Reginald G. Daniel has made quite a business - a projected $25 million worth this year alone - helping the National Security Agency in consulting and network and systems engineering through his Scientific & Engineering Solutions Inc.
But the company, which last year won a portion of NSA's 10-year, $2 billion project to modernize its information technology systems, has had to rely heavily on the secretive government agency for its growth in the past six years.
Daniel, chief executive officer of the Annapolis Junction business, is counting on his new president, Ron Ross, to change that.
"Not enough attention was given to closing current business opportunities," Daniel said. "The skill our team has is applicable to other agencies, like the Department of Defense. Ron frees me up to engage Fortune 100 companies and focus on the strategic direction of the company."
Daniel, named a Maryland Entrepreneur of the Year last year by Ernst & Young, has said his goal is to see his company become a $100 million business.
Founded in a basement
SES has skyrocketed in six years from a seedling founded in the basement of Daniel's home with $100,000 of his own money to a near-100-employee company that had revenue of $21 million last year.
The computer services company helps clients develop and enhance their computer networks, systems or software. One of its key areas is information assurance - the process of assuring that information sped through external networks is not tampered with.
The company has had contracts with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Lockheed Martin Corp. and GTE Government Systems Corp.
But to tap into other government agencies, SES has made the right move in bringing in a new president, says Keith Bickel, managing director of the Bickel Group, a market research firm in McLean, Va., that focuses on federal contracting.
"The key issue in cracking into the other markets ... is really the quality of your marketing link. You pretty much have to hire someone that comes out of that market already. Your ability to cold sell into that market is almost nil," he said.
Ross, former president of Compaq Federal LLC, has spent several years helping companies such as the Virginia-based CACI International and Computer Sciences Corp. obtain government contracts, particularly with defense agencies.
That kind of background is "just gorgeous," for a small company like SES, Bickel said.
"If he did [defense work] and not intelligence at CSC, he's going to have some breadth and depth," Bickel said. "If nothing else, he knows how the game is played."
Ross said he wants to see SES move into more defense agencies and state and local government. He also wants to help SES begin bidding on jobs as a prime contractor, and use its engineers to coordinate products from several companies to help a client.
"Most companies don't know how to leverage large technical companies," Ross said. "Part of the [advantage] we have is we've got connections in intelligence."
The company has hired a new executive vice president, William Korink, to oversee its intelligence business sector, and Ross said he is looking into the possibility of opening an office in Denver, home to several defense agencies that are at the heart of the defense department's information technology.