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National Engineering Firm Shifts Focus to Small Businesses Special

By Cadie Carroll     Aug 7, 2012 in Business
Founded in 2004 as a company that helps small and large businesses and governmental entities complete their product development initiatives, Ascendant Engineering Solutions and its team of engineers have been highly successful over the years.
So much so, along the way they're becoming the largest contract engineering firm in technology-rich Austin.
From billion dollar corporations to the U.S. Department of Defense, Ascendant built a reputation based on its capabilities in areas such as software, systems, mechanical and electrical engineering.
Its most recent product to hit the market was the Small Arms Weapon Shock Simulator, a system that can simulate the shock of firing a weapon in order to test sights, scopes and other gear that would otherwise be tested by manually firing off thousands of rounds to gauge the shock level and resistance of the gear.
“We saw our client base spending tremendous resources testing small arms,” said Ascendant CEO Jon Noeth. “We believed there was a better way to do that.”
The Weapon Shock Simulator was the first device of its kind to be approved by the U.S. Army and purchased by various military personnel and defense contractors.
“The Army told us that a lot have tried but none were successful,” Noeth said of other attempts to create a weapon shock simulator. “They were interested in ours, ran it through the ringer, tested it out and said that indeed, it did work.”
Noeth said that Ascendant makes its work out of solving problems for customers that don't have enough of the right resources in house to tackle a particular problem. There are also opportunities to support companies where they may have tried other avenues to execute a development project, but have been unsuccessful in creating what they wanted and they come to AES to complete the development.
Shifting Focus to Entrepreneurs
After achieving a comfortable level of success at the commercial, defense and medical industries, Noeth and his management team have decided to expand their focus on the small business market.
“Entrepreneurs have good ideas but not all understand what's required to turn them into products,” Noeth said. “Here we know how to take an idea from concept to design to product.”
It seemed to be a perfect fit, and what better a place to begin this new market plan than its home base of Austin.
“In terms of the Austin market, we’re still working on market penetration,” he said of trying to reach the infinite small businesses of the capitol city. “We’ve expanded very well over the past couple years. Austin’s referral rate is very good.”
Others believe Ascendant will have little trouble making the shift.
“Most of the people there have been working together for a long time (some in previous companies) and there is a family dynamic to their company,” said Laura Perkins, an executive at Arrow Electronics (a company that provides components to Ascendant). “The shift in business strategy is definitely attainable for Ascendant. I have already seen a big expansion in the type of products that they are designing as well as their customer base.”
Perkins went on to talk about the personal touch Ascendant adds to each project, noting how crucial that trait is for a business to be successful, regardless of whom they market to.
“Personally I think that Ascendant is a great fit for smaller companies, especially start ups. They have to ability to help with the whole design from feasibility to finished product or anywhere in between. I always have the feeling that the engineers view the projects that they are working on as their own personal designs and approach it with the same care and consistency.”
Noeth ended with a final word on why he felt the company has achieved so much success as well as why it will be able to make the transition from big companies to small, entrepreneurial businesses.
“It’s essential that you recognize what [you] need to be successful,” he said. “The quicker you can put a team together behind your problem the quicker you’ll get to market. Being in the creative environment folks are very anxious to take their idea to the next level. That’s one of the best things any startup can have: a team behind their idea that’s ready to go.”
To check out Ascendant’s products, services and more visit
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