would not be derailed by a merger or acquisition. Additionally, they wanted to found a company that treated all employees fairly and allowed employees to share in ownership of the company. At Torch, we are all employee-owners.
A Culture that Gives Back
Torch believes in giving back to the community. Torch has made corporate contributions to organizations including the Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville; Still Serving Veterans; Junior Achievement; the Huntsville Art League; Christmas Charities Year-Round; the National Association of Black Engineers, and many others. We also sponsor academic competitions and robotics teams at multiple schools in the area.
Although Torch makes numerous contributions to local charities annually, the cornerstone for employee philanthropy is “Torch Helps,” a 501(c)3, non-profit organization funded by employees and managed solely by employee volunteers. The organization operates under the direction of a volunteer review board, which receives formal grant applications from charities that are then evaluated against a consistent set of questions to screen applicants. Applicants are also evaluated against the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance Standards for Charity Accountability. When a charity passes these standards, employees then vote on which charity selected will receive the grant. At least one major grant is awarded each quarter. In addition, numerous small grants ($500 or less) are awarded each year. In 2015, Torch Helps reached $500,000 in total donations to local charities and hundreds of volunteer hours. To date, Torch Helps has contributed more than $850,000 in direct grants to our local communities. Torch Helps operates with 100-percent financial efficiency because Torch Technologies covers all expenses associated with the organization’s overhead. Torch Helps believes that “Together Our Resources Can Help.” This captures the spirit and inspiration of Torch’s culture of giving.
We Live Our Core Attributes
Our employee owners adopted seven core values/attributes that reflect our culture and establish direction for our future. These attributes are: innovation; cooperation; expertise; customer focus; excellence; integrity; and reliability. We reinforce our desire to maintain this reputation with every individual we hire, every business relationship we begin, and every client we serve.
Innovation describes Torch’s “cutting-edge” atmosphere that encourages employee creativity and thinking outside the box. We allow our employees the freedom to take the necessary risks to implement ideas that will accomplish the task at hand. Cooperation is revealed in Torch’s employees’ unselfish will to achieve common corporate and customer goals—as well as help one another succeed.
We provide expertise to our customers. Torch employees strive to be world-renowned leaders in their fields of expertise. They continuously upgrade their skills and knowledge base and stay abreast of technical advancements and innovations. We have a strong customer focus, recognizing that we exist to support our customers and that we must meet their requirements and needs.
We believe in excellence. Torch employees achieve the highest levels of performance, always striving to exceed expectations. We are known for our integrity—our employees are honest, trustworthy, dependable, and always strive to do the right thing. Our employees act in such a way as to uphold Torch’s corporate ethics and reputation. Finally, we are reliable, consistently lending our efforts to solve the problem at hand—and support the goals of the company and its customers.
Camaradarie and Open Communication are Common Here
Torch employees gather frequently to celebrate our successes, recognize employee owners, and socialize with other employees and family members. The Employee Morale and Welfare Committee (EMWC) was established with a charter to coordinate annual Picnic and Christmas parties and develop new activities every year. This group also coordinates social activities. The EMWC surveys all employees for their interests and plans activities targeting those interests. Some of those activities include movie matinees, songwriters’ showcase evenings; Concerts in the Park nights; Broadway Theater League events; weekend rafting; kayaking and canoeing trips; and progressive dinner clubs. We believe that events that both celebrate our success and encourage camaraderie among employees boost morale and contribute to the company’s overall success.
Torch Technologies believes in a policy of open communication, which results not just in transparency to employees regarding company operations, but in face-to-face discussions and in the freedom of employees to discuss problems with the appropriate individuals. The financial status and direction of the company are regularly communicated to employees, as well as the company’s goals and progress toward those goals. Each employee has access to the Corporate Strategic Plan. Employees are tasked with mapping at least one of their personal annual goals to an activity that will help Torch achieve one of its corporate goals. We believe that the openness of the Corporate Strategic Plan and our employees’ responsibility in helping to realize its goals results in a healthy two-way discussion.
Employee satisfaction is important to Torch, and so the company actively solicits feedback through periodic anonymous surveys, which are then analyzed to assess how well the company is meeting our employees’ needs. These surveys also help to identify areas that require improvement. Results are shared with employees, and those areas marked for improvement are then worked into the annual Strategic Plan.
Other ways in which the company seeks input from employees include our CEO’s breakfast or lunch meetings with different groups of employees. The sole purpose of these meetings is to solicit candid feedback on anything an employee feels is important for the CEO to consider. We believe this sort of face-to-face discussion not only encourages open and free conversation, but ensures employees know their input is valued.
Torch has an open-door policy. Every employee is able to access any level of management at any time he or she desires. Employees can also email questions or concerns to any management representative. Should an issue be ethics-related, we have an ethics hotline employees can call to anonymously report activities. Through our transparency, face-to-face communication, and open-door policy, we contribute to the success of Torch and enhance the satisfaction of our employee owners.