Employee Stories

The following are a few stories of how our employees exemplify the AIS value, Be Transparent.

Sierra Barden


In 2018, Sierra Barden began battling a rare and complicated medical condition after her doctors discovered her body had created a tunnel connecting two organs. Since her diagnosis, she has had countless surgical repairs to try and mend the tunnel, endured several infections and obstacles and has even come close to death twice. Through it all, she has inspired others with her openness during this journey.

“Being open about illness is not easy, but it means the world to me to share whatever wisdom I’ve gained with anyone who could benefit from it,” said Sierra. “The culture at AIS made me feel comfortable enough to share my circumstances with my team without fear of judgement. They even provided me with additional support outside of work, consistently checking in on me to see how I was doing. Being able to openly communicate with my team made it easier for us to collaborate, work around my medical schedule and accomplish our tasks while having little or no impact on the timely completion of our work. Coping through a personal hardship is stressful enough, but it alleviates some of the pressure when you don’t have to be concerned about your position and you know you can be honest about what you’re going through. I’m so grateful to be part of a company that fosters a culture of openness and support.”

Bernie Adorino


This fall, Bernie Adorino hosted his first Lunch & Learn at AIS, aiming to introduce the Business Intelligence Department to employees. Lunch & Learns are voluntary sessions that bring people together from across the company and encourage collaboration and transparency. With this introduction, Bernie was able to increase awareness of his department’s goals and capabilities.

“I was excited to introduce myself and tell employees more about how I can add value to their projects,” said Bernie. “Prior to my first Lunch & Learn, it was my belief that most employees either had a broad idea of what our department does or didn’t know it existed. I was able to explain the additional support that we can provide to impact projects that may have commercial potential, such as our IRaD or SBIR efforts. Since the first session, I’ve hosted a new Lunch & Learn each month to continue sharing all facets of the Business Intelligence Department and how we can create a competitive advantage through market data and analysis. I’m eager to see how the increased awareness of our department will lead to precision in matching AIS capabilities to customer needs.”

Erin Bushinger


When Erin Bushinger began her career at AIS, a department dedicated to communications and marketing did not yet exist at the company. Over her time here, the Corporate Communications Department has grown into a team of six who work diligently to develop both internal and external communications initiatives.

“When I started in 2017, I knew it was going to be an extremely rewarding adventure,” said Erin. “Building a department from scratch was an exciting task and it’s been an honor to help shape the way in which our company communicates internally, while working to enhance and define the AIS brand. Our department functions like an in-house agency; from public relations and advertising to internal communications and design, we are always working to support employees with their projects and goals. A major focus we’ve had is to increase communication across the company to ensure employees are aware of corporate information, changes, news and other important updates. Over our time here, we’ve launched a biweekly email newsletter, a biannual company magazine, an all-new website and intranet, digital signage displays and more. I’m excited to continue to develop new strategies and launch projects that all contribute to a more collaborative and transparent culture.”

Brandon Haines


In 2017, AIS engineers formed the Tech Council to help foster communication and collaboration among the multiple engineering groups at our company. Brandon Haines is currently leading the council, which is focused on initiatives pertaining to technical information flows, research integrity, product quality and cultivating an enjoyable work experience at AIS.

“As we continue to grow, the organic communication that enabled our initial transparency and success as a small company must also grow to meet our current and future needs,” said Brandon. “With so much growth and diversification of technical skills, the Tech Council is the engineering staff’s solution to the active management of our collaboration. The Tech Council also allows us to share lessons learned and brainstorm solutions to other challenges that may impact our ability to deliver research and engineering excellence. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to rapidly shift our practices in unforeseen ways. The Tech Council has been a key collaboration channel for maintaining effective operations through the challenges of a largely distributed workforce. From collaboration tools and onboarding, to technical mentorship and cross-group solutions, the Tech Council helps increase transparency at AIS, ultimately driving the success and alliance of our engineers.”

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