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50 Fastest Growing Private Companies to Watch 2016

Innovating for Impact: Sierra Nevada Corporation


‘A trusted leader in solving the world’s toughest challenges through advanced engineering technologies in Space Systems, Commercial Solutions, and Defense and National Security.’

Recognized as one of the world’s top ten most innovative companies in space, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is a privately held American company that delivers innovative, end-to-end solutions in the areas of space, aviation, electronics and systems integration. SNC was established in 1963 by John Chisholm who had a huge passion for aviation and landing systems. SNC remained small during that time, with just a few engineers, and when Fatih and Eren Ozmen completed the management buy-out in 1994, they decided to focus their pursuits on growth through high-tech acquisitions and contracts with the U.S. Air Force. That was the point at which SNC started getting into some really meaningful aviation programs.

This plan for growth eventually included 19 acquisitions, expanding SNC into four countries and 19 U.S. states. Among the most notable achievements of the last decade are the development of SNC’s Dream Chaser® spacecraft, which recently earned a NASA contract to ferry cargo and supplies to and from the International Space Station (ISS). SNC is also focusing heavily on initiatives designed to evaluate the habitability of Mars and other innovative solutions to the world’s toughest challenges.

Rapid strides despite all odds
Under the Ozmens’ ownership, SNC has grown from a small company with a handful of engineers at one location to a billion-dollar global technology and aviation corporation.

This rapid growth was punctuated by times of slowing down to align the company with the government’s large business compliance environment. This has been challenging for SNC, because what makes the company successful is its ability to move very fast, be very agile. As a large business, SNC has adapted to government contracting requirements, achieving the required process focus while minimizing any delay in response time.

Most importantly for the Ozmens personally, when Fatih and Eren immigrated to the U.S. they came here with nothing. They had little to no resources, barely spoke English and had no connections. Everything they have achieved is a result of hard work and dedication. When they go through tough times, they only have to remember the days when they arrived in the United States with nothing. Compared to that, no challenge is too big.

An entrepreneurial, customer-centric focus
SNC business dealings are built on trust and the company strives to ensure that deals are structured so that everybody wins. That philosophy works for the company and as a result, SNC has a very good reputation and very good people.

Solving the future’s complex challenges
The company’s goal is to continue expanding in the areas of high technology, cyber, aerospace and aviation. In the coming years, SNC’s Dream Chaser spacecraft will begin shuttling cargo to and from the ISS. With this, the world will once again see a winged spacecraft with the ability to land on nearly any runway in the world, making cargo and scientific materials easily and rapidly available.

In addition, SNC affiliate TRJet will see its first-ever manufactured commercial aircraft take flight; achieving simultaneous design and production of Turkey’s first domestically produced passenger aircraft.

In 2021, the first-ever United Nations space mission will have launched, allowing UN Member States to participate in a 14-day flight to low-Earth orbit (LEO) on SNC’s Dream Chaser. The next several years will be momentous for SNC with no dearth of opportunities for expansion and growth.

Meet the Key Executives

Eren Ozmen, Owner & President: Eren joined Sierra Nevada Corporation in 1988, shortly after receiving her MBA from the University of Nevada, Reno. With a strong vision for the future, Eren and her husband Fatih Ozmen acquired SNC in 1994, and as SNC’s sole owners, set their plans in motion to expand and grow the company. As a direct result of their strategic planning efforts and strong financial and technical management, SNC has grown into the Top Woman-owned Federal Contractor in the United States.

In addition to her role as an influential businesswoman, Eren places a priority on maintaining a healthy work-life balance, promoting family-friendly policies in the corporate culture of SNC.

Fatih Ozmen, Owner & CEO: Fatih joined SNC in 1981 with a broad engineering background culminating with a M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Nevada, Reno. He designed and developed numerous high-tech systems and managed several key integration programs during his early years at SNC.

As CEO, Fatih Ozmen leads the dedication to quality and service that is a hallmark of the entire organization. Known as a creative thinker and problem solver, Fatih continually maintains a strong customer focus, while bringing outstanding strategic management skills and extensive business leadership experience to his position.

“Anchored by our heritage, we innovate above and beyond for a better, safer world.”