News Article

Corvid Technologies a smashing success
Date: Mar 04, 2011
Author: Ken Elkins
Source: bizjournals ( click here to go to the source)

Featured firm in this article: Corvid Technologies Inc of Mooresville, NC

When U.S. military and defense contractors need answers to complex engineering questions, they often turn to a small technology company tucked away in a Mooresville business park.

It's a job Corvid Technologies does so well that the 40-employee company was recognized last month by the Small Business Administration with a prestigious Tibbetts Award. Corvid was one of 44 small businesses to receive the award for playing a crucial role in government research and development. The award also honors companies for "driving innovation and creating new jobs."

Corvid founder David Robinson has certainly accomplished both.

The Greensboro native picked the Lake Norman area for his business in 2004 because he fondly remembered summers on the lake. Robinson wanted his three children to share those memories of lakeside recreation.

It may have been the last time a decision related to Corvid could be described as simple. Here's the company's description of its services: Corvid uses high-fidelity computational physics techniques to solve complex engineering problems for the automotive racing industry as well as the Department of Defense.

Robinson built the company here starting in a 1,200-square-foot office in Lakeside Business Park in Mooresville after leaving the U.S. Naval Weapons Laboratory in Virginia.

It has since grown to 40 employees in a 20,000-square-foot complex in Talbert Pointe Business Park. Of the $10 million in annual company revenue, 90% comes from answering the U.S. military's tough questions.

For example, Corvid's array of computer servers has simulated missile to missile impact for the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System.

"We use big computers to solve complex problems instead of actually testing the missiles," Robinson says.

Corvid has a three-year contract through 2013 from General Motors Co. to answer its GM race teams' aerodynamics problems. Local NASCAR teams, such as Hendrick Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing and Stewart-Haas Racing, benefit from Corvid's work. "We try to shape the car and make it slip through the air faster," Robinson says.

Tad Dunn, deputy director at the N.C. Military Foundation, says Corvid has become a local success story about how to create a business to serve the military.

"In a relatively short time, Corvid has become a proven resource for the military and defense industry," he says. The foundation works to build the state's defense economy by identifying needs in the military. Robinson also serves on the N.C. Military Foundation board.

Today, the company also has small offices in Washington and in Huntsville, Ala., near the Army's Redstone Arsenal.

Instead of buying a $6 million supercomputer, Robinson spent $120,000 to link together clusters of servers.

Corvid and Robinson also use high-tech alloys and ceramic materials to test how targets and weapons react to each other.

Using those materials as models, Corvid developers devised a way to adjust the explosion yield of a bomb before it's dropped.

Most of Corvid's work centers on "computational fluid dynamics," which simulates the interaction of liquids and gases with surfaces. In racing, the computer models replace a wind tunnel to determine how easily a NASCAR vehicle slips through the air.

The dynamics at Corvid is about employment growth. Robinson expects to add seven or so employees later this year.