"My first large account was a company that contracted me for a long-term project," said Vargas. "I was able to go into that company and examine it, pull together a marketing plan, talk about repositioning them, and helped them with their sales and business development."
He also trained the company's executives on communications and dealing with the media.
"For the first time I was able to take a client and work with them in all sorts of things from soup to nuts. I did it and I did it successfully. So then I was able to say, 'Hey, if I can do it for this company, I can do it for others.'"
The company was Cascade Technologies, and it is still a valued client of VARCom. An award winning IT and professional consulting federal contractor, Cascade Technologies' revenue has increased by 500 percent since VARCom began supporting it. It's little wonder that VARCom Solutions' client list also includes notable businesses like Microtech, the U.S. State Department, AARP, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield.
A Business Leader
Vargas also joined the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce as its Chairman. He is the first Hispanic to chair a mainstream, traditional Chamber of Commerce in the history of the Commonwealth of Virginia. In that role, he seeks to establish a vision for the organization and rally its members and the community. So far, he's been influential in helping to save a major project called "The Rail To Dulles" Project, a plan to extend the Washington, D.C. Metro System out to Dulles International Airport in Virginia.
The project nearly died because the Federal Government did not pony up $900 million it had promised to give. That money was 20 percent of the total of the project. "Without that money, we couldn't go forward," said Vargas.
Vargas took action, leading the Chamber to form a coalition with other Chambers, business groups, civic organizations and citizens to pressure the federal government to follow through. Eventually the $900 million were restored. Phase One of the project is expected to be done by 2013 and Phase Two -- the final run to the airport -- will be completed by 2016.
Vargas has also taken steps to encourage growth for Hispanic entrepreneurs. He founded a networking group for Hispanics involved in government contracting.
"The network brings together successful Hispanic-owned companies with the goal of encouraging them to form joint ventures, alliances or partnerships," he said.
The group also introduces Hispanic business owners to representatives of Federal managers and large prime contractors to assist in developing relationships.
"The idea is to find new teaming opportunities," said Vargas. The network is called Hispanic GovCon Network.
Community Service And Politics
Despite his success, Vargas has not forgotten his roots.
"I know what it is like to be poor," said Vargas. "I believe in a 'hand-up,' not necessarily a 'handout'. I especially want to help kids because I see parts of communities that have been written off, like I was when I was growing up. I know that there are diamonds in the rough, wonderful young people who need encouragement and hope."
In addition, Vargas is strongly involved in national and state politics. He is the National Chairman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly (RNHA). With more than 20 state chapters, the RNHA interacts with voters at the grassroots level discussing core Republican values. The Assembly was started in 1974 as a part of the Republican National Committee when George H.W. Bush was chairman of the Republican Party.
Vargas is a strong advocate of getting Hispanic youth involved in politics. He was involved with a Voto Latino online campaign for this purpose. The campaign included a contest that encouraged Hispanics to submit a short video explaining why they should be selected to be an embedded reporter at the Democratic and Republican Party Conventions. Vargas was one of the judges who selected the winners.
A Daunting Task
According to Vargas, the most urgent issues facing Hispanics today are the economy, jobs and taxes followed by health care, education and immigration.
"The War in Iraq is also a major issue because Hispanics are disproportionately represented there in the front lines," he said.
Vargas' business and leadership positions and community involvement give him unique insight into these national issues. However, it's his disadvantaged upbringing and meteoric rise that embodies the spirit of solving those problems.
"When I talk to business people, I tell them to keep an open mind, reach out, and give back" he said. "That's how I've lived my life."
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