FAST 50: Red Rock combines accounting, software to sustain growth

Red Rock Government Services president Chad Davis uses his history in the intelligence community to help his company find growth and leverage relationships.

Chad Davis has always been a numbers guy. A certified public accountant by trade, he had worked on accounting contracts and provided the financial services. But IT was never far away from his numbers.

“So much of that work is around the financial systems,” said Davis, president of Red Rock Government Services, a small business based in Leesburg, Va. “IT is such an integral part of everything. It’s hard to say it’s a separate thing now.”

When Davis decided to take his single-employee business to another level a decade ago, he hunted for software developers. Red Rock now has 40 employees.

“From Day One, I always knew we would go out and provide technology services,” he said.

With $5.4 million in revenue in 2014 and a 70.30 percent compound annual growth rate over the past five years, Red Rock reached No. 31 on Washington Technology’s 2015 Fast 50 list. The company was No. 24 on last year’s Fast 50 list.

Red Rock is a business advisory company, offering strategic IT, financial and operational consulting services to a range of clients in the public and private sectors. It also works with software development in areas such as mobile apps, cloud services, big data and data analytics.

Specifically, the company developed an identity and access management platform, or IDAM, to protect sensitive databases from intruders. It audits and tracks who is accessing data, and it determines who should—and should not—be getting to that information.

IDAM suits Red Rock’s customer agencies. It has worked with the departments of Justice and Homeland Security, but its major customers include the intelligence community and the Defense Department.

“Within the [intelligence community], we do work with pretty much every three-letter agency that’s out there,” Davis said.

A key to Red Rock’s success is its relationships in the intelligence community and knowing what its customers’ experience in the field. Davis was a finance officer at the Central Intelligence Agency in the late 1990s. Before that, he interned in the intelligence community during college. It’s the same with most of Red Rock’s employees, who have spent part, or even most, of their careers in the intelligence community.

“I always say, professionally speaking, I grew up in the intel community, and I would say that’s true for the majority of our staff,” he said.

So Red Rock has an internship program with the objective of giving back and helping young workers “kick-start their careers” in a field as tight knit as the intelligence community, similar to how his own internship helped to launch him.

Red Rock also invests in its younger employees that may not have the intimate knowledge of the intelligence community. By having both the seasoned veteran and the young employee, they feed off of each other and offer support in different ways, such as bringing new ideas and new ways to tackle an issue, he said.

“I find younger talent very exciting and refreshing,” Davis said. “They look at life differently. They have different expectations.”

For instance, the new generation of employees have grown up around IT and are very comfortable around it. They are also looking for training and working to stay ahead in the constantly changing technology environment. To foster that, Red Rock created its virtual lab. Davis said the employees are trained in using various codes and new technologies, and then they take it to the lab for more exploration in building and developing.

“For so many of these folks, that’s what their passion is. They want to develop” software and mobile apps, Davis said.

Looking ahead, Red Rock is working in a hot marketplace that is nowhere near fizzling out, but will increase as IT and software continues to advance and grow deeper inside federal agencies.

“The marketplace and the services we provide are not going away and I think even the need is going to get larger and larger,” he said. The result is more growth for the company.