Summit Technical Solutions’ founder, President and CEO Kelly Terrien certainly is a woman of influence in the Pikes Peak region.
An Air Force veteran and entrepreneur who launched a high-tech company in Colorado Springs, Terrien leads her business with these rules in mind: “Be fair. Be honest. Be generous. Be a multiplier and enjoy each and every day.”
“Being a multiplier is giving your team an opportunity to grow and let their ideas shine, versus: You’re the boss and you have all the answers,” she said.
Terrien spotlighted her employees as one reason her company has grown from one employee to more than 400 nationwide. The business provides engineering and technical services to federal agencies and industry partners around the globe.
“The company has accomplished things I couldn’t have imagined 14 years ago. That’s because of the great team and employees on the front line with our customers and really allowing Summit Technical Solutions to shine,” she said.
She’s proudest of what she’s given birth to — her son and her business, in that order.
“It’s very personal to me. [My business …] It’s my second baby. My son is my first baby,” she said. “[Regarding STS] I started from scratch with just me … working and growing. It’s a teenager now.
“It’s obviously taken a lot of blood, sweat and tears and sometimes working 24 hours a day to accomplish all the things that need to be done when you’re starting a small business,” she said.
Her business is dedicated to STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and mentoring other small businesses, “because they are our future,” she said.
Terrien sets a good example for her employees, said Jaime Geltz, an employee who nominated her for the Woman of Influence accolade.
“She is a very caring person. She is active in the community,” Geltz said. “Within our company, we do a lot of community service, focusing on women and children in need, veterans and STEM education.”
Terrien said some STEM education exposes children age 3 to the joys of science.
“It’s one of my focuses at STS. I just love science, chemistry and technology,” Terrien said. “I want to stay involved in STEM, [making] sure we are doing as much as we can in our community to support that.”
When asked about the business climate in Colorado Springs, Terrien laughed and mimicked Tony the Tiger: “It’s GRRRRRR8!!!!”
With its five military bases, NORAD, Air Force Space Command, SMDC, Missile Defense Agency “and the colleges and universities – UCCS, Colorado College, Pikes Peak Community College, Colorado Technical University — all these institutions are turning out all these people for companies around here.
“I am not aware of any other city our size that can boast those things. I believe in small business and in STEM.”
— Marija B. Vader