History of ARA
In the late-1970s, Neil Higgins and the late Harry Auld had been working on and off together for about 15 years in government and industry when they decided to make a major change. Harry and Neil believed they could be successful on their own and it was time to take a leap of faith. So with just several thousand dollars between them, an agreement to forgo salaries until their new venture was stable, and a coin toss to determine the name — Higgins, Auld and Associates was open for business.
It did not matter that their small office in Albuquerque was furnished with green shag carpet, brick-and-board bookcases, and GI surplus metal desks, or that the only assistant they could afford to hire was Harry’s wife Jo Ann. They were excited about the work they were doing, their independence was fiercely important, they often went above and beyond to serve clients, and they did it all with a focus on growing their business.
The Air Force soon hired HA&A to simulate and analyze ground motion from nuclear weapons explosions and when other government contracts followed, Harry and Neil were able to start paying themselves and knew expansion was key to their continued success. It was around that same time Jimmie Bratton, another former colleague of Harry and Neil, had recently returned to Albuquerque and was intrigued enough with the potential of HA&A that Jimmie sold what he could, bought a third interest in the company, and joined them. Next, Higgins, Auld and Bratton Inc. reached across the country and acquired a small office in Vermont from a large science and engineering firm.
With the first acquisition complete, the founders decided it was time to change the name again, and Applied Research Associates was off and growing. Jimmie remembers the main reason he left government research for ARA, “to create an environment where people could do the kind of engineering and research that they wanted to do — make it a fun place to work — and so that continues today to be a fundamental objective at ARA.”Today ARA is an internationally recognized employee-
owned research and engineering firm. ARA provides superior technical services and products to our customers, meeting significant national challenges by creatively applying technology to solve critical problems. The corporate culture remains strongly rooted in our history and purpose with an outstanding commitment to quality, employee empowerment, and its inherent strengths of flexibility in the changing environment.
ARA is focused on providing a work environment that challenges and rewards our efforts, providing opportunities for us to grow, and allowing us to pursue work we are passionate about. As CEO and President Rob Sues explains "Neil and Jimmie founded ARA with a set of core values that remain critical to our ongoing success. Their vision resulted in a company that we can all be proud to be a part of, and under their leadership, thousands of employees have had the opportunity to contribute to ARA's many achievements. All of us at ARA owe them a debt of thanks for providing a place where we can pursue work we are passionate about."