A-T Solutions sees explosive growth in counter IED technology

Company garners Contractor of the Year award

Since Dennis Kelly joined A-T Solutions Inc. as chief operating officer in May 2008, the government contractor has experienced a 45 percent annual growth rate, quickly taking the company beyond the $100 million a year revenue barrier.

If you ask Kelly, he will say it’s all part of the plan he and company founder Ken Falke worked out together when Falke hired him.

“What I did I think was really bring some structure and some processes. At the time I joined the company it was about a $35 [million], $40 million company. We were really making the transition from a small business to a larger business.”

Those initial conversations also included a plan for Kelly to assume the dual roles of president and CEO, Kelly said, because at some point Falke wanted to go back into government service.

“Ken and his team really laid the bedrock, if you will, for a great company,” said Kelly, who succeeded Falke as president and CEO, on Jan. 1, 2010. Joe Kampf serves as chairman. kampf, former CEO of Anteon, is the chairman and CEO of Covant, the private equity group that owns A-T.

Their success was recognized earlier this month when A-T Solutions was named contractor of the year in the $75 million to $300 million revenue category at the 8th annual Greater Washington Government Contractor Awards, which recognizes innovation, dedication and commitment to the government market by individuals and companies. The awards are given each by the Fairfax, Va., Chamber of Commerce,  the Professional Services Council and Washington Technology.

After two previous nominations in other categories, the third time proved to be the charm.

Kelly said he and Falke hit it off from the start because of their common bonds as former Navy enlisted men, Falke as a bomb technician and Kelly as a sonar technician. Also, both men earned their college degrees after their military service.

Kelly said he introduced some standard operating procedures and business development structure to move A-T Solutions up from a company that had subsisted on sole-source awards and small-business set-asides.

“When I interviewed with Ken, he made it clear that he needed some of this structure, some of these processes and some of the experiences that I had in the industry to really take the company to the next level,” he said.

During Kelly’s three years at A-T Solutions, the company also adopted a Deltek program for its accounting platform, gained ISO 9000 certification and opened a 24/7 operations center to handle customer requirements.

“Now, as a larger business we’re playing with the big boys,” Kelly said. “We’re in the competitive process and as such we need to make sure that we have the infrastructure necessary to do that competitively.”

The company expects its 2010 revenue to top $125 million. Looking to 2011, Kelly said his plans for A-T Solutions include a continuing focus on growth through acquisitions. “But that will be secondary to organic growth,” he added. “Organic growth is always where we put our focus.”

“We believe that we have the highest concentration of explosive ordnance disposal technicians of anybody outside the government,” Kelly said.

So expect the current roster of some 520 employees – half of whom are veterans – to figuratively explode during the next year or two.

In fact in December, as part of A-T Solutions’ planned growth, the company will open a new operations center in Fredricksburg, Va.

Also, as the war effort winds down in Iraq and Afghanistan, Kelly said he plans to expand the company’s offerings in homeland security and first-responder technology because of the growing domestic threat from terrorist acts.

“We think that our core mission of counter-terrorism certainly knows no boundaries. So on the international front we think that’s going to be a continuing threat and we’re striving to support the international community. We do that now through some Department of State programs,” he said.

“You’ve heard of our MCIT program, our mobile counter-IED trainer?” he asked, referring to the company’s improvised explosive devise trainer built into a modular trailer-like vehicle. “We think that has great applicability to the first-responder community and even the international community.”

Kelly said the MCIT – an acronym for Mobile Counter-IED Trainer – can train a company of soldiers per day, that is anywhere from 62 to 190 troops, on countering IED threats.

Weapons technical intelligence is another emerging growth area for which A-T Solution has a core competency, Kelly said. That capability means understanding the technology behind threats from IEDs and weapons of mass destruction and how to counter those threats.

The company also offers some IT tools that help troops, police and first responders collect evidence from the scene of an explosion.

Earlier this month A-T Solutions Inc. won a five-year, $3 million contract to continue creating a modern evidence collection software system ffor the FBI.

The new award specifically calls on A-T Solutions to continue its work with the FBI Evidence Response Team Unit as it modernizes its Evidence Collection and Management system.

As part of a 2007 contract award, A-T Solutions has been developing a custom software solution based on its Asymmetric Threat and Tactical Analysis Casebook (ATTAC) software that will meet the unit’s goals of fast, efficient and accurate evidence collection and reporting..

Under the new award, A-T Solutions will provide analysis, design, development, testing, implementation, enhancement and documentation of the Evidence Collection and Management package as well as the maintenance and upgrade of ATTAC software licenses, the company said.

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