FAST 50: Marathon TS builds from experience to find success

The founders of Marathon TS had already created one successful company in the 1990s and have leveraged that experience to turn their current company into one of the fastest growing small businesses in the market.

In the government contracting market, success is the product of learning from your experiences and leveraging that knowledge to make it actionable. That's how Marathon TS is doing it, and it made the company one of the fastest growing small businesses around right now.

With a compound annual growth rate of 149.8 percent and $10.2 million in fiscal 2014 revenue, Marathon TS has nabbed the No. 5 spot on Washington Technology's 2015 Fast 50.

Marathon TS was founded in 2009 by Pamela Siek, her husband, and their business partner, and is the second company that the trio has formed. The first was a woman-owned company that had $60 million in annual revenue that the three sold to in 2000.

And after that, Siek and her husband took time off and had children. “And then in 2009, the guys wanted to start a new company,” Siek said. Shortly after that, they came to Siek asking if she was interested in coming on board.

Thus, Marathon TS was born. “We became a certified woman-owned business again, and we are also HUBZone certified,” Siek said. The company is also ISO-9001 certified and has a DCAA accounting approved system. These certifications are one way in which Marathon TS differentiates itself from its competitors, Siek added.

The name was selected to broadcast the company’s commitment to meeting its customers’ missions. “It’s unique, and it says we’re going the distance,” said Siek. “We don’t like a name that can be turned into an acronym.”

The company has two services divisions. The first is a consulting services division, which makes up around 75 percent of the company, and does support work for big systems integrators like IBM, Lockheed Martin and SAIC. The second division is for government services work, making up about 25 percent of the company’s business, and has Marathon TS working directly with agencies.

“We basically focus our services on high level consultants, subject matter experts and the information technology industry, and we support our practice areas, which include custom applications development through the full systems development lifecycle,” Siek said.

Full systems development lifecycle could be the PC platform, the web, or large Unix boxes, she added. The company also provides mobile application development, operations and management support, intelligence analysis, IT security and network systems engineering.

In its government services practice, Marathon TS has a mix of civilian and defense customers including the State, Energy, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs Departments and the U.S. Air Force.

The biggest contract that the company has right now—making up around 10 percent of the company’s revenue—is a State Department contract related to electronic document imaging that Marathon TS manages.

Siek also noted a contract the company has a software and hardware contract with the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a government agency that provides foreign aid in an effort to fight global poverty.

The culture at Marathon TS’ home base in Sterling, Va., is entrepreneurial. “We don’t micromanage and we expect a lot of hard work and loyalty. We treat our employees like family,” Siek said.

She is relying on that hard work to drive growth over the next five years. One piece of that puzzle is growing the company’s federal business. “Right now, we’re at 25 percent. In five years, I would hope it would be 50 percent.”

Going forward, Marathon TS will be focused on taking its time to strengthen as it grows. “That’s one of the reasons we keep our certifications and got them right away—so that we don’t necessarily have to compete with the big companies when we’re going after federal contracts,” Siek said.

The company hones in on opportunities that are geared toward woman-owned or HUBZone small businesses.

And Siek is feeling good about the future of the company, which builds on the recruiting capabilities that she and her business partners developed at their first company.

“Our recruiting methodology is one we utilized at a $60 million a year business, so I think that gives us a competitive advantage,” Siek said.