Three years ago, Matt Summer took a leap of faith, leaving behind his job as robotics systems enterprise lead at a Fortune 500 company to launch his own venture.
“In that first office, I could reach out and shake hands with my co-founder,” said Summer, referring to Brad Truesdell, a colleague from Summer’s time at Harris Corporation (now L3Harris) and U.S. Navy retiree who, in 2020, was recognized as a “Veteran of Influence.”
It was in their cozy office space at Groundswell, a high-tech incubator and coworking space on Florida’s Space Coast, where Tomahawk Robotics was born.
At the time, global spending on military robotics was anticipated to reach $16.5 billion by 2025, creating significant demand for related products and services. With nearly two decades of experience developing robotics solutions for the defense industry, and with degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Georgia Institute of Technology, Summer was well-positioned to pursue a piece of the burgeoning pie.
With Truesdell as CEO and Summer as CTO, Tomahawk set out to transform the way humans and robots work together. Its signature Kinesis software makes it easy for warfighters to manage unmanned systems in harsh environments. Controlled by an app on Android smartphones or tablets, the interface is intuitive; if a user has ever played video games, they will use Kinesis with ease.
But the system isn’t just for defense industry application. Capitalizing on projections for global spending on industrial robotics, Tomahawk has adapted its Kinesis solution to also meet the needs of corporations striving to improve worker safety and efficiency, while reducing costs. For example, in a remote inspection using unmanned systems controlled with Kinesis, workers can detect the presence of gases or other hazards to human health.
Driven by its stated values of “grit” and “hustle,” Tomahawk has grown rapidly since its start in 2018. Following three years of tripling revenue growth, Tomahawk expanded its operations to a 10,000-square-foot facility with state-of-the-art production and testing spaces.
What’s the secret to its early success? Agility and speed to innovate.
“If there’s a business case to be made, we’ll go for it,” said Summer.
He also points to company culture, evidenced by the team’s recent response to COVID-19 impacts. As businesses across the nation were forced into shutdowns and layoffs, Tomahawk leaders pivoted to ensure their hands-on operations could continue without disruption. With employee safety and customer satisfaction top-of-mind, Tomahawk implemented remote work policies and staggered necessary in-person work schedules to minimize physical contact.
“I can’t say enough about our team,” shared Summer. “They are a group of A-players who are extremely self-motivated. You don’t have to call anyone and tell them to show up. They are already there.”
Despite pandemic-related limitations, Tomahawk’s growth continued in 2020, evidenced by a new partnership with Samsung Electronics. An effort to support the U.S. Department of Defense’s major robotics programs, the partnership will bring Kinesis to the new Samsung Galaxy S20 Tactical Edition smartphone.
Fueled by this momentum, Tomahawk is now seeking passionate high-tech talent to join its “eclectic technical team hailing from the best of large defense, Silicon Valley unicorns and global entertainment companies.”
Tomahawk is the ideal workplace for entrepreneurial-minded tech enthusiasts who want to get their hands on bleeding-edge technology, explained Summer.
“We work with some of the most exciting technology you can play with.”
Not to mention, cost and quality of living in the family-friendly area of Melbourne are top-notch. The Space Coast has been ranked the No. 1 place to live in Florida, offering both a rich history of space exploration and robust community of modern enterprises in rapidly expanding industries: aerospace and defense, business services, communications, education, environmental services, financial services and information technologies. Additionally, the area offers a wide range of things to do, including Florida’s signature beaches, a variety of nature recreation and cultural attractions, as well as proximity to major highways for easy access to popular travel destinations.
Tomahawk has several job opportunities available now, including a testing engineer, DevOps engineer and software engineer. For more information, visit https://www.tomahawkrobotics.com/careers.
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