Shawnee Huckstep, TechWise

Sometimes reality outpaces your dreams. Such was certainly the case with Shawnee Huckstep.

“I never expected any of this,” said Huckstep of her international defense contracting company TechWise. “I thought that we’d have a normal small business. Maybe 20 employees. Nothing unusual.”

But the small software training company she and her husband founded in 1994 has grown into a $17 million company with 200 employees and offices in a dozen states and hopes to be at $100 million in revenue in 5 years. This spring, TechWise relocated its headquarters to the Chase Bank building in downtown Colorado Springs, after purchasing it with two other corporate partners.

Huckstep credits her success to an appetite to satisfy the customer that trumps the hunger to generate income.

“Everything I’ve ever done, I’ve wanted to please people more than I’ve wanted to make money,” said Huckstep. “And I’ve really wanted to make a difference.”

A profoundly positive attitude, flexibility and the ability to find good in any situation are also keys to Huckstep’s success. When the economic downturn of the 2000s took hold, TechWise transitioned from software technology to providing weapons, strategy and communications consulting for military clients. The company began a mentoring service for soldiers returning from war, helping them find employment.

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Then TechWise began working with U.S. allies in the Middle East, training soldiers there and gaining the attention of other countries as well.