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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives

Jennifer Halford

CEO & President

Caliola Engineering

Location: Colorado Springs, CO

Founded: 2019

Industry: Technology - Secure Communications

When Jennifer Halford was in eighth grade, her father told her that she was going to run his defense contracting business someday. Although she didn’t know exactly what that meant, she knew she would need to be a whiz at science and math.

She sought out advanced classes in high school and eventually earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in computer science and a B.A. in business economics. She also received internships in the commercial and defense industries. Halford worked at DreamWorks, providing software engineering support on the original Shrek movie and at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command supporting satellite programs.

Although working in Hollywood was exciting, Halford realized her heart was with space and defense. She joined The Aerospace Corporation, where she worked for 17 years, but in the back of her mind she knew she needed to go out on her own at some point. Halford then earned an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management, which opened her eyes to entrepreneurial possibilities. Instead of following the path her father envisioned, Halford and her husband, Dr. Tom Halford, formed Caliola Engineering in 2019.

Caliola provides technical solutions and services for secure and resilient communications. “We have expertise in nuclear command, control and communication; military satellite communications (SATCOM); modernized high frequency communications; automated SATCOM planning; nontraditional cybersecurity architectures and assured position, navigation and timing,” the company said.

In three years, the company has grown to 45 employees and is tracking roughly $22 million in non-dilutive funding. The company was named one of the Colorado Companies to Watch, in 2021, and has received the Best Workplaces Award for the past two years from The Gazette of Colorado Springs. In 2022, ColoradoBiz magazine recognized Caliola as one of the Top 200 Private Companies and one of the Top 100 WomenOwned Companies in Colorado.

“Throughout my career I have watched other leaders set a clear direction, communicate effectively, and act with integrity and openness,” Halford said. “As I grow as a leader and as our company grows, I want to create an honest culture that values each employee by setting expectations and driving results, which allows for trust, respect, and overall performance excellence.”

Halford spoke on a CEO panel at the Colorado Springs Chamber and Economic Development Corporation’s Defense Development Roundup and was the presenting sponsor of the inaugural Space Force Ball. In 2021, Caliola’s OverKey technology was a winner at the inaugural Space Force Pitch Day and the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center Pitch Day, raising $3.4 million in 48 hours. In 2022, Caliola was a winner at the U.S Air Force Armament’s Weapons Pitch Day.

Presented by:

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Jennifer is filled with passion and willing to make bold moves. For the first 40 years of her life, she lived in the beautiful beach cities of southern California. This California girl and her dedicated husband and Chief Scientist Dr. Tom Halford packed up made the bold move to pack up their home and head to Colorado. They began the 1,000+ mile trip with their three young kids ages 1, 3, and 5. They split the kids in two cars, driving side by side, and made multiple pit stops before they arrived just in time for the first day of Kindergarten.


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