CymStar LLC may be fairly new on the aerospace simulator scene, but it draws from a long history of the industry in Tulsa.
With a staff of mostly engineers and program managers, CymStar operates out of 4,000 SF of offices in the 4500 Exchange Tower at 4500 S. Garnett Road.
Started in July 2003, CymStar specializes in training device modifications and upgrades, a niche service that reflects the history of its president, Alex Nick.
Nick has been a part of the Tulsa flight simulator scene since 1976, when he worked for Atkins & Merrill, which eventually became Broken Arrow-based FlightSafety International Systems Simulation Division.
He left in 1978 to work for the U.S. Air Force and returned in 1981 to join Burtek Inc. as engineering supervisor, becoming director of engineering after Burtek became Thomson Training & Simulation Inc. In 1995, Nick, who was thinking of starting his own business, was persuaded by Thompson to start up a new business unit in Tulsa as Thomson was preparing to close down its operations here.
“We ended up winning a large contract with FlightSafety out of Colorado to do a simulator modification for them,” Nick said. “We started with three people, all engineers, zero revenues and we built that up to 65 people and $22 million in revenues at the time I left about three years ago.”
Nick started out as director of the Tulsa business unit, which became Thales Training & Simulation Inc. He was president and CEO when he left to start CymStar.
This time, Nick “started with zero employees and zero revenues.”
“Presently we have a staff of 17 people, and last year we had orders of about $3.5 million,” he said.
Nick said CymStar works with a number of companies, including FlightSafety International, but that its primary client has been the U.S. Air Force.
“We have several significant contracts directly with the government,” he said.
Although the company does hardware and software modifications, “the greater emphasis is on the software side,” Nick said.
“We are more interested in digging into what was there and determining what needs to be changed,” he said. “What we are able to do, is to go in like a surgeon, sort of, determine what needs to be done, excise those things that need to be removed, install those things that need to be installed, and get it all to come back up and play together. So we dig into other people’s design, which is a different kind of knack.” ?