MicroTech has gotten help along the way from the Small Business Administration's 8(a) Business Development Program. Participants get four years to develop their business and five years to transition to the mainstream, undergoing annual reviews to certify their continued eligibility.
"Our transition's actually going to be relatively easy," Mr. Jimenez says. "The last two years, we've been the most successful nontribal-owned 8(a). It's unique because Hispanics just have not traditionally held that No. 1 8(a) status. It's not based upon the amount of business we do as an 8(a), it's based upon the fact that we do a lot of business and we are an 8(a)."
But they're keeping their eyes open. "Even though it's a small amount of our business," he says, "we're aware that it's going to close a door for us."
Word Is Out
MicroTech is now the prime contractor on more than 100 federal projects for civilian agencies and the armed services, including the Army's $2.5 billion Operations, Planning, Training and Resource Support Services (OPTARSS II) contract. The company is a Service- Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) and is ISO 20000 and ISO 9001:2008 certified.
About 70 percent of its business comes from the federal government and about 20 percent from Fortune 500 companies, with the other 10 percent deriving from state, local and foreign governments.
"We just did some really neat stuff with Australia," Mr. Jimenez says, "that unfortunately I can't talk about."
But the word is out. "We get a lot of referrals from people who are in government and then leave government and go to work for Fortune 500 companies," he says. The company's domestic client list includes SAIC (Science Applications International Corp.), Lockheed and Bank of America, while its overseas customers include the United Arab Emirates, the Vatican and Latin American countries.
Right now, MicroTech is particularly excited about the launch of its Innovation and Integration Center (I2C) on July 19. Opened with a grand reception July 21, the new technology center, located at MicroTech's Virginia headquarters in the Dulles Technology Corridor, focuses on next-generation solutions for virtualization, private cloud, hybrid cloud, green technology and UCC.
The I2C will demonstrate proofs of concept and conduct pilot programs, according to a company press release, along with regular demonstration, configuration, evaluation and testing of commercially available off-the-shelf (COTS) products.
"We're watching what's going on in the communities we support -- technology, unified communications in particular, cloud computing," says Mr. Jimenez. "We're figuring out ways to put ourselves in their shoes and understand what they're going to need, and design and develop solutions for those needs in advance of being asked."
One of MicroTech's "big credibility checks" came aft er the 2008 election, when the company provided IT support for President Obama's transitioned into the off ce. "That the administration chose a Hispanic company was just huge," says Mr. Jimenez. "We ran around telling everybody. And then we got this call saying, 'Stop. You can't tell anybody.' "
When Mr. Jimenez began his business, "I sat at my kitchen table and hoped I would be able to -- maybe, if I was luck -- employ five or 10 people," he says. "And today I provide jobs for over 700 people. I'm a pillar of my community when seven years ago my community didn't know who the heck I was."
He was just another retired Army officer, he says. But now, "I get phone calls from my governor, I get phone calls from my congressman, my senators, my president, asking me to help them, when I'm thinking, 'Wow, it's a pleasure, it's an honor, to be in a position where I can do this.'
"I pinch myself, I'm so afraid I'm going to wake up from an amazing dream," he says.
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