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This DFW CEO Leads the World’s Largest Autistic-Majority Company

Auticon's neuro-divergent employees offer consulting services to companies like Salesforce, ESPN, and Nationwide Insurance.
Courtesy: Auticon

When Nationwide Insurance embarked on an enormous data migration project to transfer its data warehousing to a new cloud-based service, it meant working with billions of rows of data. The undertaking was the job of four neurodivergent data engineers, who rose to the occasion. Employed by tech consulting firm Auticon, these engineers worked closely with Nationwide’s technology team to successfully execute the project, “delivering first-class work” at Nationwide and several other leading companies within their industries.

Auticon is the world’s largest autistic-majority company and a quickly growing tech consulting firm staffed by specialists on the autism spectrum. Its services range from data analytics to quality assurance and software development. The company also offers neuro-inclusion and broader DEI services, helping clients leverage hiring practices and become destination employers for neurodivergent talent. North Texas-based CEO David Aspinall anchors the U.S. operations, but the firm maintains offices in three continents.

Aspinall spent most of his early career scaling leadership chains in significant organizations. While pursuing a ‘mid-career MBA’ at Texas Christian University, Aspinall joined the DFW chapter of the Young President’s Organization and soon realized ingenuity had been his true passion. He left his executive role and jumped to entrepreneurship, joining German-based tech consulting firm Auticon to expand operations into the United States.

Auticon CEO David Aspinall Courtesy: Auticon

Auticon focuses on the eighty-five percent of adults on the autism spectrum who are under or unemployed. The company’s consultants work on client deliverables with the assistance of a job coach– a trained neurodiversity specialist who assists consultants and clients in project efficiency, effectiveness, and communication.

From expertly identifying patterns in large data sets to fine-tuning ESPN’s Fantasy Football Lab, their experts provide a skillset, not many other consulting firms can offer, and the company has seen great success doing so. Irving-based pharmaceutical titan McKesson recognized Auticon as their preferred tech consulting firm for outstanding service quality and talent, a career highlight for Aspinall. Auticon also works closely with Nationwide Insurance and customer relationship management giant Salesforce.

Aspinall attributes the company’s success to the fresh perspective and unique talents neuro-distinct individuals bring to the table. “A team comprised of individuals with different neurotypes is a more productive team,” Aspinall says. “[The success with McKesson] has nothing to do with neurodiversity; that had everything to do with Auticon as a talent partner.”

The firm recently merged with European tech consulting firm Unicus. Both firms offer the same array of services, and Auticon expects their clients to benefit from the increased global capacity of both firms, while Unicus anticipates the breath of fresh air Auticon will bring to their DEI initiatives.

“It is a true merger of equals,” Aspinall says. “I’ve never seen two complimentary organizations as cleanly aligned come together as this.”

Beyond an impressive client portfolio, employee satisfaction is another of Auticon’s strengths. The company boasts a remarkably low turnover rate, with roughly fifty-one percent of employees in 2022 remaining with the company for at least two years and eighty-seven percent of consultants reporting an improvement in their quality of life since joining the firm.

Despite Auticon’s social enterprise expertise, Aspinall warns clients that Auticon should not be mistaken for a charity. Clients who initially partnered with the intent of serving as beneficiaries quickly pivoted once they saw the quality of work Auticon consultants provide.

“We wouldn’t grow within these organizations if people were just doing it because it was the right thing to do,” Aspinall says. “We grow because the team does a phenomenal job.”

These results allowed Auticon to influence its clients beyond tech consulting and impact how the organization thinks about neuro-divergent employees. Aspinall explained many companies experienced a culture shift following projects with Auticon, and many clients began asking for more neuro-inclusion services.

“Companies realize that in order to keep the talent they already have, they have to be able to meet that talent where it is,” Aspinall says. “With so much of an organization’s existing workforce being neuro-distinct, organizations are realizing that to prevent turnover, they have to be a better destination employer.”

Auticon began offering comprehensive neurodiversity training to improve DEI within client organizations and encouraging companies to take advantage of the untapped potential in this talent pool. Aspinall praises his team and all of their accomplishments, from the professional to the personal, and recommends all employers do the same. “It’s just good business,” he says.

At Auticon, employees find a financial and emotional boost they couldn’t receive in many other lines of work available to them.“We had so many individuals working in fast food, and now they’re getting market salaries, they have a 401(k) for the first time, they’ve got healthcare for the first time,” Aspinall says.

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