Small Business Spotlight - Stonewall Defense
Stonewall Defense is a small tech company founded in 2017 by military veterans Nick Campbell (Army) and Rick Newkirk (Air Force). Stonewall specializes in hardware/firmware development, systems integration, and software development. Software specialties include cloud infrastructure, building machine learning models, Android development, and web development. Located in Troy, NY, Stonewall Defense is dedicated to bringing high-paying tech jobs to the area by leveraging the technical talent being taught in the Capital Region universities.
Like most business owners, Stonewall Defense has not been without some challenges along the way. “Resource allocation has been the consistent issue since we started,” states Nick Campbell. “We spend a great deal of time analyzing where to spend our resources to ensure continued growth as well as combat against inevitable downturns.”
If they were to start over and do one thing differently, it would be to start earlier, citing “careful planning” as a key element for success. Although Nick concedes that there can be too much planning, “At some point, you need to start taking action. You cannot account for every possible outcome, and if you do, you run into two things: 1) you took so long planning that the landscape has changed and your plan needs to be revamped, or 2) you’re not going to have the ability to sufficiently train your team to respond to every outcome you’ve laid out”.
One piece of advice Stonewall Defense would give to new business owners is to use what is at your disposal because you will never have every single thing you want to move your business forward. Use the resources you have by getting creative and involving employees in the process – it’s fun and usually results in some great ideas.
Stonewall Defense measures success by what they provide to clients and how they internally build a business. “Success is giving the highest quality product for your market and improving the lives of your clients,” states Nick. He adds, “of course monetary gain follows that, but the success is not in making the highest margin. The success is in delivering. When clients look at your company and think, I know I’m getting quality, that’s success.” He also emphasizes the importance of establishing a work environment where team members feel valued, comfortable enough to bring their styles and ideas forward, and know that the business genuinely cares about their individual growth.
Stonewall Defense chose Sunmark Credit Union as its partner due to a shared commitment to the local community. Founder Rick Newkirk was born and raised in the Albany area, and as both founders care deeply for the local community, they wanted to utilize a small community-friendly bank. “Sunmark heard our story, and true to their word, they supported small business growth in this community,” said Nick.
When asked how Sunmark was different from other financial institutions they’ve worked with, they say “the biggest difference is that very personal and down to earth feel. When we met with Sunmark to discuss a line of credit, our loan officer walked us over to the head of the branch just to say hello. While that is just one small example, from our two years of doing business with Sunmark, they clearly care a great deal about their small business customers.”