BRIAN PHILLIPS FIRST HEARD OF "hanging chads" the day after the 2000 presidential election when Florida's shaky vote count would not only make history but forever change the way votes are counted in the Sunshine State and across the nation.
Phillips is founder, managing partner and president of Denver based SysTest Labs, a technology firm that since 1996 has been doing systems testing for complex e-business sites to ensure software applications operate correctly and can handle thousands of Internet users at one time.
Such giants as the Canadian Broadcasting Co., Intel Corp., MCI Worldwide Qwest, Charles Schwab, IBM, Coors Brewing Co., and Janus funds are among 450 clients SysTest has served around the world.
But the biggest potential for SysTest Labs' growth, says Phillips, lies with the nation's need for more accurate voting systems.
"Even before Florida. the Federal Election Commission was pushing states to upgrade their systems," said Phillips, a former engineering consultant. "We spent months going through an extensive process to become one of only two U.S. companies certified by the National Association of State Elections to test elections systems and software. The certification will mean a lot of REPs (requests for proposals) as states work to ensure their systems are one person, one vote. You could call us the guardians of the vote."
That makes Phillips a patriot of sorts, but then, his childhood and career path as an aerospace engineer have always shown threads of patriotism.
"I grew up in the space age scene. My dad worked on the Gemini and Apollo projects, and as a kid I watched their launches from Cape Caraveral," said Phillips. "And I've never lost that sense of wanting to be...