Five months after moving from Pueblo West to a new manufacturing plant and headquarters in Colorado Springs, GPS Source plans to nearly double its workforce during the next two or three years, the company’s CEO says.
Acquired by a unit of defense giant General Dynamics nearly two years ago, GPS Source moved to the Springs to find more space and a deeper pool of engineering talent, said Robert Horton, a vice president at General Dynamics Mission Systems, which owns GPS Source.
The company now employs nearly 90 people and expects to grow to between 150 and 175 employees during the next two or three years, he said. GPS Source has 15 job openings, mostly for engineers on its website — www.gpssource.com/pages/careers.
“We had tapped the talent in Pueblo and a significant number of our employees were commuting from Colorado Springs, so we were competing with other defense contractors there for people,” Horton said.
The company had looked at several buildings in Pueblo and Fountain before it was acquired, but officials from General Dynamics eventually leased space near Circle Drive and Interstate 25 in a warehouse that was built out with a combination of office and manufacturing space.
The potential market for the GPS receivers that GPS Source manufactures could total “hundreds of millions of dollars” annually in sales to the U.S. military and its allies, Horton said. Annual revenue generated by GPS Source will more than double to $12 million this year and is expected to grow to $20 million next year from sales to the Army, other military branches and defense agencies in Belgium, France, Israel, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Sweden, he said.
GPS Source designs and manufactures custom-made GPS receivers to provide positioning, navigation and timing capabilities even when GPS signals are blocked by enemy forces, Horton said. The company’s products are used by special forces commands in the Army, Air Force and Navy to guide movement, targeting and communication.
The company was started in Pueblo West in 2000 by Allen Gross and Phillip Coiner, who had worked in the semiconductor industry.
Horton joined them as an owner five years later after spending 13 years with cellphone manufacturer Sony Ericsson working on GPS technology, which is a key part of the wireless network. The company remained small until winning its first major contract in 2007 to install GPS technology inside the Boeing C-17 military transport aircraft.
The $7 million deal ended in 2010 without work to replace the lost revenue, forcing GPS Source to lay off 11 of its 35 employees for about six months, Horton said.
Many of those employees were eventually rehired and the company won military contracts during the past five years totaling more than $25 million, allowing GPS Source to expand its work force to 60 by 2017.
The company’s rapid growth and concerns by the Army about the capacity of GPS Source to keep up with demand for its products triggered an unsolicited purchase offer from General Dynamics in 2017, an offer that Horton said “we couldn’t refuse.”
Gross and Coiner retired after the deal was completed, but General Dynamics asked Horton to stay and run GPS Source.