8(a) & Small Business Top 10 Companies
1. World Wide Technology Inc.<@VM>2. Systems Integration Inc.<@VM>3. STG Inc.<@VM>4. RS Information Systems Inc.<@VM>5. Dataline Inc.<@VM>6. ITS Services Inc.<@VM>7. Integrated Information Technology Corp.<@VM>8. KKP Corp.<@VM>9. SMF Systems Corp.<@VM>10. AHTNA Development Corp.<@VM>8(a) Awards Growing Strong
World Wide Technology Inc., St. Louis, www.wwt.com
8(a) revenue for tech contracts: $64.4 million
by Heather Hayes
World Wide Technology Inc. is fast becoming the model company for the 8(a) program. Since its modest beginnings in 1990, this St. Louis-based integrator has become a top federal contractor able to compete head-to-head with some of the biggest and best companies.
"The future is so bright, I'm wearing shades," Chief Executive Officer Dave Steward said.
The cliché is not unwarranted. Earlier this year, the firm projected revenue to double from $200 million in 1998 to $400 million in 2000. Instead, World Wide Technology, which will graduate from the 8(a) program in February 2001 and now boasts more than 600 employees, will likely hit $750 million in sales by year's end.
"And that's probably a conservative estimate," said Steward, who attributed much of the company's growth to its willingness to reinvest as much as 95 percent of profits in infrastructure and personnel resources.
The blazing growth is likely to continue, thanks to World Wide Technology's new focus on the e-marketplace. The firm last year launched Fedbuy.com, a procurement portal that allows federal agencies to choose from more than 100,000 IT products listed on more than 30 General Services Administration schedules, as well as several blanket purchase agreements (BPAs) and indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contracts (IDIQs) held by World Wide Technology, and make online purchases using a government credit card. In its first year, the site collected an estimated $20 million in sales, and Steward expects that figure to double in its second year.
The value of Fedbuy.com extends well beyond the ability to perform actual financial transactions, according to Steward. Many users come online to get information about products, compare pricing or check order status. Either way, he said, Fedbuy.com represents the future of not just the company but the federal government as well.
"I think we're setting the pace for what e-marketplaces are all about, helping define what that marketplace is in the federal space, and really understanding what the customer is looking for," Steward said.
The company has invested in a robust, back-end Oracle enterprise resource planning system and implemented ISO 9002 quality standards, allowing the site to better expand to meet demand and drive down costs. "We offer our customers efficiencies in how they procure, greater speed, as well as a broader and better amount of information. I know of few companies in the federal space who have really stepped up at this particular point in making that kind of information readily available over the Web," he said.
World Wide Technology holds commodity contracts with the Army, Air Force, National Imagery and Mapping Agency, the Treasury and Agriculture departments, the General Services Administration and others. It also sells off the National Institutes of Health's Electronic Computer Store. Thirty percent of the company's business is federal, but less than 10 percent of current revenue comes from 8(a) work.
Although the company is helping several organizations within the Department of Defense build enterprise portals, it is making a concerted move away from
providing services, Steward said. "Fedbuy.com is where we're putting most of our effort right now. We've invested a tremendous amount of money in the technology on this e-marketplace, and we want to focus our technical talent inward within our own organization to be more effective and more efficient, and take this e-marketplace to the next generation."
Recognized as one of the industry's fastest growing systems integrators, World Wide Technology has built itself up by providing e-business solutions, ERP and Java expertise, document management and conversion services, and systems networking to both commercial and government entities.
Even for all his high expectations, Steward admitted that he has been pleasantly surprised and pleased with his company's emergence as an IT leader. Already, World Wide Technology is working as a mentor in the Small Business Administration's 8(a) mentor/protégé program and expects to continue after its graduation. In addition, the firm is working with a regional SBA program called Coaches to mentor minority-owned businesses in the community.
So what's the secret to all this success?
"I think we have enough foresight and vision in this business to really take advantage of the opportunity that was laid before us. Our people have taken the ball and gone to work, and combined with our commitment to reinvest, has resulted in our seeing this overflowing of blessings," Steward said. "We won our first 8(a) contract in July 1992, and eight years later to be not just one of the largest 8(a) contractors, but any federal contractor is, I think, a pretty significant story."
Systems Integration Inc., Arlington, Va., www.sysintegration.com
8(a) revenue for tech contracts: $36.3 million
by Calli Schmidt
Four years ago, when it came to taking care of its customers, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office was in a world of trouble.
Both the General Accounting Office and the Office of Management and Budget had dubbed the Commerce Department agency the government's worst to deal with. Call records showed that 40 percent of the people who called the office to find out about applying for patents or ask other questions hung up in frustration before their calls were even answered.
The figure is not particularly surprising, considering that the average time a caller was put on hold before a real person answered the telephone was 6.5 minutes.
That's when Systems Integration Inc. of Arlington, Va., won a $30,500 purchase order to take a look at the way the agency interacted with callers, recalled Don Rottman, SII's executive vice president.
"Our recommendation was that they
re-engineer the way they do business," Rottman said.
SII won the contract to make the improvements, and the $3 million sole-source deal they inked had grown to $10 million by October 1999 when the job was finished. The company chose, and then installed, a new interactive voice response system that immediately improved the efficiency of the Patent and Trademark Office service center.
The new system was connected to the Web, which allowed it to bring in information from questions posted via e-mail. It integrated the general information call center with five remote call centers.
Now, the "abandonment rate" of people who hang up is 3 percent of all calls. More than 95 percent of calls are answered within 20 seconds. Instead of 19 full-time equivalent employees fielding 250,000 calls per year, there are 18 answering 1,750,000 telephone and e-mail inquiries.
Applications that used to take an
average of 15 days to get in the mail
now get out within four hours, and less than 1 percent go to an incorrect address, instead of more than 10 percent under the old system. And the Patent and Trademark Office has won the Commerce Secretary's award for customer service excellence.
SII specializes in projects that require the design, application, modernization and implementation of integrated computer and telephone technology, especially call centers and help desks. As far as Rottman knows, "we're the only 8(a) company that does this."
Finding that niche and then sticking to it has been key to growing the company's business as it moves toward graduation from the program in 2 1/2 years. About 13 percent of SII's business in 1998 was from non-8(a) contracts; by 1999, the percentage was closer to 40. "The pendulum is swinging," Rottman said. "Next year, the non-8(a) [business] will be greater than the 8(a)."
SII had $36.3 million in 8(a) revenue during fiscal 1999 and overall company revenue of $47.3 million, propelling it to the No. 2 spot on Washington Technology's list of top 25 8(a) companies.
Formed in 1990, the company started out as a two-person operation: Rottman and president Eric Fukuchi, who owns 51 percent of the business. The pair spent most of their first five years as consultants before hiring their first employees in early 1996.
Now, SII has 185 employees, many of whom are working in the call-center business as SII expands its presence there. "We can come in and design and implement all this technology ? telephony,
e-mail, Web ? the whole integration all the way through, but we've also found out that it's the vertical side, the operations for the call centers" that are a place for SII to step in, Rottman said.
"Once the system is designed and implemented, somebody still has to answer the calls," as well as take care of the back-end operations like fulfillment and keeping track of inventories, he said.
The company has taken that same set of skills and applied it to help-desk contracts, like a $3 million, three-year contract with Fort Detrick in Frederick, Md.
"We can handle about 85 percent of the people over the phone," with the remaining 15 percent getting in-person technical assistance.
As it moves toward graduation, the company is working with existing clients like Customs Service and the Patent and Trademark Office to convert 8(a) work into different contract vehicles. It has joined teams headed by Lockheed Martin Corp., Bethesda, Md., and Computer Sciences Corp., El Segundo, Calif., to provide its specialized services.
"I think we're going to be OK once we graduate because we've spent a lot of time developing our core products," Rottman said.
STG Inc., Fairfax, Va., www.stginc.com
8(a) revenue for tech contracts: $24.8 million
by Evamarie Socha
Although fast approaching graduation from the 8(a) program, STG Inc. shows no signs of senior slump. When the Fairfax, Va., company graduates in April 2001, it will have grown to an estimated $100 million in annual revenue, approximately 2,000 employees and the No. 3 spot on Washington Technology's Top 25 8(a) and Small Business report.
"From day one, I felt all the time that this would be successful," said Simon Lee, president and chief executive officer. "Eventually, we ventured out, and it helped us to stay strong."
STG Inc. has evolved from a single company with 25 employees to a family of four companies:
? STG Holdings Inc., the parent firm, which performs five core services: systems integration, networking and telecommunications, software engineering, work flow management, and program management and mission support.
? Information 1st Inc., which provides consulting services and advanced IT solutions for government agencies and corporate enterprises.
? eSTG Security Inc., which offers computer security services such as consulting, products, solutions design and implementation.
? STG Security Korea, which assists international clients in their cybersecurity needs.
Among the brightest spots for STG in the past 12 months are a $99 million, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract from the State Department, awarded to the company in September 1999; and a $223 million, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract from the General Services Administration for work for the mid-Atlantic states. In both contracts, STG will offer services from its core competencies.
STG is providing services, either as a prime or subcontractor, to about 18 federal agencies, including the departments of Commerce, State and Treasury. It counts among its corporate partners Cisco Systems Inc., Computer Associates International Inc., Entrust Technologies Inc., IBM Corp. and Microsoft Corp.
STG has teamed with companies that it competes with as well, a situation that Lee said has worked because he insists on always being professional.
"We're not making permanent enemies," he said. "Always, we live by the standard that today's competitor can be tomorrow's teammate. So we fully understand what the business market is."
Lee founded STG in 1986 following work with two other 8(a) firms and MCI Telecommunications. The company's big break in came 1992 when, while working as a subcontractor on a State Department contract, the prime contractor recommended that STG be given a separate contract because it was performing so well, Lee said. STG's share of the deal was about $1.5 million, which allowed Lee to hire about 25 employees.
Lee gave a lot of credit for his business savvy to what he learned while at MCI. "What I learned from MCI helped me out a lot in establishing procedures and guidelines, all that kind of stuff," he said, noting that at MCI is where he learned the importance of a strong infrastructure.
A strong infrastructure and strategic hiring have been two tenets to which Lee has adhered. "Human resources area,
contracts, business development ?
those are very critical to the infrastructure that small companies should build," Lee said.
"I am not saying that we have perfect infrastructure built here, but at this point I think the 2,000-plus employees would not see any problem," he said.
Looking back over everything STG has accomplished, Lee credited the 8(a) program with helping him to realize his goals and then some. "8(a) is a great, tremendous program for the start-up company, for financing and marketing and all that," he said.
"Without the 8(a) program, it's really difficult" to get started in the business, Lee said. "Otherwise, you have to compete against [big companies] and if you are a one-person or 10-person company? No way."
However, he cautions other 8(a) members from doing business strictly within the confines of the program. "If you focus too much on 8(a), then when are you going to prepare how you move out to open competition?" he said.
Lee has used the time under the 8(a) program to experiment and prepare for business after his company graduates. And, he said, he has lived by one slogan: Every day is a new day. "I am happy, but until we see great results ? we bring those companies into the Nasdaq market, IPO, all that ? I admit as a business owner, I have to decide how much risk to take."
RS Information Systems Inc., McLean, Va., www.rsis.com
8(a) revenue for tech contracts: $19.7 million
by Trish Williams
RS Information Systems Inc. is signing up government information technology customers from the intelligence community and law enforcement agencies at a fast clip as it expands its non-8(a) business and racks up revenue worthy of a top-tier player in the Small Business Administration's set-aside program.
Created just one year ago, the company's intelligence communities systems division has already helped capture $35 million to $40 million from this niche, said Rodney Hunt, president and chief executive officer of RSIS, an 8(a) certified corporation based in McLean, Va.
The company has targeted the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and state and federal law enforcement agencies for IT support work that Hunt estimated could represent a $500 million to $1 billion industry. RSIS already has secured key contracts with the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, he said.
The company's overall revenue jumped to $38 million in 1999 from $15 million in 1998. But Hunt forecasts even faster growth ahead, projecting RSIS will hit $90 million in 2000 and $125 million one year later.
By the time RSIS is ready to graduate from the 8(a) program, "our goal is to be a $135 million company," said Hunt, who acknowledged that company officials "may have to talk with SBA about voluntarily graduating from the program." RSIS is not scheduled to graduate until January 2003, but companies whose revenue surpasses a set level exit the program early.
Founded in 1992 by Hunt and Scott Amey, who serves as RSIS executive vice president, the company provides advanced IT and engineering solutions to civilian, defense and intelligence agencies, with 30 percent of its overall business coming from the 8(a) program, said Hunt.
As part of its drive to collect new business, RSIS is targeting both federal and state and local law enforcement agencies. Company officials have "made some great inroads" into the Department of Justice and other state and local agencies "who all need good-quality IT support services," Hunt said.
"We are being sought after by the larger companies that have mandatory 8(a) and small business requirements. Our success as an 8(a) and small business for government contracting has assisted us in launching this niche area for the company," Hunt said.
Approximately 60 percent of the company's 650 employees are women and minorities, according to company data. RSIS, which finished last year with 340 employees, plans to continue growing at a brisk pace. Hunt said the company's employee count will likely swell to 750 by year's end.
Jacqui West, an economic development specialist for the Small Business Administration, said RSIS has "an excellent mix of people in terms of their diversity of staff, and not just technically but racially. They seem to be a great family, and Scott and Rodney work very well together," she said.
The co-founders have a good feel for each other's strengths and they capitalize on them. As a result, she said, "they don't have problems that can crop up where styles clash and nobody knows who's on first."
RSIS has 10 regional offices, including one in Las Vegas that supports the Department of Energy, and a Honolulu office opened in February 1999 to support Air Force bases in the Pacific. Its Cleveland office aids NASA's Glenn Research Center and the Dayton, Ohio, unit supports the Air Force's Aeronautical Systems Division at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
In June, RSIS received Wright-Patterson's Information Technology Support contract, which has a combined ceiling of $75 million and spans five years. RSIS is providing "all of their mission-critical infrastructure support, from network engineering to help-desk services," Hunt said.
Hunt is especially proud of this award because there were 40 bidders and the Air Force made awards to just two companies. Since then, he said, the service has issued 13 task orders and RSIS has won 12 of them.
So what is RSIS' recipe for success? Hunt, who got a full engineering scholarship to Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., and was a minor-league baseball pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals before honing his consulting skills at Booz-Allen & Hamilton Inc., said it's simple: "One hundred percent commitment to performance and excellence. Delighting the customer is our motto."
Not surprisingly, SBA's West is a firm believer that RSIS will continue its winning ways in the government IT arena. "I think they are going to be a company that is around for a long time," she said.Dataline Inc., Norfolk, Va., www.data-line.com
8(a) revenue for tech contracts: $17.6 million
by Christy Harris
Dataline Inc. owner Denise Robinson describes her company as being "obsessed" with customer satisfaction, always striving to live up to its mantra, "under-promise and overdeliver."
"This strategy will yield long-term, profitable growth through customer loyalty," Robinson said.
It seems to have paid off so far. The Norfolk, Va., company had 8(a) revenue of $17.6 million in fiscal 1999 and overall revenue of $31 million. The company's top 8(a) contracts include projects with the Navy Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center in Charleston, S.C., the Navy Fleet and Industrial Supply Center in Norfolk and the General Services Administration's FAST office in Kansas City, Mo.
FAST is GSA's Federal Acquisition Services for Technology, a standardized, national pricing rate structure.
On these jobs, Dataline performs engineering, information technology, video teleconferencing and electronic security services.
The privately held company also provides other IT services, including Internet and intranet consulting, systems integration, local and wide area network design for campus environments, storage solutions and strategic technology planning. A marine services division provides ship support and operations for the Navy.
Government officials can search Dataline's GSA schedule online or use its "Solution Selector," an electronic form to convey requirements.
Dataline also is engaged with the National Institutes of Health on the Image World contract, a federal procurement vehicle designed in accordance with the 1994 Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act. Image World offers a variety of technical services, software and hardware to allow the government to issue one comprehensive purchase order. The length of task orders for professionals and services range from one to five years.
Robinson founded Dataline in 1990 as a hardware sales organization. By 1993, the company began focusing on helping commercial and federal customers upgrade their high-end VMS and Unix servers.
Dataline has grown to more than 250 employees in nine states with offices in the Washington area; Roanoke and Richmond, Va.; Charleston, S.C.; San Diego and Chicago.
In 2000, the company expects 60 percent of its business will be with the federal government and 40 percent with the commercial sector. Fifteen percent will be 8(a) business.
Because IT investments often are only partially realized and are of limited value when left undone, Dataline's strategic technology practice sells a methodology called Solution FrameWork, which promises a complete job.
The application development practice helps customers use the Internet to become more competitive by increasing sales, improving service and cutting the cost of doing business. It also can help firms set up an extranet to include outside customers, vendors and suppliers.
The networks, systems and infrastructure practice specializes in integrating voice, data, video, e-mail, fax and the World Wide Web.
Robinson said her plans for expanding the company are in keeping with her original philosophy ? satisfied customers drive growth.
"Whether we are selling complex storage area networks or implementing a 4,000-seat Exchange Mail system, Dataline maintains its focus on delivering value," Robinson said. "Dataline believes that its focus on high-end technology solutions will allow it to grow in an industry of shrinking hardware margins and tight labor supply."
She also emphasized the importance of employing the most qualified and experienced people.
"Dataline invests heavily in employee training so we can meet our customers' requirements," Robinson said.
Robinson's company makes a concerted effort to keep up with frequent, rapid technology advances, she said. "Dataline is continually looking forward to the next technology wave so that we can be ahead of it," she said. "As a small company, it is a constant challenge to keep up with the massive flow of new technologies."
The firm has chosen to focus on a few key areas ? large-scale and mid-range systems, production systems implementation, enterprise-class systems, networks and applications.
Robinson praises the Small Business Administration's 8(a) program, which Dataline entered in 1994.
"Coming into the federal market, as well as the 8(a) world, we were pretty naive," she said. "Our orientation was commercial, and we expected the marketing cycle to be similar. Our whole set of expectations for the government business had to be readjusted to allow for the totally different culture we found around the government business."
Thanks to the program, Dataline now better understands the federal marketing process and pricing strategy, and has had the opportunity to team with large prime contractors, Robinson said.
But she said that while the company has built 8(a) into its long-term marketing plan, it has not allowed itself to become dependent on 8(a) status. Dataline is scheduled to graduate in May 2003.
ITS Services Inc., Springfield, Va., www.itssinc.com
8(a) revenue for tech contracts: $17.1 million
by Evamarie Socha
A commitment to quality and some new customers are among the factors landing ITS Services Inc. at No. 6 in Washington Technology's Top 25 8(a) and Small Business report this year. This is the company's first appearance in the Top 25 list.
"ITS Services has experienced steady growth with all of our customers because of the quality of the service we provide," said Angela Mason, president of the Springfield, Va., company.
This year, ITS Services projects revenue of approximately $40 million and a staff of almost 300 employees.
The company offers technology support services to government and commercial enterprises, and specializes in three core business areas: telecommunications, information technology and acquisition support services.
Mason said the federal government is "our target customer for the high-end IT services we provide." She founded ITS Services in 1991, and the company joined the 8(a) program in 1994. It is set to graduate from the program in January 2003.
One feather in the ITS Services' cap is the Treasury Information Processing Support Services (TIPSS-2) contract, which was won by 18 vendors and is worth $750 million over five years.
Under the deal, a small business competitive award given July 21, ITS Services will provide information systems, telecommunications and operational support services to the Internal Revenue Service, the Treasury Department and its bureaus.
Mason said TIPSS-2 is "a big win" for ITS Services "because the contract will provide another vehicle for us to continue to grow the work we currently have with the Customs, IRS and other Treasury bureaus."
Another prize for the company was an Aug. 1 award of $1.7 million to furnish IT support services to the Census Bureau's National Processing Center in Jeffersonville, Ind.
Those services include operational, engineering and security support for the center's local area and wide area network infrastructure.
The contract added to work ITS Services already had been tasked by the Census Bureau for the past year under the Census ITS contract.
Mason said the Census Bureau award is important to ITS Services because "we are starting to prove our strengths outside of the metropolitan D.C. area." The company plans to establish an office in Indiana and pursue more work in that region.
The Defense Department is one of ITS Services' new customers. The company this year won deals with the Naval Surface Warfare Center and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, according to Mason.
The Treasury Department, however, is the company's major customer, Mason said. ITS Services supports the U.S. Customs Service, Internal Revenue Service, Secret Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Other major customers include the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Census Bureau.
Another factor Mason called "instrumental" to the company's business growth this year is its Capability Maturity Model rating. The Software Engineering Institute's certified ITS Services software development capabilities to level 2 on its CMM.
All this hard work has not gone unnoticed. The Treasury Department named ITS Services its Small Business Partner of the Year in 1998. Also, in 1997, 1998 and 2000, the company made Washington Technology's Fast 50 list of fastest growing companies in the Washington area. It ranked at No. 29 on this year's list.
Although graduation day is more than two years away, Mason and ITS Services have been planning for it since the company entered the program.
"The company is positioned to succeed after graduation," she said. "Currently, over half of our business is non-8(a) work. We have also successfully competed and won on small business contracts."
Mason said ITS Services' most valuable experience from being an 8(a) participant has been having the chance to develop skills and to compete successfully in both the 8(a) and non-8(a) arenas.
The company has "specifically focused on building our capabilities in marketing and business development, cost strategies and proposal writing and oral presentations," she said.
"We believe our success can be attributed to our focus on understanding federal government contracting, and not just the 8(a) program," Mason said.
Integrated Information Technology Corp., Greenwood Village, Colo., www.integrated-info.com
8(a) revenue for tech contracts: $17 million
by Calli Schmidt
Francisco Garcia started his company in 1991 as a one-man operation. "It was me," he said.
Nine years later, Integrated Information Technology Corp. of Greenwood Village, Colo., debuts at No. 7 on Washington Technology's Top 25 8(a) and Small Business report with more than $17 million in 8(a) contracts out of $18.4 million in overall company revenue and almost 200 employees.
Before striking out on his own, Garcia had worked for another small 8(a) as a subcontractor. These projects allowed Garcia to use his expertise in engineering and installation, network systems and satellite communications, areas that remain IITC's main focus.
The company's largest prime customer is the Air Force research laboratory's materials and manufacturing directorate at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. The contract has a ceiling of $14.5 million. The company also provides satellite communications support at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo., which has brought in between $8 million and $10 million over the last five years.
IITC also is a subcontractor to Harris Corp. of Melbourne, Fla., on that company's $200 million Operational Space Services and Support Contract, which manages and supports satellite control facilities worldwide. IITC is in charge at New Boston Air Station in Manchester, N.H., a project worth $35 million over seven years and includes "everything from controlling the satellites to physical security to maintenance, including garbage disposal and cleaning," Garcia said. Of the 150 people working at New Boston, 100 are under the IITC contract, including waste management subcontractors.
IITC now has a spot on the General Services Administration schedule, and as the company begins to transition out of the 8(a) program, Garcia thinks he'll be able to take his best clients with him. That would make him an 8(a) success story at his March 30, 2002, graduation date, demonstrating that IITC can attract customers "who like our technical ability and want our expertise," and not merely fill Small Business Administration quotas, he said.
It's certainly easier and requires less paperwork for customers to go through the GSA schedule, and because GSA and SBA have agreed to let 8(a) companies decide for themselves how they want to compete for each potential customer, it gives IITC more flexibility, Garcia said.
"A lot of times we don't tell people we're 8(a) because some people have such a negative connotation," he said. Some people believe 8(a) companies are competitive only because they are in a program for the economically disadvantaged and not because they can do the job, he said.
In addition, changes to make the GSA schedule easier to navigate have had the unintended effect of making other vehicles more difficult to slog through. Customers can wait up to 120 days before 8(a) paperwork has gone through all the appropriate bureaucratic channels, and if an agency doesn't need the 8(a) or SBA credit, most, understandably, don't want to take that time, he said.
"We can do the job, and that's icing on the cake. We have people that know satellites inside and out. ... We have a lot of good people, and I'm just the pretty face behind it all," he said.
As he works to increase his business, bidding on "medium, and small-to-medium contracts that together, really add up," Garcia sees IITC's future as remaining in the federal contracting arena because of the company's areas of expertise. Right now, 98 percent of IITC's customers are in the federal government, he said.
As the former Air Force officer and Air Force reservist grows his company, Garcia finds his management skills stretched in different directions, he said.
"We have eight offices in seven states, between 160 and 200 folks" working for IITC at any given time, Garcia said. He visits each site at least quarterly, and the site managers hold a teleconference every Monday morning that includes a weekly activity report of "what's happened that week, concerns, issues and what they're doing from a physical fitness perspective," a side of his managers' lives that is particularly important to Garcia.
"I just want to make sure that they're working out, walking, running or doing something to get that stress off them," he said. With deadline demands and long hours involved with some contracts, "we have had people that were getting sick, not taking care of themselves properly," he said.
Garcia also is trying to get his managers together once a year for a planning retreat that would include a physical fitness component. They did it last year, and Garcia would like it to become an annual event.
"It would be a five-day bonding program that would put emphasis on a lot of different things," he said, including daily walks. "You want to keep [good employees] around as long as possible and you want to keep them healthy. This is my subtle way of taking care of that," he said.KKP Corp., Nashua, N.H, www.kkpcorp.com
8(a) revenue for tech contracts: $16.3 million
by Calli Schmidt
KKP Corp. of Nashua, N.H., made it to the top 10 of Washington Technology's Top 25 8(a) and Small Business report by doing $16.3 million worth of 8(a) business in 1999, mostly in contracts from the Air Force.
But getting company officials to discuss their government projects is a daunting process: Information must be funneled through KKP president Chutchai (Gary) Khanijao, said a company spokesman. And Khanijao, out of the country for much of August, did not return telephone calls requesting an interview.
Founded in the early 1990s, KKP gained 8(a) certification in 1997. The company provides hardware and software procurement and setup, network system definition and installation, training, systems engineering, software engineering test and evaluation, and management consulting services, according to its Web site.
KKP has offices in Bedford, Mass.; Las Vegas; Fort Walton Beach, Fla.; Langley, Va.; and Montgomery, Ala., in conjunction with nearby Air Force commands.
The Bedford office is the site of KKP's work for the Air Force's Electronic Systems Center, based at Hanscom Air Force Base.
Tasked with developing and acquiring command and control systems to monitor potential enemy forces, ESC also is in charge of mission planning systems for pilots, security systems for force protection, the Airborne Warning and Control System, the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System and a number of air traffic control systems. ESC also puts together air traffic systems for foreign governments, including the 767 AWACS for Japan.
KKP has a blanket purchase agreement for ESC's Information Technology Services Program with partners that include ACS Defense Inc., Burlington, Mass.; NCI Information Systems Inc., McLean, Va.; and Science Applications International Corp., San Diego.
After determining the correct configuration and combination of solutions, the company buys, warehouses, ships and delivers information warfare management systems to U.S. Joint Military Tactical operations units worldwide. The company also installs the systems and trains Air Force personnel in their operation.
KKP helps its customers "seamlessly integrate the software you need to accomplish your unique missions," its Web site said. "We recommend, purchase, integrate, test and can provide you the most affordable solution." The company also specializes in migration planning and execution, database planning, design and development and information systems re-engineering.
KKP has provided the Air Force with help "in all stages of systems acquisition and development in command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) arenas," according to the Web site.
SMF Systems Corp., San Ramon, Calif., www.smfsystems.com
8(a) revenue for tech contracts: $15 million
by Christy Harris
A large contract with the Naval Facilities Command and business through the General Services Administration's FAST program have propelled SMF Systems Corp. into the top tier of information technology 8(a) companies.
The San Ramon, Calif.-based company garnered nearly $15 million in 8(a) contracts in fiscal 1999. Thomas Caffrey, executive vice president, said 8(a) work was about 35 percent of SMF Systems' business.
SMF has received more than $20 million to date from the five-year Naval Facilities Command contract, which began in August 1998, Caffrey said. The company developed and maintains an electronic ordering system for the command's 23 locations worldwide, and provides network, enterprise Web and help-desk services.
The custom, online shopping and ordering system allows Naval Facilities Command customers to securely purchase computers, printers and other IT products directly from SMF.
Sales through FAST, GSA's Federal Acquisition Services for Technology, have helped make SMF's newest group ? Systems Solutions ? its biggest and fastest growing, Caffrey said. Systems Solutions provides IT products and turnkey services to the government.
"This group has shown explosive growth," he said. Since it started in August 1995, it has completed more than 1,200 deliveries or task orders totaling more than $150 million.
About 40 percent of that is FAST business, Caffrey said. SMF was one of the first 8(a) companies in California to participate in FAST, which has a standardized, national pricing rate structure.
Forty percent of Systems Solutions' business is fulfillment of equipment sales. Twenty percent is equipment and services. Another 20 percent is services only, with relatively short-term contracts of about six months or less. The last 20 percent is training and miscellaneous work.
SMF also has been involved in some high-profile contracts helping upgrade security at U.S. embassies and borders.
Teamed with Brown & Root Services, SMF is a subcontractor on the State Department's embassy upgrade program that started after the bombing of the embassy in Kenya in 1998, which killed 213 people. SMF is providing equipment, installation, integration, configuration and design services.
SMF is the prime contractor improving security for the Border Patrol at California ports of entry, and previously provided similar services in Arizona.
SMF Systems, which has grown to more than 200 employees, had been in business for several years before becoming certified as an 8(a) company in 1994.
Caffrey, a former IBM employee, incorporated SMF in 1989 with assets that remained from RGL Inc., a bar-code, data-collection systems company he sold in 1986. His wife, Ruby, joined SMF in 1992 and is president. She is in charge of administrative and financial operations.
SMF previously stood for Systems Management Facilities, but that name no longer reflects its business, Caffrey said.
The company's work is split into three groups: Systems Solutions, Security Systems Services and Technology Services.
Sixty-five percent of the Security Systems group's business is commercial and 35 percent is with the federal government, Caffrey said.
The government side of the business is sold directly to about 100 high-security installations worldwide, such as Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio and Scott Air Force Base in St. Louis, he said.
Technology Services provides long-term professional services, usually under contracts lasting from three to five years. The group provides the government with IT professionals such as high-level programmers, network administrators and designers. Caffrey said the company has about 150 people billed out full time at about 20 agencies.
Employing IT professionals through contractors is easier and often more economical for the government than direct hiring, Caffrey said. "You may need a subject matter specialist for a period of time, but you don't need him for 20 years," Caffrey said.
One way Caffrey plans to grow the company is by picking up more work in civilian agencies to balance out its Defense Department clients, many of whom are located on the Pacific Rim.
Caffrey said SMF's 8(a) business probably will drop to about 25 percent, and that the company likely will graduate early.
"It has helped us with a lot of opportunities, but we're not 100 percent dependent on it," he said. "It helped us understand the government business. It got us into it.
"We mentor," he said. "We give back to the program. I think it's very valuable. The 8(a) program is what you make of it."AHTNA Development Corp., Anchorage, Alaska, www.ahtnadevelopment.com
8(a) revenue for tech contracts: $14.1 million
by Heather Hayes
Although it's set to graduate from the 8(a) program in just three years, AHTNA Development Corp. recently changed course drastically, moving away from a strict focus on operations and maintenance to a foray into the information technology market.
The effort is a long way from its roots. Started in 1975, this subsidiary of AHTNA Inc., one of 12 instate Alaska regional corporations created by Congress in 1971 under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), had previously earned its money in the construction and building management fields. First the firm was a contractor during the building of the Alaska pipeline and later it was an 8(a) contractor for defense bases and federal prisons.
At present, it holds operations and maintenance contracts with the Justice Department, Veterans Affairs, Army, Navy, Air Force and the National Park Service.
"In Alaska, we're pretty used to the whole boom-and-bust cycle," chief operating officer Dave Maiero said. "We took a look at where we thought the markets were booming and IT was one area that fit that bill."
Not that the tribal-owned company, which currently has 150 employees, made the decision in a vacuum. In 1998, AHTNA Development Corp. won a lucrative subcontracting role on the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Records Management System. The win added a great deal to the firm's coffers, which grew from $3.1 million in revenue in 1997 to $32 million in 1999. The contract ran out earlier this year, but Maiero said the company has definitely gotten the technology bug.
"Our goal is solid, steady, stable growth, not just in revenue but knowledge and performance," he said, noting that the company's projected revenue will drop to $15 million in 2000 but is expected to climb back up to $23 million in 2001. "We don't cut this thing apart, thinking we have to win a set number of IT work to be successful. We have a path that we're pursuing."
That path means targeting what Maiero calls low-tech, rather than high-tech, projects, specifically the areas of records management, imaging and help-desk services. The reasoning? Employees can more easily be brought up to speed with less technical fields.
"If we combine our solid records management background with a strong imaging presence, we will have a top-notch service offering," he said, adding that health-care services represent another market AHTNA is planning to enter. "As for help desk, that's another opportunity that we see as unending. Our goal is to apply those services basically as an e-commerce function and keep the operation close to home regardless of who we're serving in the lower 48 states."
Already, the company is pursuing several imaging and records management opportunities, as well as high-tech operations and maintenance contracts. Most recently, it won a prime contracting position on an Army Simulation, Training and Instrumentation Command (STRICOM) project known as the Artillery and Chemical Trainers-Lifecycle Contractors Support (ACT-LCC) contract, awarded earlier this year, to perform operations and maintenance on high-end warfare training simulators at five Army bases. The effort allows the company, which earns an estimated 80 percent of its revenue from 8(a) contracts, to combine its core focus with its newer one.
"There are many elements such as data gathering and presentation that definitely fall under the IT banner," he said.
To make the most of the time and resources it has available as an 8(a) contractor, AHTNA Development plans to use the Small Business Administration's mentor/protégé program. "You don't just start from ground zero and become an IT specialist," he admitted. "So we are constantly in the hunt for partners that provide a very specific service and match our targeted core businesses. And it's even better if that company is recognized by the federal government as a top performer."
Maiero explained that most of the company's employees are shareholders in the company. The tribal members were brought in when the corporation was set up under the ANCSA, and part of the mandate requires AHTNA Development Corp. to pursue profitability and train shareholders and bring them into the work force.
"That's why we're going in more low-tech areas on which people can be trained with the proper mentors and programs," he said. "We recognize the shortage of personnel in the high-tech areas like programming and networking and we don't want to compete for outside personnel and deal with the high turnover that comes with that type of competition. With records management, imaging and help desk, we feel that we can train our staff [with] new skills and new abilities and provide good solid careers within the company."