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No. 1 (small): Constellation Technologies’ founders built the place where they wanted to work

Bekah Wagner, left, Constellation Technologies's director of operations, and Kirsten Miller-Jones, director of business development, work together at Wagner's home.
Bekah Wagner, left, Constellation Technologies's director of operations, and Kirsten Miller-Jones, director of business development, work together at Wagner's home. (Lloyd Fox / Baltimore Sun)

When software engineers Scott DuBritton and Bryan Wyatt started Constellation Technologies in 2008, they had one goal in mind: to create a company they wanted to work for but could never find.

The longtime friends aimed to provide a work environment in which employees could grow professionally and personally, advance their careers and aid the Department of Defense with its technical and cyber needs.

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But most important, they say, they wanted to treat employees and colleagues with respect and honesty.

“We are the ‘greener grass,' ” Wyatt said. “The company that you didn’t believe existed. One that values people over profit and believes in honesty and integrity above all.”

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In the spirit of partnership, DuBritton became president of the company after he and Wyatt flipped a coin. Constellation Technologies now has 40 employees, including system engineers, system administrators, software engineers and staff members running business development and operations. John Ommert, the company’s third partner, joined the team in 2014.

Most of Constellation’s employees, including the three partners, work at contractor sites, so the company does not have a brick-and-mortar location. That doesn’t stop team members from treating each other like family.

The company sends birthday cards and special-occasion gifts to employees and hosts regular happy hours and dinners to encourage employee interaction and celebrate the company’s success.

The company also holds annual weekend trips for employees and their families. In 2018, the team went to Rocky Gap Casino Resort in Allegany County to celebrate Constellation Technologies’ 10-year anniversary, and this year the company paid for an overnight trip to Hershey Park.

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“It’s surprising how close we are,” said Rony Pappan, a senior system engineer. “There might be a few people who are on the same contract that [I] work on, but the majority of us are not on the same team or contract, so these outings definitely provide a venue to meet, greet and know people and their families a lot better.”

“We try to keep costs in mind, but we try to find things where the entire family can participate and enjoy the fruits of our labor,” added Bekah Wagner, the director of operations. “Being a virtual company, we don’t have rent, we don’t have brick-and-mortar, we don’t have utilities or snack machines and water coolers … all those exorbitant things that come with owning a space. We’re able to take those funds and push them back to the employees.”

Rank Company Founded Ownership Sector Locations Employees
1Next Century Corp.2002PrivateSoftware development & consulting2154
2Cummings & Co. Realtors2006PrivateResidential real estate10391
3The Harbour School1982NonprofitPrimary/secondary school2179
4McDonogh School1873PrivatePrimary/secondary school1387
5Loyola Blakefield1852NonprofitPrimary/secondary school1166
6Notre Dame Preparatory School1873NonprofitMiddle and high school1161
7Skyline Technology Solutions LLC2004PrivateInformation technology & devices2223
8Network Building + Consulting LLC1984PrivateWireless communication services2168
9Advance Business Systems1964PrivateBusiness & technology solutions1151
10Beth Tfiloh Congregation & School1921NonprofitSynagogue/Day School2277
11Continental Realty Corp.1960PrivateProperty management40236
12NFM Lending1998PrivateMortgage lending11265
1314 West Administrative Services2001PrivateBusiness services5380
14Corporate Office Properties Trust1998PublicReal estate investment trust7281
15CGI Federal1976PublicBusiness and IT consulting2153
16Wallace Montgomery & Associates LLP1975PartnershipEngineering1215
17Morgan Properties1985PrivateProperty management30282
18The Bryn Mawr School1885NonprofitEducation1203
19Humphrey Management1983PrivateProperty management19194
20Stansberry Research2001PrivatePublishing1154
21Agora Financial2004PrivatePublishing5275
22Baltimore Country Club1898PrivateClub & golf course2275
23Personal Genome Diagnostics2010PrivateBiotechnology2200
24The St. Paul's Schools1849NonprofitPrimary/secondary school1305
252nd Family Home Care and Support Services2011PrivateHome health care1253
26Money Map Press2007PrivatePublishing1219
27NewDay USA2002PrivateMortgage Lending1399
28AECOM1970PublicEngineering6240

Each Constellation employee can use up to $4,000 a year for continuing education or job training. Pappan used it this fall to attend an Amazon conference in Las Vegas. Kirsten Miller-Jones, the director of business development, used the money in February to attend an international intelligence association conference in San Diego.

“A lot of companies wouldn’t let their employees do something like that because it can take up a lot of time,” Miller-Jones said. “But they see it as part of my job because they see the benefit of it. Not only am I growing my own career from being a part of it, but I’m getting the company name out there.”

Service is also an important component of the company’s culture. Constellation employees donate time and money to several organizations, including Turn for Troops, Boy Scouts of America and Military Cyber Professionals Association.

Along with paying for employees’ company-branded clothing, the company gives employees who do not need health care coverage a $12,000 bonus, paid quarterly.

Another benefit: If the company makes its hiring goal by Dec. 31, it will pay for a five-day cruise to Bermuda for all employees and their family members.

“I love the feeling that we are building something more than a company,” Wyatt said. “You can feel energy in the room when the partners and other [Constellation] leadership meet. You can also feel it with each employee and, at times, you can feel a little jealousy from others as they see the excitement of our employees. It makes all the hard work and long hours worth it when your employees are legitimately happy.”

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