IB3 Global Solutions another largely unknown but important Oak Ridge-headquartered security business

IB3 Global Solutions is one of those Oak Ridge businesses with an unfamiliar name, but the work that its 70-person team does across the globe is critically important to our national health and security.

Founded by Jake Livesay in 2012 as Mason Livesay Scientific, the company was a very small business that was selling time of a few individuals in its early years. Livesay, who serves as IB3’s Chief Technical Officer, had been a researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory before founding the start-up.

Today, IB3 is a woman-owned company led by Sharon Gleason, President and Chief Executive Officer, with a significant presence in Oak Ridge. The focus continues to be on the provision of high-quality services and solutions that reduce threats across the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) spectrum. The result is a more safe and secure world for everyone.

“We relocated all of our back-office operations to East Tennessee about 20 months ago,” Sean Gleason told us during a face-to-face interview before the COVID-19 pandemic fully impacted the country. He is married to Sharon and also serves as IB3’s Chief Operating Officer. Livesay is the company’s Co-Owner.

Prior to moving here, they lived in Washington, DC where Sean noted that the “purse strings” for their core government clients are. “Our relocation was a quality of life decision for back office employees,” he explained, adding that other factors played a role. They included tax incentives, more competitive overhead rates, and the region’s strong technical base.

“Most of our employees operate internationally on temporary duty supporting the U.S. federal government,” Sean says. At the time of the interview, IB3 had technical personnel who had traveled to more than 35 countries in execution of their diverse missions such as remediation work that was underway in territories formerly controlled by ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) or building partner-nation capacity around the Pacific Rim.

Since we heard about IB3 at a meeting of the East Tennessee Economic Council, we wanted to learn more about the enterprise. Gleason ticked-off a list of services the company provides. They include testing and evaluation, nuclear security operations, non/counter-proliferation, CBRN training, live contamination training, and material recovery missions.

Our interview occurred in the company’s office at 97 Midway Lane office which houses IB3’s 2,500 square foot lab where it provides cost-effective and accurate Rad/Nuc (radiological and nuclear) testing in a rigidly standards-based environment.

“We have all the capabilities clients need,” Sean said, citing everything from helping companies test and fine-tune algorithms on new prototype instruments to being able to perform qualitative and quantitative analysis of complex radiological and nuclear samples, both in bulk and as traces.

The company has been doubling in size in recent years, and two other growth areas are training and modeling, simulation and evaluation.

“We are the only woman-owned small business licensed to conduct live contamination training in the State of Tennessee,” Sean says, adding that the combination of our scientific capability, NRC regulated radioactive source program, and testing & evaluation infrastructure is a key offering in Rad/Nuc domain.”

Looking to the future, the executive team is focused on diversifying its dependence on government that currently accounts for between 85 and 90 percent of IB3’s revenues. “Our goal is to have 30 percent of our revenues from commercial clients,” Sean says. Much of that new business will likely come in the testing and evaluation areas.

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