2006 Fastest-Growing 100® Companies Anthony Terrazas says if you're planning to hunt elk in Montana you better hire an experienced guide. Otherwise you may find yourself lost in the wilderness.
Mr. Terrazas, CEO of TerraHealth, Inc., the No. 1 ranked company on the 2006 Hispanic Business 100 Fastest-Growing
Companies directory, uses the elk hunting in Montana caveat to demonstrate how important it is to have the knowledge and foresight needed to navigate challenging business terrain.
Much of TerraHealth's 8,338 percent five-year growth rate is due to the specialized knowledge Mr. Terrazas gained
while working as a Medical Service Corps officer while on active duty with the U.S. Air Force. His knowledge of the
Department of Defense procurement systems and military healthcare missions drove TerraHealth gross sales figures
from $180,000 in 2001 to $15.19 million in 2005.
Founded in 2001, TerraHealth provides medical staffing, consulting, and IT support for hospitals and other healthcare providers. A separate division, organized in the company's third year of operations and named Total Warfighting Support, literally bolsters Department of Defense war-fighting missions through IT, engineering, staff augmentation, consulting, and training.
"Companies that have little to no government experience should hire that expertise to assist in navigating through
the administrative requirements and unique environment of each agency," Mr. Terrazas says.
Cash flow and acquiring management talent are the two biggest challenges any startup must overcome, Mr. Terrazas explains. "Companies are made and lost based on their engines," he says, and people are the engine."We don't want to hire any gods in our company. What we want are team players with talent for business development."
TerraHealth's first contract came from the San Antonio Housing Authority for a grant-funded program review that
was completed in half the allotted time. That led to several more contracts from the housing authority and with each successful completion, the company's reputation grew.
The company's minority status helped to level the playing field with large companies. Terra applied for Small Business Administration 8(a) status which, upon approval, enabled it to receive federal procurements for as much as $3 million.
Mr. Terrazas is a big fan of small-business advocates such as the SBA and military programs designed to work with small businesses. "Although competitive and with smaller profit margins, the federal small-business markets and programs allow for good opportunities with longer-term contracts," he says.
Positioned to double its gross sales in 2006, the company just received a 10-year contract to provide medical staffing to the U.S. Air Force, providing doctors, dentists, nurses, technicians, and other support personnel to U.S. Air Force installations throughout the country. Terra is one of five teams to win contracts totaling $1.9 billion, and currently has personnel deployed in 22 states and Germany with plans to expand globally through acquisitions.
"I will be putting my team up against the biggest and best in our industry in head-to-head competition
for government contracts," Mr. Terrazas says. "Our engine, rates, and positive past performances give us the advantage."
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