September 28, 2022

Business Spotlight: Caliola Engineering

Caliola Engineering founders review cybersecurity and defense products for government contract

Colorado Springs’ aerospace & defense businesses are growing, and one example of a company that exemplifies the startup success of the industry is Caliola Engineering. The 100% women-owned small business was founded in 2019 by Jennifer Halford — a Top 40 Under 40 recipient by Aviation Week with more than two decades of experience in the defense industry. 

Caliola is well-recognized within Colorado Springs’ defense and space manufacturing industry, providing trusted solutions for mission-critical communications. Having expertise in Nuclear Command, Control, and Communication (NC3); military satellite communications (SATCOM); modernized High Frequency (HF) communications; automated SATCOM planning; non-traditional cybersecurity architectures; and assured position, navigation, and timing (PNT). Through their expertise, Caliola enriches Colorado’s aerospace and defense industry in more ways than one. With such an impressive beginning, the company was named a “Colorado Company to Watch” in 2021. 

They have raised more than $17 million in capital, including a recent Advanced Industries Accelerator Grant grant of $250,000 from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT). 

Growing Jobs in Colorado Springs 

Beyond its impact on the aerospace & defense industry in Colorado Springs, Caliola continues to create jobs and opportunities in the region. The company has grown from four part-time employees to 47 full-time employees in less than three years. OEDIT also recently announced it will award up to $3,942,340 to Caliola’s Project Power through an eight-year job growth incentive tax credit. Caliola anticipates it will create 372 jobs at more than two times the average El Paso County wage.  

Part of a Larger Community 

Caliola’s Founder, President & CEO Jennifer Halford, was motivated to move her business and family from California to Colorado Springs for the welcoming community, entrepreneurial spirit, and robust aerospace & defense economy. Colorado Springs’ supportive business community includes five military installations, an array of commands and national defense centers, and talent from five National Security Agency CAE-certified institutions. 

When matched with Colorado Springs’ immense quality of life, including short commutes and extensive opportunities for outdoor activities, Halford knew the city was where she needed to be. 

The founders of Caliola Engineering discuss defense solutions for mission-critical communications over at the lab bench.

The Business of Winning Contracts 

Catalyst Campus — an innovative and collaborative community that Caliola has been a part of — has been strengthening aerospace & defense startups in the Pikes Peak region since 2015. Approximately 50 companies operate either virtually or in-person at the campus, including an office for U.S. Space Command. Halford attributes much of Caliola’s early success to Catalyst Campus, where the company’s Pitch Day competition win became the first of many.   

“Catalyst Campus has been great in sitting down with Caliola and helping us navigate the complexity of bidding on and winning government contracts,” said Halford. 

As a collaborative ecosystem for Colorado Springs’ defense companies, the U.S. Space Force’s Catalyst Accelerator offers a three-month semi-residential program for second-stage businesses like Caliola, connecting them to Space Force subject matter experts, investment opportunities, and office space. 

Recently Caliola has seen several such wins. The company was one of 19 companies to secure a portion of $32 million in U.S. Space Force innovative research contracts during the inaugural pitch event, and most recently was one of 17 small businesses to earn part of a $30 million dollar award from the U.S. Air Force Armament Directorate at a Weapons Pitch Day. The Gazette also recently named the defense firm a 2021 Best Workplace for its leadership, business performance, and employee engagement. 

Emphasizing an environment of innovation, insight, and integrity, Halford and Caliola are positioned for years of success in Colorado Springs. The Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC is excited to assist businesses like Caliola that create technological advancements while driving partnerships and customer engagement. 

Catalyst Accelerator, Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation, and Innosphere Ventures have created a community to spark innovation in Colorado Springs,” says Halford. 

Learn more about other aerospace & defense companies in Colorado Springs and contact us to find out how to grow your business in the Pikes Peak region.