Fall Brings Three Federal Wins to RSIS

Fall Brings Three Federal Wins to RSIS

Rodney Hunt

By Marianne Dunn Staff Writer

RS Information Systems Inc., an 8(a) company in McLean, Va., won three federal contracts in September, including an eight-year project worth $65 million from the Social Security Administration.

"We are providing 100 percent of the information technology and infrastructure support for the Social Security headquarters in Baltimore and in all of the regional offices," said Rodney Hunt, RSIS president and chief executive officer.

Hunt and his partner, Scott Amey, RSIS executive vice president, founded the company in December 1993. One month later, the company was certified for the Small Business Administration's 8(a) program. Named for a section of the Small Business Act, it is an initiative to help socially and economically disadvantaged citizens, including African, Asian, Hispanic and Native Americans, gain access to the economic mainstream.

Hunt plans to stay in the program until the company's scheduled graduation in February 2003, even though the SBA limits participation to companies whose three-year revenue average does not exceed $18 million.

"You never know. If we get too large, they may be forced to say, 'You are finished,' " said Hunt.

The September contracts won by RSIS are worth more than $123 million. Since its inception, the company has landed 43 prime contracts, most of which are non-8 (a) awards.

Hunt projected overall revenue in 1999 will hit about $36 million, up from $15.5 million in 1998 and $9.5 million in 1997. He would not reveal the value of the company's 8 (a) business.

"In the year 2000, winning no other business, we are already set for $60 million [in revenue]," said Hunt. "We have a $400 million contract backlog, and we expect to be a $100 million company by 2002."

RSIS is an information technology and engineering company that offers services in electronic commerce and software development, network engineering and management end-user technical support, as well as technical assistance primarily to government clients.

Amey said software applications development and Web development are tied for the hottest business areas because "almost every project has some form of Web development task to it." Network engineering "is really hot right now, since we are converting many of our customers' systems to Windows NT and supporting our customers who are already using it," he said.

Maurice Denis, a financial adviser with Legg Mason Inc. of Alexandria, Va., said RSIS has been at the right place at the right time to build a technology business focused on serving the federal government.

"It is in the right field. We have seen an explosion in the e-commerce business. And the D.C. metro area is not a bad place to be," said Denis. "For this company, the sky is the limit. They are in a great industry."

About 90 percent of RSIS' business is drawn from the federal government, with 55 percent coming from defense agencies and 45 percent from civilian agencies. The remainder comes from its commercial category, which Hunt said includes some state and local business.

Hunt expects business from state and local governments to pick up in the coming months when they redirect their spending on year 2000 work.

"After Y2K, the state and local governments will put money back into improving their infrastructure," said Hunt. "That will grow in February."

Hunt said RSIS has faced stiff competition in the federal arena. Competitors for the Social Security contract included Computer & High-Tech Management Inc. of McLean, Global Management Systems Inc. of Bethesda, Md., and STG Inc. of Fairfax, Va. RSIS also competes regularly against industry players such as TRW Inc. of Cleveland, CACI International Inc. of Arlington, Va., and Litton Industries' systems integration and IT unit, PRC Inc. of McLean.

RSIS employs 422 people, up from 140 in December 1998. Offices are located in Brook Park, Ohio; Greenbelt, Md.; Las Vegas; Silver Spring, Md.; and Washington. Some employees are stationed at projects in Fort Shafter and Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii; Arlington, Va.; Laurel, Md.; Montgomery, Ala.; and Wallops Island, Va.

Hunt said he plans to grow the company internally, but he might consider making acquisitions in three to five years.

For the long term, Hunt said the plan is to have 25 percent growth for the first three years post-8(a) graduation, then level off to a 10 percent growth rate. "The way we will do that is through partnering," he said.

RSIS has partnered with many different companies, including Microsoft Corp. of Redmond, Wash., Booz-Allen & Hamilton of McLean, and NCI Information Systems Inc. also of McLean.

The company also is participating in the Defense Department-sponsored mentor-protégé program. Its mentor is the Arlington branch of Raytheon Systems Co.

Gerald Feltus, Raytheon business manager and manager for the protégé program, said he was looking for potential protégés when a friend gave him the RSIS capabilities brochure. "I realized there was a lot of synergy between their company and ours," said Feltus.

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