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FCW : August 30, 2013
is its name, and when you dig into it, you discover both a personal story and a business decision. Founder Bruce "Ed"Jesson, who started the company as a one- man shop, was looking for a way to get noticed. "It dawned on me that up in the Northern Virginia/Maryland area, you've got 10,000 people with these bumper stickers that say OBX," Jesson said. The abbreviation refers to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, a popular vacation spot. Jesson decided naming the company OBXtek was a good way to get name recognition. And behind the savvy marketing move is the fact that Jesson owns a beach house in the Outer Banks, which he uses as a reward for employees. "We provide our employees, especially some of the ones who go way beyond the call of duty, a week down at the beach house for themselves and their families," he said. At SAVA Workforce Solutions LLC, No. 4 with a CAGR of 156.3 percent, Chris Jenkins isn't the founder, but he might as well be. He was brought in to lead the company in 2006 when it had only four employees. His business story includes the decision to join a company that had two small contracts and was struggling to grow. Step one was refocusing the company to concentrate on solu- tions and subject-matter expertise in law enforcement, the Defense Department and the intelligence community. "We did that because that's the community we understand," he said. A 13-year veteran of the Army, Jenkins was a colonel in the Crimi- nal Investigation Division, where he focused on contract fraud and was involved with the intelligence community. His background has driven SAVA's focus on defense, intelligence and law enforcement customers. Susan Kidd, founder and CEO of DRT Strategies Inc., No. 30 with a CAGR of 70.9 percent, said her company has also found success by staying focused on what it does best and avoiding distractions. Early in her career, Kidd realized that what she liked best about management consulting was getting projects across the finish line and delivering results. When the opportunity arose to start her own company, she jumped at the chance, even though it had never been part of her career plan. "It was all good timing," she said. She launched DRT Strategies when a former co-worker, who had started his own company, was looking for a subcontractor. Her company blossomed, and that is part of the personal story for Kidd. Her parents divorced when she was 12, and she took on several adult responsibilities because she had to help her Korean- born mother navigate U.S. culture. But Kidd is quick to point out that her mother, who worked as a seamstress in a factory when Kidd was growing up, is a critical element of her success with DRT. "I give her a lot of credit," Kidd said. "She was in a tough cir- cumstance, and she definitely instilled a strong work ethic in us." Although the personal stories might vary from company to company, one common element that emerges on the business side is a desire for independence. "I really wanted the ability to design my own career," said Matt Dean, president of Markon Solutions, No. 39 with a CAGR of 57.3 percent. "I didn't want other people to limit my success." That sentiment has been a guiding principle for the company's culture. "Everybody has the opportunity to be a leader," he said. An independent streak is critical in today's market as small businesses struggle against tight budgets and a slower flow of new opportunities. Fast 50 executives say they are seeing small contracts con- solidated into larger ones, and even if those contracts are still tagged as small-business opportunities, the larger size is making companies put more of an emphasis on teaming and partnerships. The tighter market also makes it imperative that companies focus on customers and core capabilities. "If you can understand your customer base, that's where it is at," SAVA's Jenkins said.• 30 August 30, 2013 FCW.COM FAST 50
August 15, 2013
September 15, 2013