Focus on customers, and profits will follow

TRS Consulting found the IT services that most companies can't do and focused on them as a catalyst for growth

TRS Consulting Inc. has experienced steady growth in its nearly 10 years of existence. But perhaps the company’s most impressive period has been the past five years when company revenues rose from $339,628 in 2004 to $13.41 million in 2008.

That equates to a five-year growth rate of 150.69 percent and puts TRS in the No. 9 spot on this year’s Fast 50. The company’s success also attracted suitors, as it announced in early August that NCI Inc. has acquired it.

Founded in 2001, the Reston, Va., company provides information technology professional services, including software development life cycle support and training to the highly demanding and security-minded intelligence community.

“I had previously spent six years in the intelligence community, so I built a rather unique network of high-end professional" contacts, said T. Richard Stroupe, TRS Consulting’s president and chief executive officer. He previously worked at Oracle Corp. as a senior database administrator for intelligence community clients.

“We started out with just myself, and now we’re just over 60 employees,” he said.

The company’s first award came in 2002 as a subcontractor to Northrop Grumman Corp. for replacing an IBM DB-2 database with an Oracle 9-I database. “That’s really how we got started," Stroupe said. "The first year and a half to two years, we did nothing but Oracle solutions.” 

“We were able to produce the first Oracle cluster database for two agencies within the intell community and teach them how to build Oracle rack clusters,” he added.

Intelligence agencies then began asking TRS Consulting for new and better software development solutions. By then, the company had subcontracts with Northrop Grumman Corp., General Dynamics Corp., Science Applications International Corp. and Lockheed Martin Corp.

“We are a niche provider of IT services that other companies can’t do, so they sub it out to us,” he said.

TRS often works in two-week sprints it calls agile software methodology, involving the stakeholders, developers and project managers in rapidly designing solutions.

The methodology creates new rapidly deployed, open-source technology “that is producing significant results for our customers and the overall intelligence community,” he said.

Stroupe can’t talk about specific contracts or divulge TRS Consulting’s customers in the intelligence community.

The company’s ability to thrive during the current recession is largely because of TRS’ goals and business model, he said.

“We’ve never been really worried about the numbers, on growing the company, blowing the numbers out of the water from a profitability perspective,” Stroupe said. “We’ve always based our success on making sure that the customers are happy and their needs are being met, and the employees are well satisfied in every capacity.”

He added that most of TRS Consulting’s work is repeat business and that the company is on course in 2009 for about a 20 percent increase in business compared to last year.

“We are a better value because we provide services and support at a reduced rate and within a quicker amount of time than they could get support from another large integrator,” Stroupe said.

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