Arthur Hurtado

Faith in Action

Night had not yet given way to dawn as Art Hurtado climbed up the ramp to board the silver bird bound for Vietnam and the war that awaited 10,000 miles away.  A chill ran through his body from the cold night air or maybe it was the thought of what lay ahead in the foreboding jungles halfway around the world.

The weight of his pack cut into his shoulder.  He comforted himself knowing that in that pack were two books. One he had carried with him for many years – his Bible, a treasured companion with notes overflowing around the edges of each page and many words underlined.  To him, that book was a constant reminder of God’s divine viewpoint and the plan for his life.

The other was “A Tear and a Smile” by Kahlil Gibran – a book of poetry and musings about life and love.

As the silver bird flew silently through the night, Art sat quietly reading his most favorite passage, Psalms 91.  In his mind words to a poetic message began to form – a message he scribbled to himself on the flyleaf of “A Tear and a Smile”. Art made a commitment to himself, a promise and a conviction that he would return. That conviction carried him through the many nights spent under attack, but it was one night in particular that Art recalls quite clearly.

“I remember the night that I was wounded in combat, when the message that I wrote on my way to Vietnam flashed across my eyes. An instant later I felt an inner assurance and peace that it was, in fact, true. That I would be okay and that I would return home.”

That inner peace and knowing is something that Art is very familiar with from his youth, growing up with missionary parents. Born in Taos, New Mexico to a Bolivian immigrant father who had been a Jesuit priest and a Protestant mother of Swedish ancestry who had earlier established a mission school in Bolivia, Art learned religion and theology at the feet of his devoted parents.

“My mother was just an incredible woman of faith. I saw her put more meals on the table, and more clothes on my back from I don’t know where. She had a strong gift of faith and she just had a strong sense of God’s provision. My father brought the practical side of life to us and taught us more of ‘the ropes’ and the things to look out for.”

After his parent relocated to Taos, New Mexico, where they not only built a family, but also built and pastored the local Southern Baptist church, Art recalls the hardships of growing up poor in a new and burgeoning land.

“Some really great things happened while I was growing up, but that was amidst the terrible cold and lots of poverty and living out of missionary barrels and cutting up pieces of leather to put inside my shoes so the snow wouldn’t come through the holes; maybe getting one new pair of shoes a year. It was hard.”

Today, Art is the Co-Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Invertix Corporation. Founded in 1999, Invertix began with the goal to develop quality of service telecommunications tools. Its business model was to build innovative technologies targeted toward the commercial wireless carriers and then convert them to companies that could be sold in the wireless marketplace. Art and his partner raised $15 million from investors and private sources to get their business started.

“My first partner and I would meet at a small restaurant in the city of Vienna, and we would plan out how we were going to form the business. After two years, once we had raised enough capital, we broke open a little champagne and celebrated – but we were absolutely terrified.”

The first company that Invertix created was Re-route, based on an email forwarding technology they developed. They sold Re-route and then began working with quality of voice tools and instant messaging technologies.

Invertix was doing well when suddenly the wireless market crashed and the “dot-com” boom burst. In an instant Art and his partner found themselves without revenue and without a way to repay their investors.

“And so we were faced with the collapse of the company or the need to do something else with it. I came up with a new business model to transition from the commercial wireless world to the government sector, but when I approached our investors to put more money into the new venture, it was too risky for them. We had to close down 13 locations and I’ll never forget when I had to let go of 40 people in one day. I talked to every single last one of them myself. It was one of the hardest days of my life.”

Art lost his partner and many of his investors, but he didn’t lose his conviction; keeping the business afloat while trying to find ways to utilize the technology that they had to best serve the government.

Then the September 11th attacks occurred and Invertix found themselves with essential technology for the new protective measures the government was undertaking. Invertix won their first government contract and almost overnight the company went from not turning a profit to breaking even.

Though the going was rough, Art’s dedication to keeping the business open has been motivated by his strong ethics and value system and his commitment to not only succeeding, but to also reward his investors for sticking with him through thick and thin.

“As for our shareholders, we hope that one day in the end we will be able to thank them monetarily. And that’s one of the reasons we wanted to keep the company going. It would have been so easy to shut the doors. All the right reasons for closing the company were there but I felt like I was really going to be letting down some wonderful shareholders, my new partner and CFO, Bryan Judd, the handful of four or five others, including my incredible and faithful executive assistant of many years, Gail Stamm, all who really believed we could turn this around and mostly I was going to let down myself and my family. So, Bryan and I teamed together on a management buyout. A short time later we asked Craig Parisot to join us as a partner and our COO. He was followed by Dr. Dan Law our Chief Scientist who has masterminded our technology roadmap.  We never looked back.”

Today, Invertix provides technology and services for the government sector including the areas of advanced analytics, mobility messaging platforms, big data and cloud-based technologies. A far cry from the days when he could have easily shut the doors, now Invertix is a contender in the global arena, living up to their vision of engineering national security.

Art’s love of engineering and all things creative and innovative first began while watching his father fix radios and other electronics and creating small toys to make money to support the family. When he graduated from high school, Art went to college continuing his studies in the sciences, while also continuing on his spiritual path.

“I supported myself through a number of my college years, by preaching at a migrant cotton workers church in Sweetwater, Texas. Then later, when I moved to Missouri (to continue my studies), I had many engagements in local outlying churches where I substituted in the pulpit for pastors that needed to be other places. But it was never my intent to leave college and go into the ministry, it was my intent to leave and go into the military – that was really my desire. I felt like that was where God wanted me, He wanted me to take whatever spiritual underpinnings that I had and go into the military and learn something about life.”

After graduating as a distinguished military graduate, Art received a U.S. Army commission in the Infantry and was shortly deployed to the Vietnam War with the 173rd Airborne Brigade. Some years later, after that fateful night, Art, since assigned to Military Intelligence, was sent by the Army to pursue an advanced degree in electrical engineering. It was there that he realized just how much he loved the creative aspects of engineering. It was then that Art decided that he would one day start his own company after he retired from the military.

That day did not come quickly, as Art served for 26 years, with honor and distinction, before he retired from the military. After retirement, Art decided to work for another company before starting his own, in order to gain the much needed skills to run a business. First hired by a high-tech research and development consortium to address the next big threat in the computing world, Art was then invited to come back to Virginia to join CACI to help build their telecommunications practice. Once he had gained the knowledge and skills that he needed to start and run his own company, Art co-founded Invertix.

“The reason that I didn’t start my company right away is because I had seen a number of people try that and I watched their demise almost immediately. I thought to myself that they really didn’t understand how industry worked and how business worked and they tried to succeed by a sheer force of will, without the necessary tools to be successful. I decided that I would do it differently. And so for four and a half years I worked for others and learned a lot. I got to build some business and learned how to hire, how to manage profit and loss, I got to sit in a board room and have to account for my numbers, all of the things that business is about.”

Art approaches all aspects of his life like he started his business, with planning and foresight. Early on in his adult years, Art created a plan for his life that encompassed three phases: first serving the country in a military career, then starting and running his own business, and finally returning to his original passion of theological study and teaching. Eventually, Art would like to translate English theological texts into Spanish to help fill the gap in the scarcity of those texts for native Spanish seminaries, pastors and teachers.

When asked what he does in his free time, Art, an avid sailor and racer, explains his favorite pastime.

“I spend as much time as possible with my family on our sailboat, named Xaris (grace), out on the Chesapeake Bay.”

A natural leader and motivator of young people, Art and his wife, Dianna, have a passion for higher education. Serving on the Board of Visitors and Advisors and having created numerous scholarship opportunities for Virginia Commonwealth University, Missouri State University, and New Mexico State University, Art and his wife love meeting and talking to the students they have helped and hearing their stories.

His advice to those young people is to pursue their dreams, especially if they have an inkling for entrepreneurship, and tempering their passion by gaining real world experience. When discussing leadership and leadership qualities, Art describes it as being almost immeasurable.

“Leadership is an enigma, it’s a mystery; it’s a powerful word until you try to put meaning to it. Management is easy to form metrics, it’s a number. Leadership is about striking out, it’s about vision, it’s about insight, it’s about courage, and it’s about determination.  When you are a leader, you’re trying to compel, to inspire, to align, to draw collaboration, to bring gravity around an idea that will take life. That’s what a leader is.”

Most proud of his wife and the family they have created with his daughter and grandson, Art also speaks of his mother and the determination and hard work ethic that she instilled in him and how it has paid off in his life.

Art reminisces, “I can just hear my mother saying, ‘You never walk alone. You may not have human companionship, but you do have the power of the Spirit of God in your life and so you’re never alone… so go and determine to succeed, go and determine to make it happen’ and I can hear my dad saying, ‘and by the way there are a lot of creative ways to get there…”

With a combination of faith and action and faith in action, Art has taken the advice of both of his parents coupled with his own desire to serve and plotted a course for his life. With his deep roots in theology and an ethical code that steers his course, Art is well on his way to the “phase three” he has so determinedly moved towards his entire life. A celebrated soldier, respected businessman, and a stout believer in the power of education and giving back, conceivably Art Hurtado is already there.

Arthur Hurtado

Gordon J Bernhardt


President and founder of Bernhardt Wealth Management and author of Profiles in Success: Inspiration from Executive Leaders in the Washington D.C. Area. Gordon provides financial planning and wealth management services to affluent individuals, families and business owners throughout the Washington, DC area. Since establishing his firm in 1994, he and his team have been focused on providing high quality service and independent financial advice to help clients make informed decisions about their money.

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