HPTi focuses on ethics, quality to accelerate growth

Company does well by being good

The year ahead will be tough for employees of High Performance Technologies Inc., which won the Greater Washington Government Contractor award for 2009 Contractor of the Year in the $25 million to $75 million division.

It won't be challenging from a business standpoint, though. In that regard, HPTi is doing very well. Total revenue for 2008 was $73.6 million, a 23 percent jump from the previous year, and 2009 will end with the company somewhere in the $85 million range, company president Tim Keenan predicted.

Other numbers also look good. The contract backlog in 2008 was $83 million, up from $63 million in 2007 — a 37 percent growth rate that “was in sharp contrast to the 1 percent industry average,” the company pointed out in its 2008 annual report.

But the GovCon award came on the heels of HPTi’s win of the 2009 American Business Ethics Award and the medallion of excellence from the Senate Productivity and Quality Award (SPQA) for Virginia. The list goes on, without getting into all the individual awards won by HPTi co-founder Keenan and other company executives and professionals.

“We look at these things not as awards, because they’re just pieces of glass,” Keenan said. In an internal memo to the company’s 350 employees, he explained he saw them “more as milestones in our quest to build the best firm in America.”

The ethics award, SPQA medallion and Capability Maturity Model Integration Level 3 certification that the company won last year are all based on an internal audit of company processes, he said. “They come in and do an audit of your processes and procedures, and more important, they give you a feedback report.” For nearly 10 years, HPTi annually has sought the audits and especially the reports, he said, “so we could then convert them into action.”

The reports are a great bargain, he said. The application fee for SPQA or the American Business Ethics Award is $75. Although CMMI is a little more expensive, he said, “any business can afford to do those three things.” The reports represent “thousands of dollars worth of management consulting.”

Employee-run HPTi Cares directs volunteer work in the community, focusing on youth needs, “whether that’s a sports team or an orchestra or an Odyssey of the Mind or a MathCounts,” Keenan said. “If kids learn how to work in teams, then they can work in our industry, because everything our industry does is in done in teams.”

HPTi University helps guide employees who want to continue their education by developing a career plan, reimbursing tuition, helping them choose a college or university, and offering peer advice on course loads.

The business has shifted its market concentration over the years, he said.

HPTi has grown beyond its supercomputing roots to the point that it now provides a wide variety of support services including systems engineering and  software devleopment, program management, knowledge discovery and visualization, and more.

From HPTi’s inception in 1991 in a basement office, “we always thought we’d be at the higher end of technology, working on problems that were maybe a little more hard to handle for our customers; that’s what we always wanted to do.”

Return to list of GovCon winners.

About the Author

Sami Lais is a special contributor to Washington Technology.

Reader Comments

Mon, Dec 14, 2009 Pete Thomas

I think why 2010 will be tough for HPTi got dropped from the article in editing. I think the year speaks for itself, though. The milestones we reached this year--most of which represent the culmination of years of effort in planning, analysis, and self-improvement--are incredible. Even more incredible is seeing so many come together in the same year. One of our toughest challeges for 2010 is going to be recognizing that years like 2009 don't come around that often. It's fair to say though, that even if it doesn't happen in 2010, we're not the type of firm that rests on its laurels. The investment in ourselves and our next milestones is already underway.

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