“When you need help, you don’t need someone telling you what you did wrong. What you need is the right solution… and that is our strength.”

Mission Critical Partners, formerly known as Athena Advanced Networks provides technology services for public safety agencies to support their mission-critical IT infrastructure.

We recognized the need for a specialized IT support company that could work with the software providers, the public safety agencies and the local IT staff to ensure the performance and reliability of their systems and networks. We created Athena to be that company. We understand your need for reliability, performance and security, and we can help you protect and improve your operation.

Like the agencies we serve, our support programs are built on three pillars: Prevention, Detection and Response. Also like the agencies we serve, we pride ourselves on fast, qualitative response, 24/7. When you need help, you don’t need someone telling you what you did wrong. What you need is the right solution… and that is our strength.

Many of the agencies we support came to us because their system had crashed and they needed help – immediately! Once they understood our support programs they employed our services and have been with us ever since. Most of the agencies we support have very capable IT personnel and they realize that we are that extra, and many times, critical level of support needed to prevent a disaster.

Athena helps you mitigate risk and maximize return on your IT infrastructure investment. Our goal is to improve your bottom line however you measure it: uptime, improved services or peace of mind.

Staying abreast of the rapidly developing world of Public Safety information systems and networks is costly and difficult. Having the right resources – including a backup – are essential. Everyone can use help, and Mission Critical Partners is there to provide that help.

Bruce Kelling
Chairman of the Board
Athena Advanced Networks

MIKE LYONS – Chief Executive Officer: Mike’s background prepares him well for his role as CEO at Athena. Throughout his career, Mike has focused on company operations and building strong teams. With over 20 years of experience working as an industry partner to public safety agencies, Mike has a successful proven history in the industry.

At Printrak International Mike joined the company as the Director of Operations, leaving six years later after a successful buyout by Motorola, as the General Manager of the company’s CAD and RMS division. Following an opportunity to stay in the industry, Mike joined the team at VisionAIR. Over the next 11 years, Mike led the company as CEO and contributed as an industry leader serving on the IJIS Board of Directors.

By combining his leadership experience with team building and a strong operational focus, Mike gets to exercise his passion in an industry with a clear and compelling purpose. Mike lives with his wife, Melissa, in Denver, Colorado, where he enjoys his family, serving in the local community and hiking and fly fishing in the beautiful Rocky Mountains.

DENNIS L. MATZEN – Chief Engineer: Dennis Matzen is the Chief Engineer and one of the initial founders of Athena Advanced Networks, Inc. Dennis has over 35 years in the Public Safety industry.

After serving in the Air Force as a radio technician, Dennis joined the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s office where he began his career as a communications technician. He eventually took on the additional role of manager of the County’s 911 CAD dispatch system. This was his introduction to computer and network systems.

Following his career with the Sheriff’s office, Dennis joined Tiburon, Inc., where he formed the Systems Support Group (SSG) which provided IT infrastructure support for the company’s clients. Dennis has provided system engineering services to hundreds of agencies located in the U.S. and overseas.

In 2010 Dennis teamed up with Bruce Kelling to form Athena Advanced Networks. Dennis continues to build upon his experience at the Sheriff’s office and Tiburon to provide trend-setting managed services, equipment and network deployment, and problem-solving services to Public Safety agencies.

Dennis lives on a small ranch in Southern Oregon with his wife Michele. He enjoys helping friends and neighbors with their technology issues. His diverse interests include rafting on the Rogue River, being a ham radio operator and caring for the family horses.

CHUCK NUZUM – Chief Financial Officer: Chuck has tremendous breadth and depth of experience as a CFO that ranges from private start-ups to large publicly traded companies. His experience includes serving as the CFO of the Tyburn Group, a financial services company, and as the Controller of Dey Pharma, a large pharmaceutical manufacturing subsidiary of Merck.

Prior to that he was Vice President of Finance and Administration at Tiburon, Inc., a leader in public safety and justice information systems. For more than two decades, Chuck was CFO of Loomis Fargo & Co., the well- known provider of ATM systems, armored car and other security services. He also served in other senior executive positions in the U.S. and abroad for Loomis, as well as for SPL Worldgroup and OCS Technologies.

Chuck, a Certified Public Accountant, earned his BA at the University of Washington at Seattle. A U.S. Army Special Forces veteran in Vietnam, he earned the Bronze Star and the Army Commendation Medal. Chuck is the proud father of five children and enjoys time with his seven grandchildren.

MARK MOLONEY – Director of Managed Services: Mark is a West Point graduate with 18 years of IT experience. His focus on customer service combined with the leadership training he received in the military has made him unique in the industry. He has 10 years of experience working on public safety radio networks as a systems administrator and network administrator. He has worked on developing standard product offerings for large companies. He is an expert in Active Directory, SharePoint, backup solutions, network security, and network design. He is a “Jack of All Trades” who can see the big picture and is known for finding better ways of doing things.

Mark and his wife, Kenda, live in Cocoa Beach, Florida. For several years, he lived on a sailboat and he and Kenda still love to go sailing at a moment’s notice.

Athena’s Background

Athena was originally founded by Bruce Kelling and Dennis Matzen. Bruce brought with him many years of experience serving public safety through another company he founded, Tiburon Inc. Dennis’ background included years of service in local government IT and then as an employee of Tiburon.

Both Bruce and Dennis share a passion for serving public safety. In Bruce’s case, his passion translates into solutions that address ongoing challenges facing CAD/RMS providers and their clients. In Dennis’ case, this passion is paired with strong IT expertise and experience focused on solving problems. Working together, they created Athena to focus on public safety IT infrastructure support.

There are three primary ways Athena satisfies its mission.

First, as experts in public safety IT infrastructure, we supplement the efforts of many local government IT shops. Often, these organizations are not equipped and staffed to manage mission critical, high availability systems. There are a lot of challenges delivering high levels of IT support these days. Athena’s goal is to help make this easier and more predictable.

Second, we work closely with our industry partners to support them with IT infrastructure issues. Often CAD and Records application providers are expecting specific hardware and network provisioning which PSAP managers aren’t familiar with. We bridge the gap between the vendor and the client as an extra set of eyes and hands that can design networks and server configurations or just make sure all the right lights are on. This helps cut implementation and services costs for both the vendor and the agency.

Third, our system monitoring service and 24 X 7 Help Desk serve as a safety net for both clients and their vendors. So much of our work is about early failure detection and corrective action to prevent service interruptions. With our monitoring, clients we can see things like CPU utilization, system process issues, storage capacity and network traffic and bandwidth. In turn, Athena can detect problems early, taking appropriate action to solve a problem even before a client experiences symptoms.

Athena’s Core Values

Responsiveness – Quickly and thoroughly responding to a client’s issue or problem. Engaging with the client to solve a problem or issue.

  • Quickly and accurately understanding a new or changing situation and acting accordingly in the best interest of the client.
  • Assembling the available resources at your disposal in order to solve a client’s issue or problem.
  • Taking action in a priority order, dealing with the highest and most urgent priority first.
  • Communicating with the client to accurately set expectations about problem resolution.


Identifying Opportunity – Being aware of a client’s current or future priorities or needs. Being able to communicate and formulate a solution that accurately addresses the client’s need.

  • Creating a trusted advisor relationship with the client to encourage open communication.
  • Spending time in constructive conversation with the client to understand their plans and needs. Often, this is above and beyond what is called for in the SOW/contract.
  • Building a broad network throughout the client’s organization allowing a broader understanding of the client’s plans and needs.
  • Communicating internally (within Athena) to share ideas and relate challenges the client is facing


Building Trust – Interacting with others in a way that gives them confidence and predictability in one’s intentions and commitments and that of the organization.

  • Demonstrates honesty; keeps commitments; behaves in a consistent manner.
  • Shares thoughts, feelings, and rationale so that others understand personal positions.
  • Listens to others and objectively considers others’ ideas and opinions, even when they conflict with one’s own.
  • Treats people with dignity, respect, and fairness; gives proper credit to others; stands up for deserving others and their ideas even in the face of resistance or challenge.


Personal Responsibility and Ownership – Taking action quickly to achieve goals beyond what is required; being proactive. Taking initiative.

  • Takes immediate action when confronted with a problem or when made aware of a situation.
  • Implements new ideas or potential solutions without prompting; does not wait for others to take action or to request action.
  • Takes action that goes beyond job requirements in order to achieve objectives.
  • Goes the extra step taking the initiative to thoughtfully consider options, research and recommend the best course of action.


Growth Mindset – Performing at a level that distinguishes Athena as experts in the areas in which we serve. This involves a commitment to life long, continuous learning of all team members.


  • Each employee invests time and energy into their personal and professional development.
  • Employees create a goal, each quarter, that reflects an area where they intend to learn and grow.
  • Employees share information and encourage development of their coworkers, clients, friends and family.
  • Through self-reflection and feedback from others, employees will evaluate their knowledge, skills and abilities and proactively take steps to improve their performance and effectiveness in support of Athena’s mission.