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.
Technology and Solutions Focused
We primarily provide research and development services to government agencies. Our key customers include the Army, Missile Defense Agency, Air Force, and Navy. As defense contractors, the research and development services we provide directly support the men and women who serve our country. Our Corporate Mission Statement sums up the pride our employees take in the work we do: “Lighting the Pathway to Freedom.”
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.
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 (see the Media section below), which provides a perspective into how Torch employees have turned a cooperative spirit into a differentiator in the marketplace today. Several of these videos highlight the founding of Torch Helps, our 501(c)3 charitable organization funded and managed solely by our employees.
Broad-Based Employee Ownership
When the co-founders of Torch, Bill Roark and Don Holder, started the company, both had previously worked for companies that were sold. Despite each having grown organizations exceeding 200 employees, they were unable to influence the company’s ultimate decision to sell. Neither wanted to repeat that experience, and in establishing Torch, they wanted their employees to feel secure that their careers 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. Thus, even before Torch’s incorporation, Roark and Holder set a goal of becoming 100-percent employee owned within 10 years.
Toward this goal, in 2005, after reaching 50 employees, the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) was implemented. The ESOP ensures that full consideration is given to each employee affected by ownership structure decisions. It also ensures a fair distribution of ownership benefits to every full-time employee of the company. Employee ownership of the company grew from 4 percent in 2005 to 40 percent by 2010—and to 100 percent on Dec. 30, 2011, a year ahead of schedule.
Our Employee Ownership Culture Committee was established to communicate the benefits of ownership and to establish and foster an ownership culture in which all Torch employee owners share the responsibility of ownership, contribute to Torch success, and share in the gains.
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.
Professionals come to Torch because they know they can affect their jobs, work environment, and the direction of the company as a whole. Employee empowerment and collaboration result in a feeling that everyone can make a difference, which has tremendously influenced our growth. Torch’s unique mix of benefits, rewards, open communication, and work environment has helped create a high level of career satisfaction among employees, resulting in an employee retention rate far exceeding industry averages.
Living Up to 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.
And 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.
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.
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Torch maintains an excellent work environment that includes competitive compensation, outstanding benefits, and rewarding work assignments with major opportunities for advancement. This could be your opportunity to join a growing, fast-paced company that is setting standards for superior technical services. To be considered for employment opportunities, you must complete an online application. Applicants may be subject to government security investigations and must be able to access classified information. Qualified applicants are considered for all positions without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national orgin, age, marital status, veteran status, or the presence of a non-job related medical condition or disability. Torch Technologies is an Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Employer. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.