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TMCNet:  Customized software is firm's expertise

[February 26, 2013]

Customized software is firm's expertise

Feb 26, 2013 (The Knoxville News-Sentinel - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- When it comes to software programs, "We don't work on the easy stuff," says Steve Hicks, president, CEO and senior partner of Cadre5.

The Knoxville company takes on complex challenges, such as helping Delta Air Lines organize pilot schedules and designing a centralized prescription refill system for CVS Pharmacy.

It's estimated one-fifth of Americans are affected daily in one way or another by this company with the catchy name.

"If you have ever flown on Delta or gotten a prescription at CVS, you have benefited from our work," Hicks said.

The firm has even taken on software challenges that are of worldwide significance.

Consider this: Cadre5 has been developing a program to keep track of material that could be used in weapons of mass destruction around the world.

"It's a very large software program," Hicks said. "We've had eight people working on it full-time for four years." That U.S. Department of Energy project, dubbed G2, is a management information system intended to help keep secure vulnerable nuclear and radiological materials at civilian sites.

It's part of what's called the Global Threat Reduction Initiative of the National Nuclear Security Administration.

"Almost all that we've done is challenging," Hicks said. "Usually our clients have a business need that they can't find off-the-shelf software to satisfy." The company motto: "The Best Solutions for the Hardest Problems." Located on Corporate Drive in West Knoxville, Cadre5 has reinvented itself a couple of times during its 14-year history.

"We get a lot of comments on the name," Hicks said of Cadre5 -- which stands for a nucleus of trained personnel and the original five founding partners. "We've been really happy with it." Now, Hicks said, there are just two other senior partners, Chris O'Neal and Ken Lowery.

In the late 1990s, Hicks was the chief technology officer at E.W. Scripps. He helped the Knoxville News Sentinel, one of the company's media holdings, during the newspaper's early days as an Internet presence.

It was after moving to Internet Pictures Corp., or IPIX, and then being downsized that Hicks took the step that led to Cadre5.

Today, the prizewinning company has a staff of 25 -- most of them holding master's degrees in computer science -- and annual revenue of more than $4 million.

About 65 percent of the company's work is for the federal government, Hicks said, and state government "is one of our growth opportunities." Other clients include insurance and health care companies and automotive industry member Denso, where it helps with touch screen training and workflow systems.

The company has no sales department, and its business is from word-of-mouth advertising by satisfied clients.

Cadre5 has an established method to see if it can assist a prospective client. First, he said, "we study the business's needs." That's the start of what Hicks calls the company's "5D" approach: Discover, Define, Design, Develop and Deploy.

"The time it takes to develop a customized software program really depends on the complexity of the business need," he said.

Hicks said while much of his company's business remains with the government, Cadre5 continues to diversify its client base in this age of federal funding uncertainty.

___ (c)2013 the Knoxville News-Sentinel (Knoxville, Tenn.) Visit the Knoxville News-Sentinel (Knoxville, Tenn.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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