I came to Huntsville in 1999 to work as general counsel for Time Domain Corp., a radar and communications technology company. As an intellectual property lawyer and a degreed engineer, I had always had a passion for innovative technology, so when Hans Schantz -- a former colleague at Time Domain -- showed me a new way to use low-frequency radio waves to detect objects on the other side of a wall, I was pretty excited, as was Bob DePierre, another colleague. In 2002, the three of us struck out on our own to found Q-Track with the intention of developing Schantz's patented invention into a commercial product.
Staying in Huntsville was an obvious choice. Home to NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, the U.S. Army's Aviation and Missile Command, and Cummings Research Park -- the second largest in the country -- this small city is fast becoming a significant technology hub.
The cost of living and running a business is also relatively cheap here. My property tax is about a third of what I used to pay in Massachusetts. State gas taxes are relatively low, and the cost of electricity is below the national average. Land is also cheap, which makes it easy to expand. We recently relocated to a rented space inside a huge refurbished factory, the owners of which plan to bring in more tech startups and entrepreneurs.
You need a critical mass to build something like another Silicon Valley, and I think we're starting to see that develop in Huntsville. -Malika Zouhali-Worrall
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