Powered up: Oldham County computer-repair company keeps military systems running

Article by John R. Karman III  –  Reporter, Louisville Business First
Read at bizjournals.com

A small Oldham County computer-repair company tucked away in a nondescript office building in Prospect is providing critical technical support for military services and defense contractors.

Artemis Electronics LLC, founded by Dean Dickinson in 2005, specializes in the maintenance, repair and overhaul of aging electronic systems in military aircraft and other equipment. The company, which has 15 employees, also manufactures and overhauls circuit boards, and it composes technical manuals and creates schematic diagrams to aid in the repair of component-level electronics.

In addition, Artemis designs and builds custom test sets, which are a combination of instruments necessary for servicing a particular type of electronic equipment.

The company serves the U.S. Navy, Air Force and Marines and several foreign militaries through contracts with U.S. military services, according to Dickinson. It also does work for contractors such as Raytheon Co. and Boeing Co.

Niche is fixing equipment no longer serviced by manufacturer

Dickinson, who is Artemis’ CEO and sole owner, declined to provide revenue figures but said the company’s sales volume has grown by more than 600 percent since it was founded.

It is No. 1,987 on this year’s Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States.

One of the biggest keys to Artemis’ success is that the company often can repair systems that are deemed too expensive to fix or that no longer are serviced by the original equipment manufacturer.

Finding a qualified company that makes computer repairs at an acceptable price is “a big problem for the military,” Dickinson said. “They’re not buying new equipment. They’re replacing old stuff.”

Plain-looking building houses one-of-a-kind data

Artemis is the fifth startup venture for Dickinson, a tech whiz who has been building computers from components since he was 15.

The business, located at 13400 W. U.S. 42, operates from a 28,000-square-foot facility with little signage and few markings. Dickinson bought the building in 2009.

Artemis’ data vault contains intellectual property not found anywhere else in the world, he said. It includes 160 test sets and more than 10,000 drawings of Raytheon systems alone.

Business development is biggest challenge

The Artemis staff is made up of 10 technicians and engineers and five administrative and salespeople. All of its work is classified.

The biggest challenge for Artemis, Dickinson said, is business development. He credits Chris Dunn, the company’s business development director, and Andrew Kupersmith, its director of sales and marketing, with helping the company grow.

“It takes a while” to get a military contract, Dickinson said. “That first government deal is hard to get. But once you start getting them, they start talking to each other.”

Meet Dean Dickinson

Dean Dickinson is the 48-year-old owner and founder of Artemis Electronics LLC.

The company, which does computer-repair work for military services, is the fifth startup for the Prospect resident, an Ohio State University dropout who has been fascinated by electronics since he was a boy.

In his spare time, Dickinson likes to fly airplanes. (He owns one.) He also plays guitar and piano.

And he’s interested in philanthropy. For the past four years, he’s paid for some children in India to attend private schools there.

Dickinson describes running Artemis as his dream job.

His favorite part of the work is reviewing technical data packages and updating them — a crucial part of his company’s mission. He also enjoys managing his staff and meeting with customers.

“I was born to do this,” Dickinson said. “It touches all the things I love to do.”