Company Name: ATA Engineering, Inc.

Location: San Diego, CA

Nature of Business: Engineering consulting

Founded: 2000

Revenue: $16 million

Number of Employees: 84

Average Tenure: 10.3 years

Applying advanced engineering software to the testing and analysis of mechanical structures, ATA Engineering provides design solutions in the aerospace, biomedical, automotive and consumer products industries. Founded in 2000 and 100% employee owned, the firm now has 84 employees and has been described as incomparably egalitarian. To avoid creating an “us vs. them” mentality, ATA is virtually free of special rewards for individual performance and tracks revenue and profits only at the company level. While individual achievements are recognized through the normal compensation system, bonuses and stock grants are distributed in proportion to salary. Employee development is central to the business model: a co-op program is the key recruiting tool, every employee has an individual development plan, and junior engineers can be given project leadership on appropriate assignments. Decisions are made on a consensus basis, which is time intensive but encourages employee-owners to participate and stay abreast of company matters. These practices have resulted in an average employee turnover rate of less than 4%, contributing to average company revenue growth rate of 36% between 2005 and 2007.

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