Please enjoy our 14th episode of our series Marking It Work In Montana! This episode focuses on why personal connections within the world of business are so critical to success. We interviewed Founding Member and President and CEO of Nomad Global Communications (GCS), Will Schmautz. Nomad GCS is a locally owned and operated specialty vehicle manufacturer in Columbia Falls, MT. The company has been in business for 20 years and custom designs and builds complex products for high level clients all over the world – FEMA, FAA, DOD, etc. Check out their website to view pictures of their jaw-dropping creations: nomadgcs.com. In this episode, Will takes us through the inception of the company, some of the challenges they have had to overcome, and what the future holds, continually highlighting how good people and great teams are what make all the difference.
Speaker1: [00:00:01] Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Zach Falk, and today I am your guest host. I’m sitting in for your traditional host, Mr. David Boye. And this is our 14th episode in this series, where our main objective is to highlight real people making real differences within our beautiful state. So we try very hard to find people who truly are making it work in Montana, which is the handle for our podcast. And if you haven’t found us before, you can find us on all major streaming software platforms. So if someone comes to mind as you listen to this that you would like us to interview, please reach out to either myself or David and we will figure out how to get them on the podcast. So this session, we are blessed to host one of the Flathead Valley’s most renowned businessmen, and I think he would be okay with that title. I don’t know many people who can say that they build highly specialized, technologically dense and literally life altering vehicles. But today we get to hear from someone who actually can say those things. So please join me in welcoming Mr. Wil Schmautz, who is the president and CEO of Nomad Global Communication Solutions. Welcome. Well.
Speaker2: [00:01:19] Thanks for having me on. I’m not sure I’ve ever been called renowned, but I appreciate the consideration.
Speaker1: [00:01:24] You’re working that way. I love it. So will we have a special connection, which is kind of a big part of why I wanted to interview you today? For those of you who don’t know, I actually spent six years working for Will at Nomad, and many of the skills that I have today honestly can be attributed to Will’s investment in me personally. So at the ripe age of 19 years old, Will took on the challenge of training someone who was still wet behind the ears, and he asked me to do more than I thought I could do. And so that was a big reason for why I am who I am today. So thank you, Will, for your personal influence in my life. I appreciate that very much.
Speaker2: [00:02:07] My pleasure. I actually told the team when I left that my primary reason for taking this invitation was to convince you to come back. So we won’t tell David what we’re really doing in here.
Speaker1: [00:02:16] Nice. Good deal. Okay, well, let’s get right into it. In in line with our title and our handle of making it work in Montana. I traditionally like to begin with basically just an overview of kind of your life leading up to becoming established as we see you today in the Flathead County. So start by kind of telling us the journey about how you ended up in the Flathead.
Speaker2: [00:02:39] Well, the journey started very early. I was born in the Flathead and Kalispell. I had the very unique opportunity to spend a decent part of my high school life over in West Africa. When I came back, I finished up, graduated from Flathead High School and headed out to Oregon to do an undergraduate and a master’s degree. I really didn’t kind of anticipate that I’d be coming back to the Flathead other than to visit family. I basically, after my time overseas, I’d kind of come to the conclusion that I was going to pursue a career in medicine working overseas in some capacity. When I was a, I guess finishing up my freshman year of college, I was about ready to take a job with the West Coast Beet and seed company and run a harvester as a as a summer job to help pay for my undergraduate education. And my mother was kind enough to send me a newspaper clipping that highlighted a job opportunity up in West Glacier working on the river. And while I was pretty certain that I couldn’t get a job, I had no experience whatsoever. I decided to go ahead and send them my resume. At the time, I actually also had a work study job essentially as the equivalent of a systems administrator.
Speaker2: [00:03:52] We were we were in that time frame, right? Kind of the mid nineties where the internet and email and web access was becoming more and more important. I was actually just part of a panel over in Butte the other day where they were talking about the fact that in 1995 Bill Gates was still trying to convince folks that the Internet was important. Right. And and that it was actually had a future. Well, we were right in the middle of that. And so my workaday job was one of the best ones I think I could have possibly imagined was to give every freshman at Willamette University their first email address and introduce them to the computer resources that we had available. When I took the job at the River Company, they were a forward leaning organization. They basically were adopting a lot of technology inside their reservation systems. They wanted to essentially optimize their operations so that they could become more efficient. And, of course, the the market in general was going in that direction, essentially a computer based, web based reservation systems. They offered me the job as a half time systems guy, half time river guide.
Speaker2: [00:05:02] And then I was stuck around long enough that I got introduced to a lot of the side. Hustle is not the right word here, but I’m kind of not capturing the correct one. But the the owner, another guy from the Flathead Reno Baldwin, an exceptional individual, real entrepreneur, he basically would take his buses and he would modify them to haul firefighters back and forth to the wildland fire fighting operations. And that’s where I got introduced to the National Incident Management System. And I was both amazed to see the depth of capability that the National Incident Management System NIMS brought to the table all sorts of logistics capabilities to support thousands of people in the middle of nowhere in wildland fire fighting operations, and yet had almost no modern connectivity. And I basically had this opportunity to see an opportunity that the future was connectivity and that if I could figure out a way to mobilize all of the assets that we had in our computer labs at university and blend them in some kind of a mobile platform that would allow us to deliver it to these remote camps. I might actually have a way to pay my student loans off.
Speaker1: [00:06:21] Nice. Very good. So you ended up in the Flathead Valley just shortly after college, is that right or during college?
Speaker2: [00:06:30] So after we came back from Africa and I graduated, I basically went out to Oregon and I did my undergraduate, my master’s out there. After that, I took a year and did a trip around the world. And when I came back, I moved back to Oregon and I was essentially pursuing a extended career in rowing. And that’s when during the summer, I determined that now is the time. If we were ever going to try to kick this business off, we should go for it. So I shared my kind of fledgling idea with three other guys, two of them from the Flathead, another guy from Idaho that I’d met out in Oregon, and they, being far more intelligent than I am, corrected my approach to the problem. And, and we decided to spin up this company, Nomad, and at which point in time we all move back to the Flathead. And we, we settled in to a myriad of different rentals and basically met consistently at Wheat, Montana, because we could buy breakfast for three bucks and they had a private room that they let us sit in and plan our business future.
Speaker1: [00:07:36] Nice. Very good. Great. Okay, so then fast forward to the future. So that was first of all, approximately how many years ago is that the inception of the company?
Speaker2: [00:07:46] We are incorporation letters are from from 2002. We’ve been talking about it little before that, but we are actually going to celebrate our 20th anniversary this September.
Speaker1: [00:07:55] Nice. Very good. Okay. So you got 20 years of experience under your belt are all 20 years in the Flathead Valley?
Speaker2: [00:08:03] Our main operation has always been here in the Flathead. We have team members that are scattered around the US and we actually have somebody in Saudi Arabia right now. We also spent a couple of years, which you’re intimately familiar with, operating a facility out in California. Maryland, we were supporting program of record with the National Guard and in fact, Zach, I think he went and helped to start that facility up.
Speaker1: [00:08:29] Good memories. Good memories. So then, okay, so tell us a little more about what you sell. So we’ve kind of talked a little bit about the the startup of the company. We’ll probably hit a little bit more of that later. But what is it that you do? What’s the mission that basically drives you personally and then also your company?
Speaker2: [00:08:48] You know, the mission of the organization hasn’t really changed that much over 20 years. Since the very beginning. We have had both. I’ll start with kind of our vision. Our vision statement is that our customers will remain connected and operable at any time, any place. And the idea, again, going all the way back to that time on the wildland fire operations is that you have this group of people out there that have jobs that is essentially saving lives, saving property in some cases. And I’ll expound on a little bit later. In some cases, they basically have the responsibility for extremely high dollar operations in aircraft test and missile test. But each of these groups has a need to operate remotely away from brick and mortar operations, someplace where we don’t generally have a connection. So we’re all, of course, today, very expectant that we’re going to have a connection via our cell phone. But the reality of it is, is that a huge proportion of the world doesn’t have it in general. And also it’s also always at risk from wildland fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, all sorts of different operations or different disasters that can kind of. Connectivity. So our organization essentially takes other companies or government organizations that have this need to operate consistently and remotely or in time of disaster and helps them develop, plan, engineer and manufacture essentially the equivalent of a mobile office to solve their operating needs to fulfill their mission. We call our products connected mobile operations centers. And connected mobile operations is really the core of everything we do.
Speaker1: [00:10:35] Nice. Very good. For those of you who don’t know, you should absolutely go to Nomad. You will get a very unique understanding of what Will’s talking about. A lot of the terminology is is dense, and that’s because the industry is dense. So but just go in and take a look at pictures. You’ll get a real appreciation for what his team does on a daily basis. They build some really cool vehicles. And so there’s your little plug.
Speaker2: [00:11:04] Yeah, I appreciate that. And I was going to say, because there’s a lot of acronyms, a lot of terminology is unique to the industry. But in general, I think it’s we spend about 60% of our efforts towards defense operations, basically working with Air Force Army, primarily in 5G deployments, cellular deployment systems. Right. Basically, how do we provide the most modern cellular technologies to the modern warfighter? And then 20% or so of our business basically goes towards telecommunications, right? So Verizon, AT&T, PT Mobile’s of the world. And then the balance basically is a combination of state and local operations in emergency services, public safety while on fire and some private operations. So we do some mobile medical, mobile health care extension services. We actually partner with Logan Health here in town on a number of different efforts. They have to provide kind of advanced health care across the state. So our kind of business portfolio is fairly broad, but it always ties back to this idea of mobilizing people’s operations.
Speaker1: [00:12:20] Yeah, you bet. I’m glad you mentioned your product mix because you’ve been in business for 20 years. You just mentioned that 60% is with the defense industry. Has that changed over the years as far as where the majority of your business has actually been sold or your excuse me, your units have been sold too?
Speaker2: [00:12:38] Yeah, definitely know. If you go back to 2002 or when our first year, 98% of our revenues were with the Forest Service, probably by 2006, 2007, we were probably 60% state, local market, 40% federal and a little bit of private. And then by 2014, we were in a space where 60 to 70% of our of our business basically comes from some large federal government entity and if not directly from the federal entity, some other prime contractor. And and actually, that’s that’s a direction that continues to hold true. Is that a lot of prime contractors, a lot of these other large organizations that you’d recognize, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, these kind of folks are essentially looking to us to supply parts of their portfolios. And so while we’re still serving an end user and customer in the federal space, a lot of that is actually taking place through other contractors.
Speaker1: [00:13:43] Hmm. That’s awesome. So then kind of coming back to the Montana piece, can you explain maybe some of your biggest challenges for why you or for running a business and you’re in Columbia Falls? Right. So what are some challenges? And then why are the challenges worth overcoming for you?
Speaker2: [00:14:06] You know, it’s funny. Quite a number of years ago, when Governor Schweitzer was still in office, we were included in a program that they had called Innovate Montana. And they asked me to come out to Helena and essentially do a little bit of a pitch about doing business in Montana. And they sent me a kind of a little spiel that they wanted me to talk about. And and I was chatting with my wife about it. And the actual paragraph, essentially, and I’m paraphrasing here, said something about how great it was to do business in Montana that, you know, our tax and business climates were so fantastic. And she looks at me, she’s like, is that true? And I was like, you know, I don’t actually think I know. What I know is it’s really working for us. And I think one of the things that actually is very special about Montana is that Montanans seem to care about one another’s success. So when you look at the grand scheme of things, our ability to start up in the Flathead and in the state of Montana was predicated largely on others support. I’d love to tell you that that I knew the answers to even most things. And that’s not true, right? I didn’t know the answer to almost anything, but I knew people that knew answers and we were really well supported from day one.
Speaker2: [00:15:23] I I’ll put a plug in here for Valley Bank here in Kalispell. Like those guys took a risk on us, you know, right off the bat. And they supported us for 20 years of our growth. And we had no history. I mean, zero history. And and we found that across the board, right. Whether it be in the financial institutions, whether it be in manufacturing, you know, semi tool, Ray Thompson, SAS campers helped us early on. I mean, there are a lot of these folks that just leaned in and they had nothing to gain except for to see us succeed and hopefully bring some value to to the to the community. And so being a unique kind of interesting business in a small community, even though. Right. Almost all of our customers are somewhere else, they’re not in Montana at all. They’re in eastern southeast Seaboard’s. They’re in other countries. We felt like we just had amazing support from the local community. And and honestly, I hope that we can be the same thing right as we continue to grow and mature and develop that that will help others succeed as well.
Speaker1: [00:16:26] Yeah, absolutely. I love that. I think that’s absolutely a good personification of Montana. I think that that’s. Well said. Thanks, Will. So then how about obstacles? So that was basically an area where you felt supported and you felt as though you could succeed because you had this support. Maybe take us through a couple of big hurdles, I would imagine, particularly early on when you’re starting a business from scratch, there’s got to be problems that you face. What were some defining moments for Nomad as you basically developed into the company you are now?
Speaker2: [00:17:00] You know, their man. Somebody said to me the other day, this idea that if you’re essentially a small business and maybe any business, it really comes down to it. You’re never out of the woods, right? Like you never have it made. So I think that, you know, when you look at our history of 20 years, you’re always basically going through another set of challenges and opportunities. I during a conversation I had with somebody the other day, we were talking about this idea that organizationally, in our particular type of organization, you’re always kind of pushing the limits. We’re not a commodity, right? Like we are not a race to the bottom, lowest cost product or solution. We are a intense technology rich solution set that requires a tremendous amount of interaction with our customers. And sometimes the sales cycles can be extensive or it can be very long, sometimes years long. And being able to find predictability in that world is super tough. Your your funding mechanism, right. Whatever the the pot of money that your customer is going to draw from in order to invest in this solution is is always at risk. Right. There are different priorities. The fact that many of our customer base or much of our customer base, I should say, is also kind of in transition. Right. They’re moving from one position to another. So you’re always trying to make sure that you maintain enough connections to an organizational structure to remain relevant if you get transition.
Speaker2: [00:18:38] And then, of course, technology is moving so darn quickly that it’s sometimes tough to keep your finger on the pulse of what both what is and what’s next. And so one of the things I love the you know, there’s a bell curve when you look at Moore’s Law of technology adoption and you basically look on the far left hand corner and it essentially is dealing with innovators. Right. The folks that are leaning way out and trying the next greatest thing and there’s a certain part of the market that wants the latest, greatest bleeding edge excuse me, technology. But the majority of the market really wants perfected solutions, right? They want matured solutions. And these folks have huge responsibilities when it comes to the protection of life and property. And so they can’t take risks around bleeding edge. I mean, it’s called bleeding edge for a reason. Like sometimes it hurts. And so our organization has to be able to live in both of those spaces. We have to be able to lean way forward around the innovation side, because if we’re not innovative, we’re not actually bringing anything new to the table. Why should they do business with this and then taking those unique, innovative approaches to the customer problem and then maturing them out and perfecting them so that our main part of our customer base that again, depend on reliability, can absolutely be sure that we can deliver on our promise to connect and mobilize them. And every time, every place.
Speaker2: [00:20:04] Right. Like that’s the promise. So we’ll say that throughout the course of 20 years, we’re always leaning forward into a new technology space, proving it out and then perfecting it, proving out and perfecting it and finding balance there. Actually, I don’t think there is balance. I think that by its very nature, your imbalance, it’s like a teeter totter. You’re always moving to one side and then to the other and one side and then to the other. But when you look at like very kind of key changes and challenges, in 2002, our organization was a integrator. We were taking a lot of commercial off the shelf. They call it cots in the market, commercial off the shelf, platforms, trucks and trailers. We’re modifying them and putting commercial off the shelf connectivity technologies, Cisco products and satellite products. And we are blending them together and delivering a solution. By 2006, we could become very disenchanted with the level of quality we could get with the platforms. The trucks and the trailers that were available honestly were of not high quality. And we could not basically get consistency and schedule and we couldn’t deliver on our promises to our customers. So that’s when we basically looked at each other across the table and we said, it doesn’t seem like this is outside our reach. Right? I like to joke it’s not rocket science. Actually, I think rocket science may be something to get into, but. But it’s not rocket science.
Speaker2: [00:21:28] Yes. Someday. So we then decided we were going to become an engineered order manufacturing firm. And we spent quite a number of years. And even today we’re still working to perfect our manufacturing. But now we manufacture essentially from wheels and tires up. I mean, we even have our own axle list technologies for suspension systems that are in-house. And I think that was a really important strategic move for us. It allows us to control all elements of the production cycle, and it allows us to deliver the. Quality we want to every time. That was in 2006. We started that. Our very first contract actually was for the Health and Human Services in San Diego County. We built a small truck for them and then we very quickly took on a much larger operation for the Veteran’s Administration. We built 53 foot long, full sized slide out trailers that were fully bullet resistant Kevlar line, bulletproof glass, the whole bit. And that was definitely a bigger engineering challenge to bite off. But we’ve always been a very handy organization. And then in 2009, we had this opportunity to look at the last basically seven years of business. And what we discovered was that so many of our customers had a division inside their organizations between their operations and their I.T. organizations. And it wasn’t intentional. It just happened to kind of exist. And what we found was that we were frequently playing the IT role for the operators because their internal relationships weren’t that strong.
Speaker2: [00:23:02] And we started looking at their ability to deliver their on their mission. And we said, Man, if we could automate all of this, if we could essentially build products that didn’t require specialty team members to come in and set everything up, I’m like, we could let our operations customers just do their thing, get out and operate. And so we actually started the development of a software side of our organization that basically our vehicle control systems and now portal systems, web based, secure cloud portals, where customers that have fleets of systems and stakeholders can see everything from the health of an individual unit to performance trends of fleets of units to preventative maintenance and some evaluation of how to manage their fleets going forward. And one of the very first opportunities we got to really work on that was with the Corps of Engineers at the time. They had a they had essentially the Corps of Engineers in the Emergency Services Division has a bunch of depots around both the country and some of the O’Connor’s outside the continental United States locations where they are congressionally mandated to deliver ice, water and power to government installations and hospitals after presidentially declared disaster or disaster site. So they had teams of 4 to 6 guys who would roll out four vehicles and it would take them about 6 hours to get set up. And that was pushing them outside their congressionally mandated time frames of 18 hours inside the US and 36 hours outside the US to actually be up and running and delivering on their mission.
Speaker2: [00:24:39] So they went to essentially market and said we need help with this. And we worked really hard to develop a system that I believe today one very lightly trained individual can fully deploy their solution set in about 5 minutes. So I went from six guys, 6 hours, right, to one guy, 5 minutes. And we we felt like that was a huge win and that we decided we were going to lean heavily into that. And so today, almost everything we do is tied to these connected mobile intelligent operations centers, right? So again, where I’m tying this in to your question, of course, it doesn’t feel like I’m just tangent in you and you is that you, you go through these pivots in time. So if we’re an integrator, then we pivot to a manufacturer and now we’re pivoting to a software development organization. And then 2014, we pivot again into a an organization that’s able to deliver secure, compartmentalized systems for defense. Right. You see these opportunities, you pivot your company, you build on what you had before, but then you augment, you know, in a way that allows you to take all of that stuff and deliver it in a new way to more, better customer bases. Maybe better isn’t the right word here, but different customer bases. Right. And so over those years, what what makes it super hard is that when you’re leaning forward like that, you always have to rely on incredibly intelligent, incredibly capable team members.
Speaker2: [00:26:13] I guess I really feel strongly like business at its heart is is kind of deeply personal, right? It’s the people and the people that are able to find creative ways to solve problems are one of the biggest hurdles in business in general, right. Is you’ve got to find great people. I think that the Flathead Valley is absolutely chock full of super incredible people. It’s funny, you basically peel back some of the layers, right, in the community and you’re like, Whoa, I didn’t know that business existed. And wow, I didn’t know that business existed. And if you think about Montana, the Flathead Valley as a whole, you think that it’s kind of has an aspirational feel to it, right? People are always aspiring to something. They are aspiring to a lifestyle, aspiring to do something special. And so a lot of people come here because they want special lives. And we have a special company that also attracts that kind of person. And so I think that when you look at all of these past challenges, we’ve had current challenges we are experiencing and future challenges we’re going to have. It’s all about finding the right people, right to to clear those hurdles. And I think, man, living here with the type of people we have, even though I can’t get you back, this is a special place to do that.
Speaker1: [00:27:36] Well, I’m glad you mentioned that, because that was where my mind was going. I was actually going to ask you if you had ever considered moving your headquarters for specifically the people piece. But I’m glad to hear that you find people in the Flathead Valley are capable, which as our listeners listen, it’s just amazing to me that all of what Will’s talking about is taking place in Columbia Falls, Montana. They do everything at their headquarters. And so it’s just fascinating to me that all that exists right here in Montana. So at the same time. So you’re comfortable here. You like the headquarters where they are. You enjoy the opportunity to employ the people that live here, but your customer base is not here. So have you ever considered moving for that reason or is it just not worth it?
Speaker2: [00:28:23] That’s a complicated question. You know, if you basically, again, go all the way back to our origin, we had a lot of business advisors early on that were like, this is the wrong place for this, right? You’re not we’re not in the industrial hub. We’re not in a manufacturing hub. We’re certainly not around our customers, but we’re around a lot of people. Right. That want to help us be successful. And as I mentioned, you know, when you think about this kind of aspirational word would be it’s an ethic or something like that. But but there’s something about being here that actually connects with our customers as well. You know, Montana is in general kind of perceived as a rough can do capable, you know, state full of, again, problem solvers and full of difficult conditions that drive the need for problem solving. So I think that oftentimes our customer base actually sees it as a positive, right? Oh, these guys are from Montana. Clearly, they can solve problems, they can do hard things. And almost always when our customers come out, they fall in love with this place. They fall in love with what we’re doing. They fall in love with the environment. They fall in love with the type of people it is. I feel like and I tell our team this all the time, right? If you can get a person out here, do it like I don’t, honestly. I mean, within reason. I don’t care about the cost. Right. Get them out here. Because once they’re here, they catch the vision. And the vision is not limited to the to the company. The vision is the community. And again, I think that they also they very quickly gather how special the population is. And we had some folks out actually the last couple of days from the Army. And again, the exact same kind of response. You’re like, I love what you’re doing here. We want to be a part of this. And and that’s a pretty special thing.
Speaker1: [00:30:08] I remember from my time working for you that there were there were a lot of customers that we served that would, um, they would have vacations in tandem with business visits to work on a project. And I think that hits it exactly. What you’re saying is that there’s an enchantment within the Flathead Valley that just grabs people. So I’m glad to hear that. So actually, I’m gonna interrupt you.
Speaker2: [00:30:31] For a moment. One of the one of the hurdles you asked about and and tied to this last question is while getting the right people, as I mentioned, is the the critical piece of growth and solving problems inside of business. The flathead is struggling right now with population growth and being able to be affordable to a lot of folks. And when you look at that problem, kind of in conjunction with the very steep growth curve we’re experiencing and there is a need, right? Despite everything I just said, there is a need to be connected to your customer physically in person. Right. I think that what we’ll find is we’ll continue to grow our headquarters here in the Flathead. I’m absolutely committed to that. But we’re also going to start building satellite organizations throughout the US, probably throughout the world. But that’s going to be necessary in order for us to again meet our customers where they’re at and grow the company at the rate that it needs to grow.
Speaker1: [00:31:28] That’s a big deal. That’s awesome. I’m excited to see that take place because you’re in the news frequently enough that, uh, we’ll all be able to watch alongside the rest of the valley. So I’m thankful for that. Okay. So I have, I do have a specific question. Um, you’ve talked a lot about some of the challenges, some of the people who’ve supported you, but how about an achievement personally within your 20 years of business that you look at as perhaps defining for you? Defining for the business, but something that you’re really proud of. You mentioned the turn up time for the Corps of Engineers. That’s a big one, I would imagine. What about something else that’s maybe a little more personal for Will?
Speaker2: [00:32:10] That’s a funny question. Maybe not a funny question. Like nothing jumps to mind, like this personal thing that I achieved over the years. You know, I think that I feel like kind of what I was saying earlier, organizations are so there’s so rooted in team, I guess, at the end of the day, maybe, maybe actually one of the things that I feel most fortunate about is that the four original founders are still active day to day in this business. Right. We are still making a difference together and early on. And that was another thing that basically people were really like, I don’t know against might be the right word, but they’re like, don’t do it right. You don’t want to do a partnership because they’re always going to basically fall apart at the seams. And and our and our partnership has been we’re equal partners, right? Where there’s not like one, you know, majority shareholder that basically just says, I’m glad to hear what you have to say. We’re doing it our way, my way. And that’s not us. You know, we basically we work super hard to find consensus. And and the fact that we have managed to spend 20 years together solving really complex business problems and do it in a way that we’re all great friends still, right? We all spend time together biking and skiing and doing fun stuff. The less now that we all have families, I think is a is a huge win. Like I think that is a personal like I’m just thrilled to still be working with those guys.
Speaker1: [00:33:36] I love that. I agree. I don’t I don’t know of any other. I I’m sure there are some that exists, but I don’t know of any predominant business in the Valley that can say that in fact. So that’s a big deal. Okay. So we’re getting close to probably wrapping up our time today. You mentioned perhaps some satellite locations in the future, but can you kind of cast the vision for maybe the next five years of what it looks like at Nomad? Yeah.
Speaker2: [00:34:00] You know, when you basically look at business growth and kind of business targets, you know, you look even five years out and there’s so many un. Just unexplainable like variables, right? They’re going to come to come into play during that time frame. I mean, who would have guessed that we were going to be in the predicament we are in and Ukraine right now? Those things are changing the world and and they’re really changing the demand curve for us. I think that what’s happening in the world right now is driving a huge amount of like defense reconsideration. The individual I was meeting with last night was joking. He’s like he’s like, there’s an adage in the military, you’re always trained for the wrong war. And and so things are having to be reconfigured. But but the way the way the thing that we know for sure is that data. Right. Information connectivity is only growing in its in its requirements. Right. And again, the four of us at Nomad getting a kicked off and now the large team today we we were fortunate to see how critical that was going to be. So when we look at the next, we’ll say 3 to 5 years we’re growing. Honestly, we’re growing as fast. We’re growing as fast as we can. Demand. Yeah. We’re a little over 170 right now. I think we really need to be at 200.
Speaker2: [00:35:22] So if you’re listening to this, we’re looking for your application as soon as possible. 200 people. That’s awesome. Yeah, we we basically the demand is is actually far greater than we’re able even to meet right now. I’m a I’m a firm believer in this idea that right growth won’t wait for you. We are in a in a unique environment where we have been I think it’s this kind of unique like. I don’t know, conjunction of all of this past performance. We’ve got 20 years of history basically doing work with the biggest organizations, everybody from FAA to NASA to the Air Force to the Marines. You know, everybody we have this past performance that exists now. We’ve been to some degree vision casting around this idea of what the automation. Right, the intelligence that we can build into these vehicle systems and how they can essentially improve the performance of the actual mission teams. That vision has been caught. And now that the vision is caught and the market sees the absolute need for this, now it’s saying if you guys can’t deliver it, we have no choice but to go find a way to get that same solution right. The market will stand up competitors for us if we don’t figure out a way to grow to meet the full demand. And that is a super complicated problem to solve.
Speaker1: [00:36:44] So just like technology, you mentioned that earlier, technology is changing so fast, it sounds like your desire for the company is to be willing to change just as fast or faster to be able to serve your customers. And so that’s perhaps what the next few years look like is just that continual push to be better than everyone else, because that’s what business is about, and then to serve your customer as absolute best you can through those ways. Is that a.
Speaker2: [00:37:11] Fair. Yeah. When you when you basically say, right. Just as fast or faster, the the the answer really is to be faster. Like you need to be a step or two ahead of what’s going on. Otherwise you’re essentially always kind of in behind the eight ball. You’re playing catch up. And this again for us is finding the most creative right, most intelligent team members to solve these problems. Like these are things that are that can be solved. I’m an absolute believer in that. One of the things we’re doing, we just recently started up a whole division of our of our company called the ISG or the Innovative Solutions Group. And we took two of the original founders, Seth Schmaltz and Shane Ackerley, and we said, Hey, guys, we we can’t all be focused on just running the main business. We actually have to focus on our future, like we have to build all of our focus on the future and certain elements of the business. So they’re their core mission, right, is to make sure that we’re ready for what comes next, that we’re ahead of the market in these areas. And it’s honestly, we have staff, that group with some of the most intelligent, exciting people I’ve ever seen. And they’re solving just incredible problems.
Speaker2: [00:38:23] We’re we’re hybridizing our solutions. We’re building lithium battery supplies at Nomad. Now we’re leaning heavy into our portal solutions and our software development teams. The next five years is going to be heavily leveraged in automation and in both in our vehicle systems, but also in our manufacturing. We’re bringing in a lot of automated manufacturing and fabrication systems in order to essentially augment our employee growth. So it’s not a replacement by any stretch of the imagination. It is an augmentation. We need to do both. And we’re working really hard right now on a strategy to essentially optimize and modularized 80% of the the platforms we build. And what I mean by that is that we can configure things right just like this office can be configured in manners that we can then take and replicate in different locations. So that 80% piece can be built here. It can be built in the UAE, it can be built in Northern Africa, it can be built in Latin America. Right. And that the other 20%, the 20% that is super unique to that mission, that specific customer mission, that’s where we’re putting all of our brainpower right in order to basically solve the 20% rather than reinventing the wheel a bunch of times.
Speaker1: [00:39:41] Nice. That’s great. Okay. Well, any last, final thoughts you want to share with our audience things that, uh, perhaps are important to you.
Speaker2: [00:39:53] You know, I think that in the grand scheme of things. I really just want to highlight the idea that that great outcomes come from great teams and that when we find ways to build great teams, I think that the most exciting things happen and that I feel super fortunate to have the team that I have today. I can’t wait to meet some of the new folks that I have yet to bring on to the team. Right. But when you’re looking at your podcast, just in general, in this idea of building things here in Montana, building in the Flathead Valley, that that we we have the opportunity to have this kind of mind share. Right. So, I mean, it’s not even that different than as much as I’m disappointed that you chose a different professional career. I’m super excited you’re here and doing this right and pursuing your passions over here. And that is that if we can share, experience, share the things that we’re learning, right? We all don’t have to learn those things a hard way. We can learn from each other’s experience and then elevate one another. And that’s again, I really am just I’m thrilled with with what’s happening across the board in our organization. I’m thrilled what’s happening in the Flathead. But we just have to be like we just have to build relationships with one another. As I mentioned, business is intensely personal. And if we can do that and if we can have empathy for one another as experiences, we can do really amazing things, good stuff.
Speaker1: [00:41:21] You mentioned the information share and that’s really our objective. And what I love is that you highlighted how important that was at the beginning of Nomad. So it’s fun to be able to flip the script and start to share your experience with others. So we greatly appreciate you being on. Well, thank you for sharing your heart on business and specifically how you make it work in Montana.
Speaker2: [00:41:42] Thanks for having me.