Torres takes on the tough jobs
Performing well in harsh conditions is the mantra for Torres AES
- By David Hubler
- Dec 11, 2009
Jerry Torres applies the same philosophy that he learned in the special forces to his business, Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions.
“One of the things we’re trained in doing as a Green Beret is to do the most with the least for the longest,” he said, noting that only about 40 Torres executives manage 1,000 employees and 2,300 independent contractors.
“That’s a very, very low percentage when you consider that your management infrastructure typically can be anywhere from 15 percent up to 35 percent or 40 percent,” he said.
The ability to rapidly build a successful government contracting firm staffed largely with self-starters — and Torres’ degree in organizational psychology — helps account for Torres being named Executive of the Year for companies with less than $75 million in revenue at this year’s annual Greater Washington Government Contractor Awards.
Torres formed the company in 2002 while he was on active duty during Operation Enduring Freedom. “The original vision was frankly to help large businesses and government organizations at the department and agency levels improve their efficiencies, to improve the services to their customers,” he said.
After Torres completed his active-duty tour in April 2004, Torres AE Solutions won its first government contract in January 2005, a $400,000 award to handle security at the Veterans Presidential Ball at Bolling Air Force Base.
The second contract called for Torres to recruit and deploy highly educated linguists to Iraq and Afghanistan in 2006. Supplying linguists to the war zones remains one of the company’s core competencies, a key factor in its yearly growth.
In 2008, Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions earned more than $67 million in government work, including supplying linguists and area experts to the president, the executive branch, top military leaders and top-level diplomats in the Middle East.
“Every person that we supply to them is a highly degreed person, a subject-matter expert in some field and bilingual at the highest levels [of education] and tested by the Department of State,” Torres said.
Torres AE Solutions recently won its two largest contracts, both from the Defense Department. One is a $480 million security and protection award for work in Iraq and the other is a $240 million contract to film U.S. humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan.
Torres said his contractor recruits live in adverse conditions, work extraordinarily long hours and have years of experience in their chosen profession. “We tell them straight up from the very, very start that you’re going to live and work in austere conditions,” he said, “and we’re still able to attract those kinds of people.”
Torres said he is proud that 90 percent of the experts he has placed at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad in the past five years are still working there.
It is not unusual to find Torres there or elsewhere around the globe engaged in the many charitable works he and his company actively pursue, including funding hospitals in southwest Asia and establishing an agricultural engineering and veterinarian program for an indigenous tribe in Colombia that was suffering from malnutrition.
In the United States, Torres mentors several small companies that have State Department contracts worth millions of dollars. Torres AE Solutions provides loans to them and trains their executives in every facet of business, including recruiting, security, human resources and deployment.
“They are themselves elite, focused organizations that will be the [Torres-modeled companies] of the future,” he said. “In three or four years, each of those companies are going to be as large as we are today.”
Return to list of GovCon winners.
David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.