Our History

How Torch Began

The Power of an Employee Ownership Model

Midway through their careers, Bill Roark and Don Holder had both worked for a highly successful company when it was sold. For months, Roark invited Holder to breakfast and discussed starting a new company with him. Both had felt they had made commitments to valued employees in the past that they were powerless to honor after the acquisition. To prevent a similar situation from occurring in the future, Roark and Holder envisioned a business that would become an employee owned company through which its employees would have better control of their destinies. Through a phone call on his way to the University of Oklahoma for an Alabama Crimson Tide football game, Holder finally accepted Roark’s offer to join the startup in early September 2002. The new company started in a modest suite at 2705 Artie St. that included a few offices and a conference room. The night before, “the company didn’t even have desks,” said Roark, who bought and  assembled some desks from Staples and also purchased some used furniture.

Since those early days, the company’s success has skyrocketed. As of 2019, Torch Technologies has more than 900 employee-owners and finished 2018 with $405 million in revenue, making Torch one of the largest federal contractors in the nation. We believe that level of success is achieved by giving every employee owner a stake in the outcome.

Torch Technologies Was Founded

October 2, 2002

Torch Technologies offices opened at 2705 Artie St. in Huntsville.

First Prime Contract

March 12, 2003

Employee Stock Option Plan (ESOP)
Was Effective

January 1, 2004

Fifty Employees

May 31, 2004

Torch Helps Was Established

June 16, 2005

Corporate Offices Relocated to
4035 Chris Drive

June 30, 2005

Received Torch Award for
Marketplace Ethics

November 15, 2005

Better Business Bureau (Also won in 2009 and 2015)

Named to Entrepreneur Magazine’s
“Hot 100 List”

May 23, 2006

Fastest-growing new companies in the United States, ranked #54

Made Inc. 5000 List for First Time

August 22, 2007

Ranked #818 overall, fastest-growing private defense contractor in the Southeast and #8 in the Defense Contractors category (Also made list 2008-2017)

Selected as “Small Business of the Year”

August 23, 2007

Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County, Technology Category

Selected as “Best Place to Work”

April 22, 2008

Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County (Also selected in 2012, 2016, 2017, and 2018)

First Major Prime Award

June 30, 2008

SSDD TO 1- $180M Ceiling

Named One of “10 Best Companies for Employee Financial Security”

August 20, 2008

Principal Financial Group

Named “Large Business of the Year”

November 13, 2008

Leadership in Technology by the Alabama Information Technology Association

Employees Adopted Core Attributes

December 6, 2008

Innovation, Cooperation, Expertise, Customer Focus, Excellence, Integrity, and Reliability

Received ISO 9001 Certification

March 10, 2010

Optical Research and Calibration
Laboratory Opened

May 31, 2010

Passed $1B in Awarded Prime
Contract/Task Order Ceiling

March 15, 2011

Selected as Winner of “Top Small
Company Workplaces” Competition

May 23, 2011

Inc. Magazine and Winning Workplaces

Achieved 100% Employee Ownership

December 31, 2011

250 Employees

March 16, 2012

Recipient of “Innovations in Employee Ownership Award”

April 26, 2012

National Center for Employee-Ownership (NCEO)

Aviation Division Achieves CMMI
Level 3 Rating

July 12, 2012

Ranked in “Hire Power” Award

December 4, 2012

Inc. Magazine, Ranked #2 in Alabama (Also ranked in 2013)

Colorado Springs Office Opened

April 3, 2013

Named “Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year”

June 11, 2013

U.S. Small Business Administration, Region IV

Presented “Partners in Philanthropy Award”

November 5, 2013

Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville

Achieved 100% Employee and
ESOP Ownership

January 24, 2014

Shalimar, FL Office Opened

July 1, 2014

Torch In Action Was Formed

August 1, 2014

Service arm of Torch Helps, previously Torch Gives

Groundbreaking on Corporate Headquarters Renovation and New Conference Center: The Freedom Center

March 20, 2015

Finalist for Top Tiger Awards

June 1, 2015

Auburn University, also a finalist in 2016, 2017, and 2018

Ranked on the Washington Technology “Top 100” List

June 22, 2015

Largest government contractors by prime contract dollars (Also placed in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019)

Moved Into New Corporate
Headquarters Building

October 14, 2015

Located at 4090 South Memorial Parkway

Named One of Forbes’ Best Small
Companies in America

January 29, 2016

TMAS Armament Task Order Added 100+ Employees to Shalimar, FL Location

April 8, 2016

Named one of the Country’s Best
Workplaces in Consulting & Professional Services

May 17, 2016

Great Place to Work and Fortune (Also named in 2017, 2018, and 2019)

Albuquerque, NM Office Opened

June 6, 2016

500 Employees

July 1, 2016

Ranked on Inc. 5000 List for 10th
Consecutive Year

August 18, 2016

Also ranked for 11th year in 2017, 12th year in 2018, and 13th year in 2019

Named One of the Country’s Best Small & Medium Workplaces

October 12, 2016

Great Place to Work and Fortune (Also named in 2017 and 2018)

Aberdeen, MD Office Opened

August 1, 2017

Listed in Bloomberg Government
“Top 200” List

August 23, 2017

The 2017 top federal contractors based on prime contracts awarded in fiscal 2016, also named to the 2018 and the 2019 Top 200 Lists

Torch’s 15th Anniversary

October 2, 2017

Pax River, MD Office Opened

November 1, 2017

Named to Entrepreneur 360 List

December 19, 2017

Ranked #16 of 360 companies in 2017, and also ranked #11 of 360 companies in 2018.

Torch President John Watson Awarded Still Ambassadorial Award

February 15, 2018

Business Council of Alabama

Torch Named Outstanding Mechanical Engineering Firm

February 23, 2018

American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), North Alabama Section (NAS)

Torch Named ESOP Company of the Year

March 2, 2018

New South Chapter of The ESOP Association

Groundbreaking on New Lab and Solutions Facility

April 13, 2018

Torch Named One of the Best Workplaces for Millennials

June 26, 2018

Great Place to Work and FORTUNE