Arion Systems, Inc. was founded in McLean, Virginia in 1985 as an engineering service company directed at the national defense and intelligence markets. Our work in these first years for the U.S. Navy, DARPA, and various Industry Partners had a very strong Marine and Ocean Engineering focus. This work involved, among other things, the acquisition of advanced technology undersea sensor, work, and communications systems.
The end of the Cold War brought significant changes to our industry, and we played a role in helping our customers refocus their missions in a more complex and interesting world. We grew steadily over the decade and achieved important diversification in our customer base within the defense and intelligence sector. We leveraged a corporate competency in optical fiber communications to form the kernel of a growing expertise and business in advanced technology communications systems.
The first decade of the new century brought us new challenges and opportunities in the form of unprecedented growth, more customer diversification, and unanticipated new business directions. All business areas experienced significant growth, led most prominently by our communications sector. Our corporate headquarters moved to Chantilly, Virginia to accommodate the growing staff and the need for laboratory facilities to support our R&D projects. In 2006, in an effort to broaden employee ownership of the Company, we established an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).
With the anticipated contraction of the government market for engineering services, we are investing more resources in the development of business in the commercial sector. We have leveraged and are continuing to leverage our engineering, scientific, and analytical expertise in the development of a commercial business base. Our 100+ employees service the global operations of our customers from our Chantilly, Virginia headquarters and in offices located in Southern Virginia, Colorado, and California.