I've had a look at these other questions that popped up but I don't think the first really answered any of my needs because it is for a media center. And the second one just has me scared to leave my Pi on all the time making it even more meaningful that I get faster boot times.
I have considered installing the system on a USB and using the SD only to boot. So I am open to any and all suggestions.
This is a demo model of a product we have developed and we know that after we get better hardware we may just have the faster boot time, but not only is this about getting our boot time to under 1 min or 30 sec but is also about learning about what is going on. Maybe many things are starting that should not be starting.