A native of Alabama, Lavon F. Jordan, learned his entrepreneurial lessons from his parents, while working in the family’s general store in rural Alabama. Throughout his adult life he took those basics, and applied them to a career that substantially benefited the national defense, small business, and environmental, educational, and charitable communities across the nation.
Growing up during World War II, Jordan had no expectations that going to college was a given, but he recognized the value of education, and started classes at Jacksonville State College, eventually transferring to Auburn University where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. He honed his skills at Robbins Air Force Base, in the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Missile and Space Intelligence Center in Huntsville, Alabama. He returned to Auburn on scholarship, to earn a master’s degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering in 1969.
Jordan headed west to work for General Research Corp., where his valuable experience working with the military and support contractors set him apart. He was promoted to form a new department, which grew to five offices across the country. Jordan’s entrepreneurial spirit was strong, and could not be denied. In 1985, he founded Frontier Technology, Inc. Financing the venture himself, he looked for work in the area he knew best—the American defense industry. Under his leadership, FTI made significant technical, and programmatic contributions toward maturing technologies, modernizing aging systems, and evaluating cost-effective new candidates. A strong advocate for a standardized defense modernization process, Jordan actively served on two national committees addressing this issue. In 1995, Jordan co-founded the Defense Planning and Analysis Society, which promotes the use of integrated, multilevel planning tools focused on Department of Defense, and aerospace decision-makers’ needs. In addition, he developed new, analytical methodologies for the U. S. Air Force, U.S. Army, as well as joint agencies and offices. It is no surprise that Jordan is recognized in the aerospace community as a pioneer in quantitative planning and systems analysis.
Jordan was active in modifying Frontier’s concentration in the defense sector to one that has more commercial emphasis. Starting in 1998, he successfully led FTI's first acquisition and integration of four new entities: two in defense and two in commercial (software development and software services). He promoted the adaptation of the company’s trademarked NormNet® technology, which aided the military in avoiding complex equipment failures, and enabling condition-based maintenance. In the commercial sector, the system is applied to water purity, pumps, and generators, as well as in the energy sector. It was modified for the national H2O Sentinel program, which provides real-time monitoring technology to detect potential breakdowns, and possible threats to municipal water systems. In the energy arena, the system is applied to electrical power generation, oil drilling, and wind power, and will soon be applied to nuclear power.
But his life was not made up of work alone. Lavon traveled often and enjoyed time with family, especially in Alabama with his children Julie and Terry. His Christian foundation made it important to him to take an active role in generously supporting the educational institutions that provided the foundations for his successful career and life. War Eagle!! Having spent a great deal of his adult life in California, Lavon supported the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara and the Royal Family Kids Camp for abused children. Across the globe, he contributed funds and on-site help to an orphanage for street children in Johannesburg, South Africa. In his “spare time” Lavon was often an elder of churches, and especially helped these, and other nonprofits create long-range plans.
He was inducted into the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame in 2009. Lavon was always in good company, as on the night he was inducted, so were Tim Cook (CEO of Apple) and the Richard Shelby Engineering Center.