Fast 50: AbleVets embraces its growing pains

From a small start to explosive growth, AbleVets has kept focused on its mission: Help veterans and active-duty service members.

The AbleVets team is preparing for some welcome growing pains. What started in 2015 as a service-disabled veteran-owned business with five workers is on track to have 375 employees by the end of its next quarter – “a daunting task,” said Wyatt Smith, the company’s chief executive officer.

But the company is prepared. It has streamlined the onboarding process and honed its culture: “Everybody understands the mission – that we’re out to help the veterans and active-duty” service members, said Smith, a veteran, physician and former deputy chief information officer at the Military Health System.

In fact, AbleVets is no stranger to fast growth. Its cybersecurity sector went from 10 employees in 2016 to about 50 today, said Chief Operating Officer Jim Dolatowski, and “we expect to continue that growth.”

This is not to say that the company’s other focus areas – cloud, agile engineering, analytics, and strategy and transformation – are stagnant, Smith added. “It’s not that we flattened out in our software engineering piece of it, but it’s really that cyber just took off,” he said. “It’s really important to protect personally identifiable information and…protected health information, so being in a health IT-focused industry, we’re taking on that role of protecting that health care information.”

AbleVets earned the No. 3 spot on the 2018 Washington Technology Fast 50 list of the fastest-growing small businesses.

The company uses three core contract vehicles to bid on work: The Veterans Affairs Department’s Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology Next Generation acquisition program, the National Institutes of Health’s CIO-Solutions and Partners Small Business governmentwide acquisition contract, and the General Services Administration’s GSA Schedule 70. In March, it became eligible to bid on GSA’s Veterans Technology Services GWAC.

Hildi Pineda, AbleVets’ chief growth officer, said many factors fuel the company’s growth. One is a team of subject-matter experts who understand the needs and priorities of the VA, AbleVets’ main customer. Another is its focus on quality.

“The quality piece…is really important,” Smith added. “I look at it as you deliver well, you deliver on time, on budget quality products, and the government wants you to do more work, so we’ve grown a lot based on the quality.”

“In general, all of us are firmly committed to the mission that we’re supporting, and so we’re very much about putting the client at the center, and I think that culture has really resonated with our clients,” Pineda said.

Internally, the company’s culture is supportive, Dolatowski said. For example, AbleVets offers mentorships, community of interest presentations at which subject-matter experts speak on various topics and AbleLabs, where employees – mainly software developers – can test and innovate.

“We’ve spent a lot of time trying to make sure that this is a good place for folks to work,” Dolatowski said.

Now, AbleVets is looking to diversify by leveraging its capabilities beyond VA to the Defense and Health and Human Services departments. For instance, DOD recently tapped the company for cyber work, Smith said.

“We’re going to focus on what we know and offer that to other agencies,” he said.

This is where Pineda’s role as CGO helps, too. Her job is to define growth strategies in new markets while sustaining current work. Smith considers the latter a success: “Some evidence of sustaining of our base is to this point we’ve successfully received all of our option years for all of our contracts to date.”

But AbleVets isn’t looking to do the same work on repeat. “We’re focusing on solving the problem,” Pineda said. “We’re not looking to be in there for 20 years addressing the same thing day in and day out. We’re looking at after we solve this problem, what’s the next problem.”

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.