Techni-Core was founded on February 28, 1978 by M.J. “Dawn” Reynolds to supply contract professional services for Government and commercial clients. Thirty years later, Techni-Core is still going strong, with the addition of two more companies, Techni-Core Engineering, 1988, and Techni-Core Network Services, 1998. Techni-Core has since gained the additional leadership of her daughter, Christina Reynolds, as CEO of Techni-Core Network Services.
Our story begins with Dawn Reynolds, the founder of Techni-Core Corporation. Dawn originally hailed from New England, having spent many years being groomed and mentored directly by Dr. Edwin Land, CEO and Founder of Polaroid Corporation during the late 60’s. Dawn worked on Dr. Land’s team to develop the world’s first consumer version of the Movie Camera – now readily identifiable with these days by every child who owns a cell phone with video capability. Dawn attributes much of her CEO and entrepreneurial knowledge to working with Dr. Land. He taught Dawn how exciting developing a “new thing” can be. Dawn’s other source of inspiration was her father, who at one time kept four companies running to feed his family of seven.
The original idea for Techni-Core actually started in 1969 at the end of the space program. Dawn’s father had brought his family from New England to Huntsville to work for General Electric with the Apollo space program. The big joke in Huntsville at the time was “Would the last one out of Huntsville please turn out the lights?” referring to the mass exodus after the United States successfully landed on the moon and many engineers were then looking for new work. After finishing her education at UAH, Dawn got the vision to create a way to transition engineers from the Space Program to weapons research for the Department of Defense (DoD). America was just beginning to realize that the knowledge and human resources from Werner Von Braun’s Rocket era could successfully transition into defense weaponry. Huntsville, Alabama was called “Rocket City, USA” because it had, at that time, more Ph.D.’s per capita than any other city. Instead of letting these engineers and scientists leave town, this valuable talent pool was utilized to start the defense work under the US Army located on Redstone Arsenal.
There was a 6-year recession at the end of the Apollo program. By the 1970’s many of those scientists were either retired or had left town. Dawn believed that the new “Baby Boom” generation could take over from the previous “G.I. Generation” scientists. She found many shortfalls in that idea, though – the transition from one generation to another proved very difficult. There had to be a shift in trust in order to transfer the knowledge.
Business was difficult for a startup in the era just before the adoption of electronic technology. Dawn spent most of her days running resumes to clients in her car and delivering them by hand. What really changed her business dynamic was the change in technology – the advent of fax machines, computers and finally email enabled her to deliver resumes and therefore place personnel much more quickly than running around town with resumes in hard copy.
By 1986, Boeing delivered its proposal for the original Space Station Freedom, with the paper copy of the proposal being so massive it had to be delivered by a forklift truck. At this time, Dawn was instrumental in helping the head of HR at Boeing design the FIRST computer-based resume-sorting system for Boeing, based on Techni-Core’s own internal resume database using IBM DisplayWriters. Techni-Core was specifically designated as a small business in support of Boeing for their Space Station contract and has since served many years in support of this project. At the same time, Boeing Computer Support Systems also utilized Techni-Core to provide support for A/V (audio-visual) services for each mission launch. Techni-Core placed up to 70 people to assist in the video capture of each Space Shuttle launch for the NASA channel.
In 1992, NASA agreed to pay for the research to build a robotic welder to assist in manufacturing the Space Station. It was being maintained externally to Boeing for an egregious sum of money and was often non-functional during critical production times. Although considered an underdog to the bid, Techni-Core was called in to quote services and laid out a Preventive Maintenance schedule that greatly impressed Boeing. Together with Nichols Research and Hobart, Techni-Core started a preventive maintenance schedule and implemented a successful 99% functionality in production, saving Boeing many thousands of dollars in maintenance and production time.
By the Clinton era, Russian aeronautical engineers were being relocated to assist in the production of the Space Station, and the project changed its name from “Space Station Freedom” to the “International Space Station (ISS)”. Techni-Core provided Russian translators to Boeing to help integrate the Russian engineers into the workforce for the new ISS. By 1988 Techni-Core Engineering (TCE) was formed, and as America continued to build the main Space Station Lab Module into 1992, Techni-Core would build and deliver custom-built computers to Boeing for the Space Station ISS engineering team (before the advent of customized computers from the likes of Dell and Gateway). These specialized machines would replace the antiquated (and very expensive) IBM and Intergraph computers from the 80’s era. The maintenance contracts for the IBM and Intergraph machines were very costly at that time, and within a few years, the price of each maintenance contract could pay for a whole new machine! Dawn’s idea was to provide an inexpensive machine, and when the machine was antiquated or broken: Voila! Just replace it!
In the late 90’s Techni-Core had a contract with Boeing to create a Digital Image Archive for the as-built ISS hardware, accessible via the internet to international ISS scientists. The image archive created a digital “snapshot” for configuration management of the structural build. Dawn “borrowed” the inspiration of this idea from years of watching her father, William “Bill” Shaffer create a microfiche library for quality control for GE’s Small Steam Turbine Engines division in Massachusetts, then again on a similar project in Huntsville on the Apollo program, and yet again in Alaska on the Alaska Pipeline Weld (ironically, it was this project that brought her father, and eventually Dawn, to Huntsville in 1966). Dawn and her employees developed the proposal for the Digital as-built image archive to Boeing after a short 3 day proposal period and a grateful Boeing awarded the contract. The resultant image database allowed international engineers to collaborate real-time with visual as-built images via the internet.
In 1996 Dawn’s eldest daughter, Laura Ayers was instrumental in designing the first Tactical Communications Environment Segment (TCES) Gateway Terminal Emulator (GTE) for SPAWAR (Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center) out of San Diego. This Army 2M terminal emulator was instrumental in aiding interoperability testing in a laboratory environment over IP with any player in the world. Techni-Core still provides engineering expertise for GTE testing for the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) through SPAWAR. Laura Ayers continued on in her career to bloom and grow as an Engineer specializing in Army Aircraft through 30 years of collective service with the US Army and eventually serving as a GS-14 for US Army AMC. Laura additionally received her Master’s degree in Rotorcraft Engineering from a joint collaboration between UAH and Georgia Tech, picking up a specialization in Rotorcraft Engineering. Laura retired from her service to AMC in November of 2016.
By 1997 a new division of Techni-Core began to take shape. Due to the changing landscape of Information Technology, the commercial industry started to understand the importance of IT’s role in the administration and security of corporate networks. Dawn, in full understanding of the value of the inherent technological knowledge of the next generation, began to mentor and groom her youngest daughter, Christina Reynolds, now the third generation of entrepreneurial talent, to start up the third Techni-Core division, Techni-Core Network Services. Christina received her start in IT while attending Pennsylvania State University working as a Help Desk consultant in support of 80,000 students and faculty at all branch campuses. While still in college, Christina came home and in one weekend started the initial business concept that became known as Techni-Core Network Services. By 1998, Christina graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a degree in Materials Science and Engineering. After returning home to Huntsville, she promptly took to the helm as CEO for TCNS in 1999. Christina has continued to develop a specialized working group of Degreed and Certified IT Professionals, also known as the Network Experts Ready for Duty or NERDs™. These engineers are hailed as some of the foremost experts in IT, Cyber and Compliance.
Since the early 2000’s Techni-Core has supported major contract efforts for the US Army’s Sparkman Center, the Redstone Garrison, and MSIC/DIA (a Prime contract we hold to this day), providing specialist support for Classified Audio/Video design and installation support.
Since 2011, Techni-Core has provided, both directly and indirectly, engineering design, development, leadership and support of all current UAS training devices. They also support in the development of both technical and training manuals. Techni-Core’s breadth and depth of engineering support are not limited to the US Army, but additionally includes the US Air Force, US Navy, and the US Marine Corps, to solve their technical and logistic UAS challenges. Techni-Core’s SME expertise was specifically requested by both the conventional and Special Operations Command project/system managers and proponents to assist DARPA in the transition of PCAS (Persistent Close Air Support) to Army Special Operations Aviation Command (ARSOAC). This task directly resulted in AFSOC utilizing our engineering design expertise to request the development of both an MQ-9 Reaper and MQ-1 Predator trainer.
Techni-Core’s business model over the last 40 years has been to identify cutting-edge technology solutions that can be utilized by highly trained, degreed, and certified technical personnel to create the next “leap forward” for high technology applications. Techni-Core’s approach has always been simple in concept, yet elegant in design, providing our customers with an affordable means to deploy “just-in-time” technological solutions.
Dawn, Laura, and Christina continue to give back to the community, supporting The Alabama State and Regional Science Fairs(sponsored by UAH), Still Serving Veterans, “The Wall that Heals” the traveling Vietnam Wall Memorial Exhibit, Alabama Returning Veterans, the Greater Huntsville Rotary Club, as well as serving in many post-secondary advisory boards. Dawn is a founding member of HASBAT, a founding member of the Greater Huntsville Rotary Club, and has served on the Computer Advisory Committee for the Huntsville City Schools, Drake Technical College and the University of Alabama in Huntsville, among many other local volunteer positions.
Three generations of family, giving back to Huntsville and Redstone – as much as Huntsville and Redstone have given them since 1978. Techni-Core has shown it is still, 40 years later, “The little company with the big heart.”