Written by Jennifer Fitzgerald | Photos by Anthony Harden
Jim Oliver and Mike Proffitt love challenges. Case in point: Their company, Asheville’s AvL Technologies, aims to enable communications where communication is not possible.
Jim Oliver knew his company’s products impacted the world, but he saw it firsthand last year when he visited Russia. While at the Kremlin, his tour group was told by their guide it appeared that Russian President Vladimir Putin was going to be there that day. As Oliver walked around Red Square, he saw a news truck ready to broadcast live on Russian television when Putin arrived. On top of the truck was an AvL Technologies’ antenna.
“Here I am in Red Square, and here is one of my antennas,” says Oliver, the founder, owner, and CEO of the company.
Oliver, an engineer’s engineer who can never stop creating things, founded AvL Technologies (AvL) in 1994 in his garage. Today, the Asheville-based company has 200 employees and produces satellite antennas and positioner systems for defense and homeland security organizations, news organizations, and disaster relief agencies around the world. AvL Technologies equipped 80 percent of the Army, 100 percent of the Special Forces, and 50 percent of the Marine Corp with transformable antennas. The Department of Defense is one of AvL’s largest customers. The military wants very small, lightweight products they can carry on their backs and use in the field very rapidly. They want to throw it on the ground, plug it in and be connected—anywhere in the world.
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