Pierce County Veterans Find Fertile Tech Ecosystem to Fuel Connectivity Startup
Wind Talker Innovations forged by Band of Brothers from Joint Base Lewis- McChord (JBLM) and Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) are creating secure and instant connections for people, data, ideas and solutions
Ninety days. That’s all it took to build Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s (JBLM) nearly 2,000 original structures. This foundation of hard work and determination laid solid ground for Pierce County’s military legacy and culture to grow into the tech sector: as go-getters and innovative entrepreneurs.
Ryan Luther and Matt Perdew, Co-Founders of Wind Talker Innovations, are helping lead the charge. Both finished Air Force careers, Ryan at JBLM and Matt at JBER. Their mission in the Air Force was focused on improving and integrating military battlefield communication systems and infrastructures. After retiring, and specifically after a few frustrating inflight internet experiences, Ryan and Matt couldn’t find any comparable commercial systems. “We recognized that there was a need, and we knew that we could fill it,” shared Ryan. Thankfully, they say, because of an established and welcoming tech startup ecosystem and entrepreneurial support from several military programs they were in the right place to do so: Tacoma.
“Getting face-to face with folks in the Tacoma-Pierce County Economic Development Board was a tremendous asset,” said Ryan. “We were also the first tech company to use the Spaceworks program – which taught us everything from how to run a business to finding discounted office space in a good location as we received new funding and
Wind Talker also benefited from JBLM’s Hire our Heroes program, enabling them to now employ nine military vets and counting. “Hire Our Heroes is gaining more momentum for those separating or retiring from the military – allowing folks serving their last six months to participate in an internship for up to 90 days while still on active duty,” explained Ryan.
The company’s rapidly growing team now provides software-based data networking using existing equipment, turning cell phones into cell towers and aircraft into satellites. Wind Talker’s software solution Osmosis® empowers people to connect securely across the planet. The company’s customers include cell providers, emergency response, and the government. Their products enhance national security and combat readiness on the ground, at sea, in the air and space, paving the way for a safer, more secure global future.
They’ve expanded beyond their Tacoma workspace, to office space in nearby Fife in Pierce County, along with offices in Alaska and Florida. Wind Talker’s homebase is increasingly suited to their development. “Pierce County’s close proximity to large tech companies, the Tacoma port with maritime, rail and automotive transport, and nearby airports makes it an excellent testing ground for our network,” noted Ryan. “When Wind Talker was founded in 2016 there was this budding ecosystem, but it didn’t come with a lot of investment dollars – that’s turning a corner and we’re seeing it change.”
Since its impressive inception, JBLM continues to play an active role in supporting Pierce County and its thriving entrepreneurial veteran community. Wind Talker Innovations’ testimony is evidence that when veterans leave the military, they don’t need to leave their get it-done entrepreneurial skill set – they just need to plug in and see what they can build in 90 days.
Follow Wind Talker Innovations’ journey to secure, instant connections for people, data, ideas and solutions on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter
Track the successes, and plug into the startup ecosystem in Tacoma and Pierce County on LinkedIn by following Startup253 and heading to www.edbTacomaPierce.org/technology.