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Missouri Innovation is Taking on Time

“When Mission Control announces, ‘T-Minus eight seconds, ’I promise, it’s exactly eight seconds,” John Clark insists.

And Clark should know. After all, his company Masterclock, based in St. Charles, Missouri, developed the timing systems that NASA’s Kennedy Space Center uses when launching a rocket into space — evolving the accuracy that affects everything from daily operations to lift-off countdowns.

“Our niche is time itself,” says Clark, Masterclock’s CEO. “We make precise, synchronized clocks and timing systems for some of the most recognizable firms in the world.”

The high-tech manufacturer in St. Charles has a global — and, thanks to NASA, galactic — reach. Devising systems that are powered by a variety of sources, including GPS, and accurate up to a billionth of a second or better, Masterclock’s work is deployed by broadcasters CBS, NBC and ABC and tech giants Microsoft and IBM, among others. And recently the company expanding into the United Kingdom.

The energetic CEO is bullish on the talent he finds in the St. Louis region, though he hires for tech skills and curiosity, not for specific experience in time devices. “That we can train,” he says.

In St. Louis and St. Charles, Clark’s out-of-town associates have found all the ingredients necessary for a business to thrive. “They are always impressed by our talent pool, capabilities, and, yes, lower costs of living. We should push those things proudly,” Clark says.

For good measure, he ticks off more incentives to encourage growing businesses to take root here. “Central location. Logistics can be 30% cheaper than New York or California. Regulatory hurdles are relatively low, and the community of makers incredibly supportive,” Clark shares.

There’s no reason to be anywhere else, Clark would tell a young tech whiz or inventor who’s trying to decide between starting their business journey in California or St. Louis. “I’d say, what do you want to do: go to other places to be a cog in something? Or come to the St. Louis region and create something?”

You can read more of John Clark’s story at thestl.com.

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