Southfork Engineering Office

Every time we have the opportunity to meet with clients, one of the first questions they ask is, "What is the Sparx story?" We enjoy answering that question, because we are able to pepper in plenty of startup clichés with straight faces. The fact is, as of early 2009, we really were just a few guys working out of a poorly air-conditioned garage (albeit a storage company’s office/garage combo) near Johnson Space Center. We had come from another startup where we honed our skills on how to operate with a tiny budget and little management support. As a result, we learned valuable lessons about what not to do in business. With backgrounds ranging from Space Medicine, eBay, Oil Field Services, and Electronics Manufacturing, we decided that there might actually be a market for our collective expertise. So we leapt at the chance to try this entrepreneur thing on our own and see if people would hire us for innovative engineering design and product development.

Garage Company

We started off with one client – a client we’re happy to report is still with us today. Our first project was designing a military life support device, and we quickly outgrew the garage. While leaving Sparx Private Mini-Storage World Headquarters was tough, we knew we had to branch out and find a place that we could thrive (i.e., fit our stuff). Naturally, we found a one-bedroom apartment up the street. With air mattresses in tow, the one-bedroom apartment served as our home until we decided that we should probably upgrade to a two-bedroom version. Once we settled into the more modern and spacious two-bedroom with upgraded kitchen countertops, everything really began to click.

By October 2009, we decided to move into a real office and stop sharing space with boxes and bubble wrap. We also thought that having a place to set up an actual engineering lab and show our expertise would better serve the company. Fortunately, we found a great deal on an office building in Pearland and officially hired our first employees.

2010 was a banner year for us as we doubled our team, designed and built more than 25 circuit boards in 9 months, developed FDA pedigree software, earned several new clients, and created a company website. As employees came on and our customer base increased and diversified, it became clear to us that we should find a permanent home for Sparx. In early 2011, we decided to take another big step and purchased our current office, Southfork – yes, it actually is a replica of the infamous Southfork ranch house from the TV classic Dallas. Now, we are able to serve our employees and customer better than ever.

If you have an idea that you would like to discuss, a technical problem in need of a solution, or if you just want to see what kind of operation we have down here, please contact us.


David Headley, P.E.

Owner / Engineer

David graduated from Texas Tech University in 2002 with degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Born and raised in Houston and Corpus Christi, Texas, David was exposed to Oil & Gas Drafting by his father. Having learned mechanical drafting and AutoCAD at a young age, David spent much of his high school and early college years working on drafting projects at various refineries around South Texas.


While working for Fluid Systems, Inc. until 2004, he added to his versatility by building his skills in IT infrastructure, drafting, software development and electronic design. David then fulfilled a life-long dream of working for a NASA contractor while part of the Space Medicine Advanced Projects group, eventually becoming Electrical Engineering Lead for that team. With the entrepreneur itch taking hold, David left NASA in 2006 to join Rick Pettys in founding a local startup (eventually leaving to push Sparx Engineering to the forefront in 2009). David brings his versatile engineering skill set and leadership to Sparx projects, managing client relationships, and serving as the technical direction of our projects. He is married with twin daughters.
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Paul Hoopingarner

Owner / Business Manager

Paul grew up in an oilfield family, which provided him the opportunity to live internationally for most of his youth. During those years, Paul was active in sports and Boy Scouts and traveled extensively. After earning a business degree from Texas A&M University in 2000, Paul moved to Houston and took a job with a start-up custom cable manufacturer. During his time at Assembletech, Paul managed the global supply chain of server cables for Dell Computer in locations around the world (China, Malaysia, Ireland and Austin), generating over $40 million in revenue for the company in 2001.


Paul went back to Texas A&M University to get his MBA and in 2004 joined an electronics contract manufacturer as Program Manager. While at Suntron, Paul managed the company’s largest account and successfully delivered on over $45 million worth of electronic voting machines throughout Texas and the country – all in just 9 months. With a brief stop at another contract manufacturer, Paul left to join a start-up field diagnostics company in the role of Operations and Sales. In 2009, Paul teamed up with the other founders to launch Sparx Engineering. With a background in business and manufacturing, Paul’s responsibilities include operating the company, finance, and business development. Paul is also involved with the supply chain/manufacturing side of projects for Sparx. Paul has three sons with his wife Shannon.
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Richard L. Pettys, P.E.

Owner / Engineer

Rick received his Bachelors in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University in 1998. Upon graduation, Rick moved to Houston and joined the space medicine team at Wyle Laboratories, a medical systems contractor for NASA, Johnson Space Center. During his time there, he led a team of engineers developing medical systems for the International Space Station, yet Rick felt there was a greater business opportunity to commercialize the ‘rocket scientist’ culture. In 2001, he started Sparx as a moonlighting venture offering consulting engineering services to local biotech companies.


In 2006, he left Wyle to pursue a product development opportunity with a start-up field diagnostics company as the head of their engineering team, but continued to operate Sparx on the side. In 2009, he and the other founders left to pursue Sparx Engineering as a full time venture. Rick is licensed by the Texas Board of Professional Engineers since 2003 to offer engineering services to the public (PE # 91943). As an experienced circuit board designer, Rick plays an important role in technical leadership and design for Sparx projects. In addition, he is actively engaged in business development efforts at Sparx. Rick and his wife Marianne have four children: three sons and a daughter.
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David Smoot, P.E.: Software Engineer with expertise in Embedded Design

Danny Nichols, P.E.: Electrical Engineer with expertise in Board Design and System Test

Joel Henry, P.E.: Mechanical/Software Engineer with expertise in System Design

Rob Hanes, Ph.D.: Director, Chemical Products and Services

Ben Voigt, Ph.D., P.E.: Electrical/Software Engineer with expertise in Embedded Design

Brad Johnson: Software Engineer with expertise in Desktop/UI Design

Mark Volpe: Operations and project management

Dax Fohl: Software Engineer with expertise in Software Systems Architecture

Rizwan Ajaz: Software Engineer with expertise in Desktop, Mobile and Embedded Design

David Chesney, P.E.: Electrical Engineer with expertise in Board Design and System Test

Dustin Reynolds, P.E.: Electrical/Software Engineer with expertise in Embedded Design

Bruce Schroeder: Mechanical Engineer with expertise in Mechanical Design

Allen Gregory: Mechanical/Software Engineer with expertise in Human Interface Design

Jordan Harper: Electrical Engineer with expertise in Board Design and System Integration

Meredith Tucker: Industrial Designer with expertise in product conceptual design, UX, and media creation

Roma Montifar: Mechanical Engineer with expertise in Mechanical Design

Adam Hachey: Mechanical Engineer with expertise in Mechanical Design

Shannon Hoopingarner: Accounting and finance

Chase Cromartie: Technician

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