#16: Innovative Software Engineering

84.5% growth

City: Coralville

Founded: 2002


2nd time on the list


Hass Machlab started Innovative Software Engineering (ISE) in 2002 in the basement of his house.

Now, the company has grown from eight employees to 47 and two years ago moved into a new office building in Coralville.

This is ISE’s second time on the Fastest Growing Companies list. The company reported 84.5 percent growth.

“Fundamentally, our growth has been having the right people. Our staff is incredibly talented and committed to our customers,” said Mr. Machlab, founder, president and CEO of ISE.

ISE is a software development and systems integration firm that provides business strategy, program management, systems engineering, software development and quality assurance services. ISE specializes in developing telematics solutions, enterprise mobility applications and custom software.

ISE serves companies in industries such as construction, transportation, health, informatics and technology.

“The real fuel to get all of this going is to have the right engineering team so that interaction with clients is a good one,” he said. “We’re building trust with them and providing them with the highest value.”

About 95 percent of the employees hold electrical engineering or computer science degrees. One third of ISE employees have master’s degrees and about half are University of Iowa graduates, Mr. Machlab said.

The company’s culture has helped retain and encourage employees. They have a flexible work environment, consider every employee’s input, offer career growth activities, have a company softball team and have a ping pong table in the office.

In response to the rapid growth, ISE has established a five-year strategic plan, which includes the addition of a vice president of business development and a director of human resources. The company’s two pillars are having a focus on customers and services, and people and capabilities, he said.

Before starting ISE, Mr. Machlab was the vice president of engineering of NEXIQ Technologies in 2001. From 1998 to 2001, he served as the vice president of engineering for Diversified Software Industries, Inc. He also worked for Rockwell Collins and worked on projects for NASA.

“I’ve always wanted to start a company where we did engineering services or had an engineering product and I had the opportunity to get it started,” he said.

-Pat Shaver