Relationships aid company's growth

Thomas Laskowski left the corporate
world and founded Gantech Inc. in
1999 to provide information technology
consulting and security services.

His early work focused on being an
independent consultant doing business as
Gantech. That led to a network of relationships
and subcontracting work with a larger
company. Because Laskowski's mother
was born in Mexico, Gantech was qualified
to register in Maryland as a minorityowned
company. The state's program is
similar to that of the 8(a) classification for
federal contracts.

"Maryland has
been very good to
Gantech,"
Laskowski said.

Gantech's services
include project
and program
management, systems integration, and
network engineering. The company's
breakthrough occurred in 2004 when it
partnered with Computer Sciences Corp.
on a large contract with Maryland's
Department of Transportation. With the
company's growth accelerating, Laskowski
had to hire his first employees.

Since that contract win, the company
has nearly doubled in size each year. There
are now more than 50 full-time employees
and an overall staff of more than 80. "If
there's a theme to this story of Gantech, it's
been that relationships and the opportunity
created by the Maryland programs have
really fostered its growth," he said.

Although its growth has slowed since 2004, the Columbia, Md., company breaks
into the Fast 50 at No. 7 with a five-year
compound annual growth rate of 158.03
percent. In 2007, it recorded $8.3 million
in government revenue, up from $3 million
in 2006.

Gantech has expanded its work with
Maryland's government to include the
Department of Labor, Licensing and
Regulation; Department of Business and
Economic Development; and Department
of Human Resources.

"Now we're taking the qualifications of
our experiences, and we intend to apply
them to the federal space without [negatively]
impacting our state work,"
Laskowski said. "We want to make sure
our base is taken care of obviously and
grow into the federal space." The company
recently applied for 8(a) status with the
Small Business Administration.

Eyeing opportunities in the federal sector,
he said, the Transportation
Department would be a natural fit because
of Gantech's work with Maryland. And the
company's proximity to Fort Meade and
the National Security Agency could also be
advantageous.

As for advice for founders of new companies
seeking government work,
Laskowski said, "Don't give up on your
passion, and maintain your integrity along
the way. And be committed to those relationships
that you've established and nurture
them."

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