Keeping the Dream Alive
Podcasts

Episode 28: Adoption Assistance Program with Cathy McDonald & John Watson

June 18, 2024

In this podcast episode, Cathy McDonald and John Watson discuss Torch Technologies' Adoption Assistance Program, introduced during its shift to a public benefit corporation. They outline the program's straightforward structure and substantial reimbursement policies, noting its favorable reception from the board and employees alike. The discussion highlights Torch's dedication to employee support, leadership development, and community innovation. Their conversation aims to distinguish Torch from other companies and encourage positive workplace practices.

Episode 27: Built with Purpose with Bill Roark

June 05, 2024

Bill Roark, co-founder of Torch Technologies, delves into his recent book, Built with Purpose. This work chronicles the formative years and history of Torch Technologies, a company with a two-decade legacy. Roark shares insights into the book's creation, detailing his collaboration with a ghostwriter and the extensive interviews conducted with current and former employees. Rather than serving as a how-to guide, the book is a compilation of pivotal stories and events that have shaped the company. Roark underscores the significance of employee ownership and highlights the company's commitment to its employees and community.

Episode 26: SIMVANA with Darryl Trousdale

May 15, 2024

Darryl Trousdale, project manager of the Advanced VIZLAB at Torch, discusses the evolution and impact of SIMVANA. Originally developed for virtual training in the defense sector, SIMVANA has broadened its applications to fields like anesthesiology and nursing onboarding. It provides a global training platform with virtual lessons and simulations, which are regularly updated. The podcast emphasizes the importance of sustaining and passing on the vision to future generations.

Episode 25: The IRAD Program with Bruce Peters

May 01, 2024

In this episode, we interview Bruce Peters to talk about the company's Internal Research and Development (IRAD) program. Bruce shares his background and how he got involved in the program. He discusses the importance of linking innovative ideas with customer needs and the role of different disciplines in project management. Bruce highlights the advantages of Torch's ESOP structure and how it allows for long-term investments in solving difficult problems. The episode concludes with a discussion of the relationship between the IRAD program and the summer intern program at Torch, emphasizing the importance of application and learning in internships.

Episode 24: New Starfish CEO with Bill Roark

April 10, 2024

In this episode, we sit down to talk with Bill Roark about his transition as Starfish Holdings CEO. We also discuss the role he will now play as Chairman of the Board, his upcoming book release in May, and future travel plans across the country.

Episode 23: Co-Founder of Torch Technologies with Don Holder

January 23, 2024

In episode 23, we talk with Don Holder Co-Founder of Torch. We discuss his educational background, the discussion with Bill Roark back in 2002 to join Torch, what it’s like now to see Torch continue to grow 20+ years later, and what advice he would give to new and current employee-owners of Torch Technologies.

Episode 22: Employee Spotlight with Mike O'Melia

January 04, 2024

To kick off the new year, we talked with Mike O'Melia, who has been at Torch Technologies for 19 years and is coming up on 20. We discussed his knowledge of ESOPs before joining Torch, the importance of the term employee-owner, and his challenge to the younger employees just beginning their careers at Torch.

Episode 21: Public Benefit Corporation with Bill Roark

December 06, 2023

In this episode, we talk with Bill Roark to discuss Torch’s newest distinction of becoming a Public Benefit Corporation. We discuss the differences between a Public Benefit Corp and a B Corp, how this distinction pairs with being an Evergreen Company, and the commitment Torch has to grow and be profitable for more than 100 years.

Episode 20: Freedom Real Estate with Brenda Conville & Lee Holland

October 24, 2023

We had the opportunity to talk with Brenda Conville and Lee Holland of Freedom Real Estate & Capital, a sister company to Torch Technologies. We discuss their backgrounds before joining Freedom, the exponential growth Freedom has had in a few years, the ESOP structure that connects Freedom with Torch, and the future goals they both have for Freedom moving into 2024 and beyond.

Episode 19: CEO of Torch Technologies with John Watson

October 11, 2023

We sat down with John Watson, who has been at Torch Technologies since 2009 and was promoted to CEO in 2018. We discuss his educational background, how he met Bill Roark while at Nichols Research, the initial decision to join Torch, and his future goals for Torch moving into 2024 and beyond.

Episode 18: Torch Helps

September 27, 2023

In this episode, we sit down with the current Board Chair of Torch Helps, Samantha Blumkin and the last two previous Board Chairs, Maureen Eversmeyer and LaJoy Johns. We discuss their backgrounds at Torch, the mission of Torch Helps, and the future impact they hope Torch Helps has in the community.

Episode 17: Internal Stock Exchange with Bill Roark

September 13, 2023

This week, we sit down to talk with Bill Roark Co-Founder of Torch Technologies to discuss the the Internal Stock Exchange. We discuss the employee benefit, the importance of having it, and the impact it will have on employee-owners for years to come.

Episode 16: President of Torch Technologies with Brad Walker

August 31, 2023

This week, we sit down to talk with Brad Walker who has been at Torch Technologies since 2006 and who recently got promoted to President of the company in January 2023. We discuss his educational background, how he met Bill Roark while at Nichols Research, the initial decision to join Torch in 2006, and how his day-to-day life has changed since becoming President.

Episode 15: Employee Spotlight with Jim Moore

July 05, 2023

In this episode, we talk with Jim Moore, who has been at Torch for almost 20 years. He currently works in the Shalimar, Florida office at Eglin Air Force Base. We discussed his knowledge of ESOPs before joining Torch, his decision to move to Shalimar, Florida, and how the company culture ultimately led his wife to join Torch too!

Episode 14: Employee Spotlight with Samantha Blumkin

June 14, 2023

We had the opportunity to talk with the lead program control analyst Samantha Blumkin. She helps lead all the program control analysts that support our ACE group here at Torch. During this episode, we discuss what it was like joining Torch back in 2013, her decision to leave Torch for a few months back in 2020 and her passion to educate the younger employees about things she wishes she would've known when she first started.

Episode 13: Employee Spotlight with Jim Diehl

May 30, 2023

In this episode, we sit down to talk with Jim Diehl, who recently retired but was the corporate chief of staff working directly for the president and the program manager for the MDA programs here at Torch Technologies. During this episode, we discuss what it was like joining Torch back in 2009 after almost 30 years of working at another company. We also discuss how the culture at Torch differed from his previous work experiences. and the value that the ESOP was to him as an employee, and now as a recent retiree.

Episode 12: Employee Spotlight with Adam Sampley

April 26, 2023

In this episode, we sit down to talk with Adam Sampley who helps lead the aircraft survivability team under the tactical systems business unit here at Torch Technologies. During this episode we discuss what it was like to join Torch 19 years ago directly out of college, the value of the ESOP program to him, what advice he would give to someone first beginning their career here, and what he believes separates Torch from other companies. Click here to listen to his story!

Episode 11: Employee Spotlight with Clayton Newkirk

April 06, 2023

We had the privilege of talking to Clayton Newkirk, Senior Director here at Torch Technologies. During this episode, we discuss what it was like joining Torch 20 years ago, the value of the ESOP program to him, and what advice he would give to someone first beginning their career here. Click here to find out what achievements he would love to see Torch receive in the near future!

Episode 10: Principle of Pragmatic Innovation

April 06, 2023

Bill Roark speaks about the Tugboat Institute and their Principle of Pragmatic Innovation. We discuss the mindset he has had over the last 20 years with calculated risk. What was the biggest calculated risk that Bill Roark ever took? Click here to listen!

Episode 9: Principle of Profit

March 02, 2023

Bill Roark, Co-Founder of Torch Technologies, talks about the Tugboat Institute and their Principle of Profit. We discuss the importance of profit to the survival of Torch specifically in the early years, how Bill was able to balance the desire to increase profits without making it the purpose of Torch, and how the true value of profit is what you deliver to the customer and how Torch has been able to deliver exceptional value over the last 20 years.

Episode 8: Principle of Paced Growth

February 09, 2023

Bill Roark discusses the Tugboat Institute and their Principle of Paced Growth along with long term strategies put in place for Torch back in 2002, how Bill was able to balance short-term performance with Torch's long-term goals, how Torch has been so consistent year-to-year over the last 20 years, and how we hope to continue this momentum moving forward.

Episode 7: What's Ahead for 2023

December 09, 2022

Bill Roark, Co-founder of Torch Technologies, talks about 2022 and some of the goals and milestones that Torch, Freedom Real Estate, and SIMVANA have been able to achieve across this year, as well as some goals we have for the podcast moving forward into 2023. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast wherever you listen.

Episode 6: 20th Anniversary Special

November 27, 2022

Bill Roark reminisces over the last 20 years. We discuss the history of Torch, lessons heas learned along the way, and what the future look like for Torch.

Episode 5: Principle of Private

November 20, 2022

Bill Roark discusses the Tugboat Institute and their Principle of Private which they define as taking advantage of the ability of closely-held private companies to have a longer-term view, greater confidentiality around strategies, and more operating...

Episode 4: Employee Owner

October 30, 2022

Bill Roark and Brady Porter discuss the general structuring of the Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP), the impact that ESOP has had on Brady's life over his 18 years of service at Torch, and how the overall atmosphere of Torch has been impacted based on the employee ownership model.

Episode 3: Principle of People First

September 28, 2022

In this episode of The Keeping the Dream Alive Podcast Bill Roark continues the conversations about The Tugboat Institute and their Third P of People First.

Episode 2: Principle of Perseverance

September 14, 2022

Bill Roark continues our conversation and we discuss The Tugboat Institute's second P for Principle of Perseverance.

Episode 1: Introduction to Evergreen

July 23, 2022

In this episode, we sit down with Bill Roark Co-founder of Torch Technologies to learn more about their history and one of their newest accomplishments of being recognized as a Certified Evergreen Company. We discuss what it means to be an evergreen company, the principle of purpose within the Tugboat Group, and how it applies to Torch. The Tugboat Group defines purpose as having a compelling reason for existing--a North Star above all else. You can learn more about the Tugboat Group by visiting their website. https://www.tugboatinstitute.com/