Abacus counts NASA award as its biggest ever

Abacus Technology Corp.'s recent NASA contract win is the largest in the company's history and opens broader opportunities for the small business.

With a nine-year, $898 million contract for information management and communications support, the company now has the credentials to chase other large contracts, said Dennis Yee, Abacus's founder and president.

The win is the largest award in the company's 25-year history and will reverse Abacus' current business ratio of 60 percent Defense Department contracts and 40 percent civilian agency work, Yee said.

"This takes us to the next level as a small business," he said, adding that Abacus' current revenues total about $60 million a year. "We can now compete for other contracts of this size and nature."

Under the contract at the Kennedy Space Center, Abacus Technology will provide all information management and communication services to support the center's space launch operations and related activities.

The Chevy Chase, Md., contractor will furnish personnel, equipment and supplies for voice communications, visual imaging and timing systems. It will also supply transmission and cable systems, computer networks, network IT security and computer services.

Most of the work will be performed at Kennedy Space Center, but some additional services might be provided to the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Patrick Air Force Base, Fla.

"We have several contracts with the Air Force where we actually operate, manage and maintain base-wide communications systems," Yee said.

Yee founded Abacus in 1983 as an independently owned and operated minority business. He was the company's lone employee at the time. Today the successful 8(a) program graduate has 450 employees.

"With the NASA contract, which starts Oct. 1, we'll double that," Yee said. "We will probably have somewhere between 950 and 1,000 people." He said he hopes to hire many of the employees from Indyne Inc., the incumbent contract holder.

Abacus will be the prime contractor and QinetiQ North America, of McLean, Va., will be the primary subcontractor, Yee said. The contract has a five-year base period and four, one-year options. QinetiQ issued a statement saying that the subcontract work would be worth $225 million over nine years.

Yee called the space shuttle a one-of-a-kind program that should allow Abacus to leverage the services it provides to NASA. "I think it will give us the credibility to branch into other areas related to space exploration and launch operations."

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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