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FCW : September 15, 2016
September 15, 2016 FCW.COM 27 F rom veteran-owned firms to companies located in Historically Underutilized Business Zones, the 2016 Washington Technology Fast 50 covers a wide range of small businesses that are finding success in the federal market. To qualify for consideration for our annual list, a company must have been in business for at least five years and fall into one of the government’s small- business categories. This year’s rankings are based on revenue growth from 2011 through 2015. Those five- year growth rates range from 46.63 percent for the No. 50 company to a scorching 254.99 percent for the No. 1 company. Likewise, the companies run the gamut of small businesses in the federal market, including those owned by service-disabled veterans or women, those that qualify for the government’s HUBZone or 8(a) programs, and companies with no socioeconomic preference. No. 1 on the 2016 rankings is FedBiz IT Solutions, a Leesburg, Va., company located in a HUBZone. Agencies are supposed to spend 3 percent of their prime- contracting dollars with such companies, but that goal is the toughest one for agencies to meet. Only 1.8 percent of prime contracts went to those businesses in fiscal 2015, according to the Small Business Administration’s annual procurement scorecard. FedBiz IT Solutions’ five-year compound annual growth rate of 254.99 percent shows that HUBZone companies are capable of delivering value to the government. A key to the company’s success has been its strategy to pursue a wide range of contract vehicles and standardize its procedures in much the same way a large company does — by becoming ISO 9001 certified. “My strategy has always been: Federal agencies buy from government contracts,” said Don Tiaga, president of FedBiz IT Solutions. “So we will continuously go after new contracts to expand our business.” This is the second year in a row that a HUBZone company has led the Fast 50. Last year, n2grate of Greenbelt, Md., was No. 1. This year, the company is ranked No. 2 with a five-year growth rate of 171.59 percent. Besides the various small-business categories represented on the Fast 50, the companies also cover a wide range of capabilities. They are value- added resellers, they are consultants, and they offer professional and IT services. The activities they support include cybersecurity, training, data analytics and cloud computing. For example, ApplyLogic Consulting Group (No. 26) has developed its own project management tool that tracks budgeting, scheduling and monitoring. “In a day and age where the budgets are shrinking and the cost of labor is having to go down with the [lowest price, technically acceptable]...we see some interest and activity in this particular proprietary tool we developed,” said Jeff Ramella, ApplyLogic’s founder and president. Many of the companies on the list hold spots on some of the largest task-order contracts in the federal market, including NASA’s Solutions for Enterprise- Wide Procurement, the Department of Homeland Security’s Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading- Edge Solutions II, the Navy’s SeaPort-e and the General Services Administration’s One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services. There is also customer diversification across the rankings, with a broad set of civilian and defense agencies. Many companies focus on a few major customers located near their headquarters, which is why some are based near major military installations in Quantico and Stafford, Va., and Mount Pleasant, S.C. However, the executives we spoke with plan to expand beyond their base as their companies grow. “What we want to do is take our core capabilities and...grow them outside of [the Defense Information Systems Agency within the Defense Department],” said Jacquie Sipes, co-founder and CEO of Tapestry Technologies (No. 47). “And then we’d also like to expand into other federal space.” n Mark Hoover and Hannah Lang contributed to this report. 0915fcw_026-028.indd 27 8/23/16 1:12 PM
August 30, 2016
September 30, 2016