BTS: A getaway on the house

Sean Lane, founder of local technology firm BTS, doesn’t care that most other companies its size don’t provide full health benefits for employees and their dependents, including domestic partners.

Nor do they hold once-a-week catered lunches for their staff. Or practically demand workers take a break at the company-owned condominium in Florida, with the firm kicking in $250 in mad money.

BTS does all of the above.

“We encourage people to take vacation time,” said Lane, 31, who in 2008 founded the Columbia-based firm, which now has three affiliate companies.

The private firm’s job is managing cellular networks on the battlefield — in Afghanistan and elsewhere — to get soldiers the information they need, when they need it.

Speaking from a sunny, brick-walled space in Baltimore’s Locust Point neighborhood that was being renovated to house affiliate BTS Software Solutions, Lane summed up his business philosophy: “We do things like no one else because we have people like no one else.”

BTS takes care of its people. The Columbia office has an on-site gym and a cafe serving healthful, company-paid-for meals. The Locust Point space will have a Ping-Pong table and catered lunches.

But amenities alone don’t explain why BTS landed atop The Baltimore Sun’s Top 75 Workplaces list in its category. Lane’s experience and vision — and his open approach to hiring — contribute to the company’s cachet among its workers.

Lane grew up in Ohio, majored in political science at Miami University of Ohio and then joined the Air Force, where he learned about technology through his work in intelligence.

When his stint was up, he set to work inventing software called Praefectus, which is now owned by the U.S. government and used to manage cellular networks on the battlefield.

Lane says he hires people who are energetic and passionate about BTS’ work, even if they lack fancy degrees or a resume showing relevant experience.

“Nobody tells me what the minimum requirement is for any position,” Lane said, meaning he calls the hiring shots.

New hires are given an iPad and any other technologies they need and are encouraged to ask questions — and to make suggestions.

“There is no idea that we don’t entertain,” Lane said.

BTS offers employees full tuition reimbursement, part of its commitment to helping staffers reach their potential, Lane said, adding that the company also promotes from within when possible.

Employees taking part in the WorkplaceDynamics survey praised the challenges of their jobs, the firm’s leadership and the importance of what BTS does.

“BTS offers its employees the opportunity to engage in meaningful work utilizing cutting edge technology,” wrote an employee.

Said another: “You never know what new exciting product is just around the corner and you never know when the executive team is going to make some tweak within the company to increase productivity and further focus everyone toward accomplishing our mission, either short term or long term.”

The reviews should please Lane, whose goal, he said, is for BTS to be “the best place you’ve ever worked.”


Founded: 2008

Ownership: Private

Sector: Technology/wireless communications

Locations: 4

Employees: 73


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