Technology company expands in city

Published 11:19 pm Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sometime next year, when you finally are able to find that elusive e-mail from Aunt Jane — the one where she gave you the family fruitcake recipe that has been handed down for generations — you may be able to thank a Suffolk company whose roots are in the U.S. intelligence community.

Applied Technical Systems Inc., located in the Harbour View Professional Center, specializes in data and intelligence analysis, skill sets that have a special level of pertinence for the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense and other government agencies tasked with finding and keeping an eye on America’s enemies.

But some of the technology the company has developed will have even broader commercial applications, and company officials are excited at the prospect of resulting growth.

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In fact, the company already has grown since it moved into its quarters at the Harbour View Professional Center, and company officials were talking during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday about the possibility of renting a larger portion of their building.

“Suffolk is a great location for us locally in the Hampton Roads area,” ATS President David E. Wachter said. “We’re very excited to … actually already be looking at running out of space. We look forward to continuing to grow in the Suffolk area.”

Headquartered in the Seattle, Wash., area where it was founded in 1980, ATS Inc. provides information exploitation, naval logistics services and engineering and data analysis, mostly for state and federal governmental agencies.

The Suffolk office concentrates on providing services to the U.S. Navy, company officials said Tuesday.

Chief Technical Officer Gerald J. Caponera showed those attending the event on Tuesday some of the software the company has developed to help military and intelligence analysts manipulate, examine and classify the gigabytes of data they collect on various subjects of interest, whether those subjects be terrorists, weapons systems or training camps.

The software helps analysts uncover the web of connections that eventually can help them infiltrate and break up networks of America’s enemies.

The same software, though, can be a powerful tool with many non-military uses — from highly focused e-mail and Internet searches to criminal investigations.

Whereas searches often are “a mile wide and an inch deep,” Caponera said, ATS’ Einstein search tool, which could be ready for beta testing in the summer, helps retrieve results that are “a mile deep and an inch wide.”

ATS is just one of a growing number of high-tech firms that have chosen to locate in Suffolk Harbour View corridor, where companies work to produce technology to support business and government clients with advanced computer simulations and technology infrastructure.

“We are delighted that ATS chose to expand their investment in Suffolk,” Mayor Linda T. Johnson said in a press release announcing the expansion. “The support work from the men and women of ATS has contributed significantly to the growth of our technology corridor.”