Co-founder Brian Elrod speaks with the Times Free Press at the Text Request office on Monday, June 4, 2018 in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Text Request, a Chattanooga-based software company that aids other businesses to target and use text messages, said Wednesday it has doubled its revenue and more than tripled its employee headcount since the close of 2018, all without any outside investment.

Since late 2018, Text Request has added 16 new employees and also doubled its annual recurring revenue (ARR) from $1 million to $2 million this year.

The company, which offers text messaging software (SaaS) for businesses and other organizations across the U.S. and Canada, expects to see even higher growth rates in 2020 and beyond.

"Our company was powered by just six employees for most of 2018 which is a testament to our team's collaborative, production-oriented ethos," said Brian Elrod, the company co-founder and CEO, ".We've done something only a fraction of a percent of tech startups ever do. And the talent we've recruited in Chattanooga to double our staff in 2019 is world-class."

Text Request, co-founder and chief technology officer Rob Reagan said the 5-year-old company is poised to more rapid growth.

"We've experienced positive traction, and we're on par or better than our competitive peers in the industry who've raised upwards of $100 million in funding," he said.


Ohio Transmission Corporation buys IDG Compressor

Ohio Transmission Corporation (OTC), an industrial equipment service provider and distributor headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, has purchased IDG Compressor, which operates facilities in Chattanooga, Knoxville and Nashville.

Terms of the purchase were not announced, but the company said IDG Compressor will become a division of Air Technologies, which pioneered DirectAIR, the fourth-utility concept of compressed air and is the largest independent compressor distributor in North America.

"IDG is an outstanding addition to the Air Technologies and OTC family," said Philip Derrow, president and CEO of Ohio Transmission Corporation. "The associates of IDG are committed to continuing to build the presence of the Quincy brand throughout their markets and Quincy is an important partner for OTC. "

IDG is a full-service distributor of Quincy Compressor products and repair services and has served the Tennessee and surrounding markets for several decades. Until this acquisition, IDG Compressor had been a part of what is now the Sonepar/Vallen Distribution network since 2001.

IDG Compressor will continue to operate under the same name and with current local management, including Tim Huber, region manager, to lead the team.


Clean Sweep among five 'green fleets'

Clean Sweep, Inc, which uses a fleet of propane-powered street sweepers in Chattanooga, became the first fleet in Chattanooga to become TNGreenFleets certified last week by Tennessee Clean Fuels.

Started in 1984, Clean Sweep provides street sweeping services in Tennessee and Georgia for parking lots and other paved facilities. The Chattanooga firm was among five new fleets recognized for their emission reductions via the "Tennessee Green Fleets" Certification Program. Other fleets included the BNA bus and shuttle operations fleet managed by ABM Aviation at the Nashville airport, Oak Ridge National Lab's (ORNL) fleet in Oak Ridge, Waste Management's compressed natural gas fleet operating out of Jackson, Tenn., and the Tennessee State Parks' fleet of electric golf carts across the state at state golf course.

The fleets were recognized at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville during the fifth annual Sustainable Transportation Forum & Expo, which is managed by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) and TNCleanFuels.


Echelon Fitness forms partnership with Villency Design Group

Echelon Fitness has formed a partnership with Eric Villency, who the company called a visionary who has been disrupting the fitness industry through design.

Echelon said Villency and The Villency Design Group are best known for creating the high-tech stationary bicycles that propelled many to fitness fame. Villency has chosen Echelon to assist in the design and development of future indoor fitness equipment and delivering an extraordinary user interface experience, the company said.

"This partnership with Villency represents a tremendous opportunity for Echelon," said Lou Lentine, president of Echelon Fitness Multimedia LLC.

Villency Design Group has produced and developed designs for SoulCycle, Peloton, New York FashionWeek, Mercedes-Benz, Delta, The Ritz-Carlton, ebay, Bloomingdale's, Rumble and Rockstar Energy Drink, according to Echelon.

Additionally, Echelon has licensed an Interactive Fitness patent from the VR Optics LLC., a company co-owned and controlled by Villency.

"Echelon's success has been driven by providing a great fitness experience at tremendous value and we believe that good design isn't determined by price and it doesn't have to be expensive," said Villency, CEO of Villency Design Group.


American Airlines delays return of Boeing 737 Max planes

American Airlines is pushing back the expected return of its Boeing 737 Max jets into next year and says the grounding of the planes cut its third-quarter pretax income by $140 million.

The airline said Wednesday that it expects to slowly bring the plane back into its schedule starting Jan. 16. That is six weeks later than American planned just last month , and the sixth time the airline has pushed back the plane's return.

American said it will drop about 140 flights per day until mid-January because of the grounding.

American has 24 Max jets in storage and expected to have 40 by the end of the year. American has about 950 jets, not counting smaller American Eagle planes.

The Max was grounded worldwide after two crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people. Boeing is working on changes to flight-control software and computers.


Camera problems brings BMW recall

BMW is recalling more than 257,000 vehicles in the U.S. because drivers might not be able to see the backup camera display.

The recall covers certain 3-Series, 5-series, 6-Series, 7-Series and 8-Series cars as well as certain X3, X4, X5 and X7 SUVs from the 2018 to 2020 model years. Also included are Z4 sports cars and the Rolls-Royce Cullinan and Phantom.

The company says in documents posted Wednesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the camera and display settings can be adjusted so the display isn't visible, and the system will keep that setting the next time the vehicles are shifted into reverse. That violates federal safety standards.

Owners will be notified and dealers will update backup camera software. The recall is expected to begin Nov. 19.