FAST 50: Army Ranger rescues faltering company

Patriot Group International was faltering when CEO Greg Craddock hopped on board, just in time to turn the company around and into one of the fastest growing small businesses in the market.

In 2004, a group of special operations and intelligence community veterans launched Patriot Group International Inc. to use their expeditionary, intelligence analysis and military backgrounds to provide military forces with global support in harsh environments.

PGI made some traction in the market early on, but the market changed, and the company didn’t.

Greg Craddock, a veteran himself who served in the Army’s 3rd Ranger Battalion, an elite special operations commando battalion, and his investors acquired the company in 2009.

Craddock took command as CEO in 2009, at a time when PGI had no contracts and no revenue. Yet, Craddock said, PGI had a good reputation in the community and a strong past performance record. That’s what kept the company viable.

“Some of the relationships they started in 2004 helped us get our foot in the door and get in front of the customer,” Craddock said.

Since 2009, PGI has been one of the fastest growing companies in the market. In 2010, the company had $625,000 in revenue. It had $29 million in revenue in 2014—a 160.99-percent compound annual growth rate over the past four years. PGI is No. 3 on Washington Technology’s 2015 Fast 50 list. This is the first time the company has been on the Fast 50 list.

Craddock said PGI’s success “is a culmination of a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck.”

PGI provides global mission support services that include expeditionary capabilities. It works mainly in the intelligence community, with defense agencies and the private-sector companies as a subcontractor.

PGI, a veteran-owned and operated business, has served its customers in more than 15 countries on four continents. Some of those locations includes harsh and high-threat areas. However, with roughly 90 percent of its 140 full-time equivalents as veterans, its leadership team is comprised of experienced industry professionals who have roots in military special operations and federal intelligence agencies.

While the company’s major contracts are classified or sensitive, it provides services and personnel on the Defense Department’s Counter Narco-Terrorism Program Office indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity contract, the Solutions for Intelligence Analysis II IDIQ, and supports the Asymmetric Warfare Group. It’s also subcontracted with large prime contractors, such as Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, Raytheon and AT Solutions.

Craddock said that early on, he and the investors considered rebranding the company. “But the more we thought about it, the more ‘Patriot Group’ sent exactly the message we wanted to give to the government and our private-sector customers.”

PGI supplies counter-intelligence and security support for government construction projects. The company also trains special operations personnel to maintain weapon systems. PGI completed a two-year project in which the company’s employees trained Afghani security forces to conduct aerial surveillance to support counter-narcotics operations, as well as training national forces in intelligence analysis of various disciplines to counter improvised explosive devices.

Overall, “it’s challenging, but at the same time we feel like we contribute the security of the United States government,” Craddock said.

In the future, PGI is focused on getting more prime contracts, because the company has outgrown its small business size status. It also will continue to look for more partnerships with prime contractors.

Craddock foresees growth in business ahead in areas such as global security, risk management and intelligence analysis. However, business needs to come at a reasonable rate, so the business doesn’t outpace its capacities.

“We want to continue to grow but in a managed way,” Craddock said. “The emphasis should be in smart growth in the areas we perform well in.”

Just as PGI supports military operations in prepping harsh environments before forces arrive, the company is prepping for more growth in federal contracting.

Craddock said, “We’re very proud of what we’ve accomplished thus far, but we’ve always got our eyes on the future and making sure that we’re well prepared for changes in the federal market.” 

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