Fast 50 : With steady beat Metronome finds its success
- By Stephanie Kanowitz
- Aug 24, 2018
As its name implies, Metronome is keeping a steady beat as it climbs an upward trajectory.
Virgil Virga and his wife, Jennifer, started the company in their Ashburn, Va., basement in 2011, and it’s grown from a two person enterprise to a 175-person business on track to bring in about $25 million this year.
The past year has been particularly busy, as Metronome has hired more subject-matter experts and refined its work providing cloud management, cybersecurity, data management, intelligence support, and mission support for the Defense Department, intelligence community and other federal customers as a prime and subcontractor.
“When I sat down in my chair in our basement in Ashburn, I stapled an index card right in front of my face, and it had five values on it,” Virgil Virga said. “They were important to us then – and ‘us’ was me and Jen at that point – but with each person that came on, those values were repeated.”
He called the company’s success amazing. “From the days of sitting in my chair by myself…to today when we are implementing ISO 9000, writing massive prime contracts and having COOs and vice presidents and lawyers and whatnot,” said Virga, the company’s president and cofounder.
But the formula is also simple, he added: “We win contracts, we get great employees, we make our customers happy and we use that to win new contracts.”
The company uses a four-step strategy: understanding the current state; stakeholder ownership in their roles; improving through hiring, training and events such as conferences; and creating. “If we’re always improving, we’ve got to be creating new processes, new ways to get in to see our customer, and new ways to really execute on the things that we’ve been trying to do.” Virga said.
Metronome holds the No. 44 spot on the 2018 Washington Technology Fast 50 list of the fastest-growing small-business contractors.
Virga built Metronome on five core values: passion, improving, teammates, mission and celebrating successes. He attributes the company’s success to those, saying they have helped attract dedicated, smart employees.
Virga also wants Metronome to stand out in the government contracting crowd. He calls employees Pulsers and the work pipeline a playlist, for example, as one way to liven up what he says is a largely uniform industry.
“There are a lot of things that are the same,” Virga said. “You talk about winning prime contracts, you talk about the agencies you serve, you talk about your growth, your numbers, your FTEs, but there’s so much more to that. That’s the easy stuff. The hard stuff is having a real bedrock and an infrastructure.”
He expects the company to graduate from its small-business status in about three years. To keep it on that path, “we’ve got to ensure that we’re doing great work and having great relationships with our customer because all future work is predicated on all work that you’re executing on currently,” Virga said. “I would say 70 percent of the growth is going to come from current business and 30 percent from new lines of business.”
Virga is also planning a strategic acquisition of another small business this year to accelerate Metronome’s capabilities in some areas such as artificial intelligence and machine learning – buzzwords on government campuses these days.
“With success or failure, we as a company have an extremely strong culture and core that can either ground us when it’s too good or help us be resilient to move forward,” Virga said. “There’s always those standing pillars for us to grab onto.”
Stephanie Kanowitz is a freelance writer based in northern Virginia.