A small Virginia company wins a four-year, $22 million contract with the U.S. Coast Guard.
By Derek Reveron
In 1992, Dennis Garcia founded Potomac Management Group Inc. as a part-time business run out of his home in Alexandria, Virginia. At first, the one-man information technology and logistics consulting firm survived on small purchase-order contracts from government contractors.
But last year, PMG had sales of $1.9 million – a leap that represents a doubling of revenue almost every year, but still a small player in the government contracting industry. All the while, Mr. Garcia never gave up competing for the big contracts. His efforts finally paid off earlier this year when PMG landed a five-year, $22 million deal to provide administrative, management, and technical support services to the U.S. Coast Guard's headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Even as PMG has grown, so has the critical-mass threshold for federal contractors. Now the company must make the transition to fledgling star in the world of high-tech procurement. Mr. Garcia, now age 30, expects to post revenues of more than $8 million in 2000. His work force has doubled to about 50 employees over the past year and will get even larger in coming months. PMG now has offices in Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Virginia; Denver; Albuquerque; Washington, D.C.; and Mayport, Florida. PMG's multiple offices make it easier to land the kinds of contracts that will help the company grow, says Mr. Garcia.
"The $22 million contract is a launching point to take us to the next step," says the CEO. "We are solidifying an infrastructure that will be strong enough to carry us forward to eventually land larger government contracts and commercial contracts, and to diversify."
The meteoric rise has earned PMG plenty of attention. In January, Washington Technology magazine ranked the company 17th on its list of the 50 fastest-growing companies in the Capital region. The Alexandria Chamber of Commerce named PMG the professional services firm of the year for 1999. It July, it ranked number 25 among the HISPANIC BUSINESS 100 Fastest-Growing Companies.
Yet most of the company's growth comes from that one $22 million deal. Under the agreement, PMG provides Web design and development, economic analysis, technical writing and editing, conference planning, and other services to the Coast Guard. The company also supplies staff ranging from expert economists and oceanographers to administrative assistants and graphic designers.
The contract will mean a steady revenue stream of more than $4 million per year for the next four years. Just as important, says Mr. Garcia, the deal lends PMG positive mentions in the word-of-mouth network of Washington-area agencies and contractors. "People are starting to know who we are," he explains. "As we perform well on our largest contract, people will start looking at us for other work."
To continue its growth trajectory, the company must prove it's not a one-contract company. Already it has two other multimillion-dollar contracts. Under a $4 million deal with the Navy's fleet and industrial supply center in Norfolk, Virginia, PMG will provide staff and equipment to handle cargo shipping to ports and airports. For another $3 million contract with the U.S. Geological Survey's Eastern Publications Group, the company analyzes, maintains, and updates databases. It also converts library material into digital format, and at one point it rescued from permanent loss more than $3 billion worth of scientific data, ensuring that it would be available to the scientific community on the Web.
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