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Posted on March 31, 2017 at 9:13 AM by Katie Stamy
In 1990, what started as a part-time internship for Webster Business Owner Michael Brown, quickly developed into a career and full-time passion.
As a Clear Creek High School student in search of an avenue to venture before graduating, Brown began visiting aerospace contractors in the Webster area. He knew he wanted to explore the technology world, but was not having luck finding an opportunity.
With the help of his teacher, he found himself at the doorstep of Steve Lieber & Associates, Inc. (SLA).
Steve Lieber founded the company in 1987 to provide systems for navigation, positioning, and surveying, manufactured by prominent companies he partnered with. They included terrestrial and satellite radio-navigation systems, like the NAVSTAR Global Positioning System (GPS). As new satellite systems are deployed up to present day, they are incorporated to help complement GPS. When combined overall it is considered Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS).
“Not only do we provide GPS/GNSS hardware, but we also sell satellite correction signals, that broadcast all around the world from satellites,” Brown explained. “Applying these corrections in real-time to our GPS/GNSS receivers result in a 10 cm or better position resolution worldwide, 24/7”.
By the time he graduated high school, he had a full-time position with the company. He studied Computer Science at San Jacinto Community College for a while but got so deep into what SLA did that he did not finish his degree. In 2004, he purchased the company from the founder, Steve Lieber, and became the sole owner.
Lieber’s original clients were focused on Houston oil and gas companies using GPS to survey the land. But since that time, SLA has expanded, and their clients now extend all across the globe.
From aerospace to agriculture, SLA provides innovative solutions for a variety of customers in various fields. From the U.S. Department of Defense, NASA, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin, to Ford, General Motors, Apple, Google and SONY, SLA has made its way into a multitude of industries and applications.
Brown has enjoyed an exciting career that has provided opportunities to travel and perform cutting-edge tests and data collection with customers around the world.
He has raced around tracks collecting data for NASCAR to help his client create pointers for those watching a race on television. His systems have been aboard various NASA research platforms, and he provided equipment that helped orient an imaging system in the nose cone of a plane, acting as an eye in the sky during a shuttle’s return to flight.
Since the SLA consumers are all over the world, Brown has the freedom to have his office wherever he wishes. So, why did he choose Webster?
“Webster is pro-business and really looks out for the business people,” he said. “We are a small company, and it just makes sense to pick Webster. This area has grown, and when we had the opportunity to purchase a stand-alone building in Webster, I couldn’t pass it up. Webster was an easy choice for SLA originally due to the business development and proximity to our oil and gas market, and it remains a dominant area for aerospace contractors with NASA and Ellington Field just down the street from our office.”
SLA is a small business with Michael Brown serving as President, Ashley Brown as CEO/Treasurer and Rob Rose who manages the daily operations and has been with the firm for 20 years.
Although the company is small in terms of employees, it is large in terms of the business it brings into Webster each day. It is making a difference in not just the community, but in the world.