Structure your business to build trust

For HMS Technologies, hard work and a structure that built trust with its partners have fueled its growth

HMS Technologies Inc., a service-disabled veteran-owned small business in Martinsburg, W.Va., operates from a 305-year-old stone barn that also has served as a church, office complex and TV station.

This year the 12,000-square-foot building houses Washington Technology’s top-ranked Fast 50 company.

HMS’ revenues increased from $136,347 in 2004 to $22.5 million in 2008 for a growth rate of 258.47 percent. The company has grown more than 2,000 percent since its founding in 2003.

Even during one of the worst recession in decades, HMS Technologies' revenue nearly doubled in 2008, hitting $22.5 million, up from $12.43 million in 2007. Last year, the company ranked seventh among the top 100 privately held businesses in West Virginia.

The company's founder, Harry M. Siegel, who also serves as president and CEO, said about 40 employees work in his stone and hand-hewn beam barn. “We have room to grow new buildings and to [add] onto the building if we want.”

Established near Siegel’s Maralie working horse farm, HMS reached the top spot in just six years.

In all, HMS Technologies has about 200 full- and part-time employees.

The company secured a firm foothold in the government market in September 2005 when HMS Technologies won a General Services Administration Schedule 70 contract and then secured a $1.5 million mobile computing award from the Agriculture Department.

Siegel worked night and day for a week with his GSA program officer to earn a spot on Schedule 70, a requisite for bidding on the USDA award that he was determined to win.

“I am the only service-disabled veteran-owned small business in America that can win it,” Siegel said he told his GSA adviser. “She and I worked together about 17 hours a day, and at [4:30 p.m.] that Friday, I had a signed, sealed and delivered GSA Schedule 70 contract.”

Among its recent contracts, HMS Technologies won in June its second major service award from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a Schedule 70 blanket purchase agreement worth as much as $15 million over five years to provide program, financial and business management solutions.

The company also is supporting a large health care study at the Veterans Affairs Department by examining and compiling data on 60,000 veterans.

“The real success of this company, besides leadership and vision, is the quality of the staff that we put on the battlefield each day,” he said.

HMS’ executive staff is composed of Army, Navy and Air Force veterans. They have completed more than $15 billion in government and commercial projects, said Siegel, a retired Navy officer and Naval Academy graduate.

A move that has helped the company weather tough economic times was registering as a C-corporation, which requires Siegel to adhere to the same filing requirements as every large corporation, he said.

Prime contractors trust the company’s financials and consequently its capabilities, he said. “The real success for us has been [in] the partnerships that we have been able to build with large, medium and smaller companies,” he added.

“I believe in the Vidal Sassoon concept of management,” he said, referring to the famous creator of hairdressing and styling products. “What I mean by that is: If you don’t look good, I don’t look good.”

Siegel added that his mentoring of more than 30 start-up service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses has built business partnerships and helped his company grow. “I’m building teammates,” he said, “and one day we’re not going to be a small company. I think that’s coming in two years.” 


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