Fast 50: Titania goes from blank slate to up-and-comer

Titania Solutions started as blank sheet of paper in 2012 but is now 100 people strong and growing, thanks to a few strategic wins and focus on its people.

Six years after its incorporation, Titania Solutions has a firm footing in the government contracting space.

Incorporated in 2012, the woman-owned and service-disabled, veteran-owned small business spent about four years creating partnerships with other companies and building a performance portfolio that would allow it to bid on work as a prime contractor.

“Whenever you start a small business, you are living on your resume and what you intend to build, because if you don’t buy a company or start with a certain contract, you don’t have any past performance and it’s just this blank sheet of paper,” said Jodi Johnson, chairman and chief executive officer.

That effort paid off. In 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services tapped Titania to provide information technology services under the Strategic Partners Acquisition Readiness Contract, a $25 billion multi-award, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity deal.

The 105-employee company also won a spot on the National Institutes of Health IT Acquisition and Assessment Center’s Chief Information Officer-Solutions and Partners 3 IDIQ contract to provide tasks including IT services for biomedical research.

Additionally, Titania can participate in the procurement process set out in the Electronic Federal Aviation Administration Accelerated and Simplified Tasks contracting vehicle, and it is a General Services Administration contractor under GSA’s IT Schedule 70 and Professional Services Schedule.

“We’re sort of like a three-legged stool right now with about half our work in health care, about a quarter is in Army and intel, and about a quarter is in FAA,” Johnson said. “The nice thing about a small business is you can be very agile and move with the wind a little bit. If we see an opportunity to take some of these solutions we’ve been providing to these customers to a new client, we definitely are agile and flexible, and we’ll pursue that because we have a very high risk tolerance and we have a very aggressive growth posture.”

Titania sits at the No. 48 spot in the 2018 Washington Technology Fast 50 list of the fastest-growing small-business contractors. It recorded $14.5 million in revenue in fiscal 2016.

The biggest driver of Titania’s success is its people – customers and employees alike, Johnson said.

“There’s no one way to make people happy or engaged, so we’re constantly looking for improvements that we can implement to continue to connect and engage our staff so that they build their careers with us, because if they do that, it’s better for the customer and better for the company,” Johnson said.

To that end, Titania has an internal leadership development program and a performance and incentive bonus pool.

“We try to apply various tools and opportunities to connect and engage – everything from Employee Appreciation Week to quarterly reviews and quarterly newsletters and snow cone socials in the summer,” Johnson said.

Looking ahead, she’s focusing on providing leadership in the areas of agile development and DevOps, and scenario-based training and wargaming, while staying on top of Titania’s current customers. “You generally find your customers want more of you when they can depend on you to do what you say you’re going to do and meet your deliverables,” she said.

Johnson has had to adapt to marketplace changes such as budget constraints and employee expectations of telework since the last time she incorporated a company – Oberon Associates – in 2002. (Stanley Associates acquired it in 2008.) But the foundation of her business approach remains steadfast.

“The basic theme of how I conduct myself, how I build my business is just take care of people, whether they’re your partners, your customers or your employees,” Johnson said. “If you take care of people and do what you say you’re going to do, it kind of takes care of the business.”