Justin McKnight wanted to work for a small technology company, and he wasn’t afraid to admit it. So five years ago, he set aside plans to work for a larger company and called Resolute Technologies directly about a job.
“I’d already experienced bureaucracy working with this big firm, so I didn’t want to do that again,” the information systems security engineer said. “A lot of times, with a smaller company you’ll have lower overhead … and you have more flexibility.”
He expected a call back — just not from Jennifer Walker, Resolute’s president and CEO. Walker scheduled a meeting with him, and McKnight soon got the job.
“She was so proactive,” he said. “I thought, ‘Something’s different about this company.’”
Walker said she founded the Columbia-based technology firm in 2013 because of her “patriotic passion to support this great country” and because she loves taking care of people.
“I truly care about each and every person at Resolute and their families,” she said. “I want them all to succeed in their career goals, in their life passions. For me to be able to play a small role to help them just brings me joy.”
Resolute has more than 90 employees, most of whom work on U.S. Department of Defense contracts. Company benefits include $5,250 a year for training and education (up to $2,500 of that can be used to pay student loans), profit share bonuses, identity theft protection, Amazon Prime memberships, a day off during the employee’s birthday month and, new in 2020, a pet adoption benefit. Employees receive $400 when they adopt a pet and can use the money for veterinary bills or pet supplies. The firm also sponsors local middle and high school robotics teams and hosts regular social events for employees.
“At every one of the big events, like the summer picnic and the holiday party, [Walker] puts a goody bag together,” said Rob Jett, Resolute’s chief technology officer. “It’s almost like you went to the Grammys.”
This year, the pandemic prevented Resolute from having its annual summer picnic at Hersheypark. To make up for it, Walker gave employees bags filled with beach towels, insulated cups, protective face masks and hand sanitizer. Those personal touches, along with Walker’s ongoing support, help create the company’s family-like feel, Jett said.
“From the day I met her, I felt like she was my sister, which is different for a CEO,” he said. “When you’re talking to her, she’s listening. She wants to hear what you have to say, and she responds [whether] you’re talking kids or you’re talking contracts.”
Since McKnight joined the company four years ago, he has earned several certifications and is working toward a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity using Resolute’s education benefits. He said the job has given him the flexibility he was searching for and so much more.
“What Resolute does well is they don’t leverage any unnecessary weight on my life,” he said. “They provide me space, benefits, time, resources and are just generally there for me. No added pressure or responsibilities. That’s what a great contracting firm should do for its employees.”