A-T Solutions Inc. (Private)
August 27, 2012 Issue
The Most Powerful Name In Corporate News and Information
As One of the Fastest Growing Solution Providers Internationally in the Counter Terrorism Industry, A-T Solutions Inc. is Playing a Critical Role in Creating a More Secure World Helping to Protect People, Infrastructure and Nations
A-T Solutions Inc. is an
internationally recognized leader in counterterrorism providing a full
spectrum of intelligence, training, technology and in-field mission support
to assess threats, provide relevant insight, and deliver innovative
solutions that protect people, infrastructure and nations from terrorist
threats. With the largest team of EOD experts outside the U.S.
government, A-T Solutions offers unparalleled support in the areas
of improvised explosives and chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear
threats, with unique capabilities in weapons technical intelligence,
including forensics exploitation, intelligence and evidence
collection. Acquired by CI Capital and CoVant in 2008, A-T Solutions
supports more than 200 customers in more than 40 countries, including the
departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice and State; the
Intelligence Community; allied nations; state and local agencies; and the
private sector. A-T Solutions is a fast-growing company based in the Tysons
Corner area of Vienna, Va., has an operations and training center in
Fredericksburg, Va., and additional offices in San Diego, Calif.; Larkspur,
Colo.; Niceville, Fla.; Boise, Idaho; Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; Ft. Bragg and
Camp Lejeune, N.C.; Virginia Beach, Va.; and Anacortes, Wash. For more
information, please visit www.a-tsolutions.com.
As President and CEO of A-T Solutions, Dennis Kelly is engaged in operational leadership across the organization and provides strategic vision to ensure that the company delivers consistent, outstanding services to customers while achieving its financial goals.
Mr. Kelly earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering technology from Roger Williams University and a master’s in business administration from the University of Rhode Island. He is a member of the National Defense Industrial Association and the Professional Services Council. Mr. Kelly is an active supporter of the Wounded EOD Warrior Foundation, which current and former A-T Solutions executives founded and support throughout the year through a variety of fundraisers.
Prior to joining A-T Solutions, Ms. Ricci was the Chief Financial Officer of The Allied Defense Group, a publicly traded international defense contractor. In this position, she led all financial management activities including financing, SEC reporting, long-term business planning, and treasury management. Ms. Ricci also successfully restructured the company’s long-term debt and managed an international banking consortium that launched a turnaround of the company’s operations. Furthermore, she implemented an effective system of internal controls to be in compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley while at The Allied Defense Group.
For more than 20 years, Ms. Ricci has worked in foreign and domestic operations for mid-market defense, technology, and manufacturing companies as a senior financial executive. Her experience includes the day-to-day management of finance, accounting, information technology and human resources. Ms. Ricci began her professional career at KPMG as an audit professional.
conducted by: Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – August
Mr. Kelly: A-T Solutions was created so that we could help to create a more secure world by protecting people, infrastructure or nations from the terrorist threats that our world faces today. We are focused on our customer’s mission success and doing whatever we can to help them ensure their success against this growing threat. We do this domestically and internationally so throughout the world with organizations which have a critical security requirement and look to use the most relevant intelligence operational expertise and technologies to deliver solutions, cost-effective and innovative solutions for their biggest problems.
Mr. Kelly: I would say both. We have some customers who come to us that who know exactly what they want; they want a particular expertise such as a bomb technician capability for a training exercise or a training program. They know exactly what they want and we are obviously able to provide them with a solution that meets their needs. There are situations where customers come to us, say they have a problem and tell us they need help solving that problem, and that requires us to apply our innovative minds if you will to what their problem is and come up with the best solution.
Mr. Kelly: The vast majority of what we do is with government, with US government both at the federal level and the state and local level, as well as the internationally.
Mr. Kelly: Obviously, if we just look at the competitive landscape from a government contractor perspective, but we really have a competitive advantage in that we have two important components which make up that advantage. First, it is the unique services that we provide in counter terrorism. There are really no other organizations that can do what we do across all the areas and the customers we support. In the national security infrastructure, we provide support to the Department of Defense, federal law enforcement, and we go down to state and local law enforcement and then certainly allied international governments. There are some companies that provide support to one or two of those components but certainly not across the enterprise. Secondly is our team, and we have a highly talented team, some of the best counter terrorism and intelligence experts in the industry. Many of them are veterans, a good number of our people come from government organizations where they were either in the military or they were federal law enforcement or intelligence community professional. Our team is really what sets us apart. In our team, we have the largest group of former bond technicians in the private sector and that is something that is very unique. The services in that team were really a winning combination for us.
Mr. Kelly: I would say the average services are probably training. We provide a great deal of counter terrorism training for our clients certainly in the area of the IED, the explosive device we hear so much about today around the world, so that would be what people know us most for. What they do not know us most for but it is certainly growing in importance is our ability to support forensics intelligence, which is basically if you have seen the CSI shows, it is applying forensic science to the terrorist threat. For example if an IED or explosive device goes off, we are supporting our customers more and more and picking up the pieces if you will and determining who did it. That is something that is a very fast growing part of our business and I think we are becoming known for it but it is not what people normally think about when they think of our company.
Mr. Kelly: Many people might think what we do should be done by government people versus contractors. We are very respectful. There are certain lines that we do not cross which we think are really more inherently governmental type functions. An example of that would be the actual act of chasing the bad guy down and arresting him or putting him in jail, that is obviously a government job and we will not do that. We are more in a support role and new believe that what we do is very important to our customers because they do not have all the expertise that they need. We provide them not only the expertise in terms of the team and their capabilities but we provide very innovative tool sets, the products to help them do their job, so for us it is not just about the services we provide but it is the products and the innovation that we bring to the game as well. I think our customers are looking for that and the fact that we are able to provide that for them makes our customers more effective so that they can really focus on going and catching the bad guys and we are in the back basically helping them figure out how to do that, how to combat that threat.
Mr. Kelly: We maintain a high level relevancy for our customers. As you point out, technology is changing all the time while the tactics and techniques that the terrorists are changing sometimes many times in a day. We have a network that we call our rapid relevancy network. It is a proprietary process in our company so that when something happens around the world, we analyze it. Our analysts look at it and determine what happened, how it happened, and then we apply those new techniques or technology that they are employing in our training, in our product development, in our curriculum that we developed for our clients. Relevancy is an extremely important part of what we do.
Mr. Kelly: Acquisitions for us are always a strategic initiative. We are not that interested in adding revenue but we are much more interested in adding capabilities where we have wide space in our counter terrorism strategies. A couple of areas that we are interested in are modeling and simulation. We think that our customers are going to demand products and services that incorporate sophisticated modeling and simulation technique. For example, you do not have to necessarily have a bunch of law enforcement officers or soldiers come into a classroom to get training, they train them virtually online with secure networks and what not, so that would be one area. Our special operations forces in the military are a very important part how our government is combating terrorism and we would like to add some capabilities in that area as well.
Mr. Kelly: Budget cuts are something that anybody who is working in the defense community has to be concerned with; we watch it carefully. That being said, we feel that there is perhaps no more important thing that our government does to protect its citizens against terrorist threats. If you think about all the things that government does, arguably, countering terrorism especially in this world in which we live today is job one. The president spoke to it last February when he was at the Pentagon when he was announcing budget cuts, in that same speech he highlighted the areas where we would have to continue to put major investment into because the threat is just too great. Counter terrorism is one of those areas, counter weapons of mass destruction which is another area of expertise that we have, it is another one of those areas. We believe that while budget cuts are coming, we think that the position we have in the marketplace, the services we provide are in such high demand and they are unique in their ability to support our customers missions in mission areas that just cannot be cut, we think we are going to fare pretty well in that. The evidence to that is this year has been a tough year for defense contractors. There are many defense contractors right now that are not even growing in fact shrinking but many are happy just to maintain flat growth right now, no growth. This year we will close at least thirty percent organic growth. We continue to grow in a market that is pretty flat right now and I think that is simply because of where our position is in that market.
Mr. Kelly: ATTAC is a great example of product innovation. Products represent about 15% of our revenue. ATTAC Explorer was born out of ATTAC, which is really a post blast investigative tool. When an IED happens or a bomb goes off, this tool is used by our customers to provide post blast investigation and digital evidence collection as well as story boarding diagramming what happened, so it can be used to prevent future attacks and feed our intelligence system. ATTAC Explorer was really meant to provide the next level of support between forensics labs so that when data is collected on these various events, that data can be shared amongst the lab infrastructure in either a networked or un-networked environment. That product in particular is going to be used by our DOD customer to help manage battlefield forensics labs overseas.
Mr. Kelly: We are continually innovating. Our customers’ missions are always changing and evolving. We are looking for ways that we can best support our customers. If we are not relevant, then frankly we are not supporting our customers. From a business perspective, we are metrics oriented, so we measure our business each month. We have about forty different metrics that we watch for trends, everything from the normal financial metrics, human resources metrics, turnover, business development metrics, our pipeline, our win rate. We look at that each month and I think the numbers do not lie, they really tell us things that help us figure out where we need to take the business and run the business very well. We are very proud of the successes we have had and our metrics based approach has been a big part of that.
Ms. Ricci: What attracted me initially was the mission, it is really great. We talked about the nature of the work we do. The people we work with here are great veterans, great Americans. Many of them have spent many years being in Afghanistan and Iraq. They came back and they still wanted to serve and that is one of the things that when we look at our solutions, the reason why we have the subject matter experts to really help our customers is because they come back and they are in industry at this point in time and they want to serve. What we have here is a collection of these people with these great backgrounds so that is what attracted me initially. Then there is some of the success that we have had, as we have exceeded just about every goal. There have been certain opportunities where we did not have the exact experience they were looking for. However, at the end of the day, when you are a great customer service organization, you get a reputation and people will give you a chance. New customers will come onboard and give you an opportunity, which is what surprised me since I have been here.
Mr. Kelly: Giving back is very important. As Debbie mentioned, many of the folks that we have here at the company used to be in uniform. We have three major areas where we give. One area is our Wounded EOD Warrior Foundation. EOD is explosive ordinance disposal. With the IED threat that our troops have been dealing with overseas, unfortunately, many bomb techs have been killed or maimed in attacks and they do a very dangerous job. Our founder Ken Falke and our COO Jeff Simons established this organization, which is a nonprofit that basically supports families who have wounded EOD techs that come back from war, that is probably our key charity that we support, we do that in a variety of a different ways. There is a golf tournament we do every year and there are a number of fundraisers we get involved with. Another area we are involved with is the USO. Paul McQuillan our executive VP for business development is on the board in the Washington area of the USO, so we give quite a bit to that organization and that organization supports the military. After the tragedy in Afghanistan with the helicopter that had so many SEALS aboard, we felt compelled to get involved with the Navy SEAL Foundation so we have been a supporter of theirs as well. Giving back is important to us, it is something that I think all of our people feel passionate about and I am proud of them for what they do to give back to the community.
Mr. Kelly: For many of our folks, it is ingrained in their culture. Being able to deal with the threat is something they have been doing their whole career. In some cases for people who are say for example former military, the fact that they are actually not in direct combat roles now is a bit of relief for them because if you will we are in more of a support role now. That does not mean we are not exposed to horrible things and there is a stress associated with it, but it is certainly not at the same level as they experienced in uniform. We also have a good human resources group here that when somebody is having difficulty dealing with a stress situation or what not, we have resources that we do provide to our people to deal with the stress of the job. We have a hotline program that they can call into and speak with somebody if they are having a particularly stressful situation. We have a great medical plan that includes counseling and so forth. Occasionally that does come up but I think overall the stress levels probably for many people who have been doing this their whole lives is a little less than it was when they were in uniform.
Mr. Kelly: As a company, we will continue to support our customers in the Department of Defense. We think that the law enforcement community is more and more going to need our support. We provide much support to them now but we think it is probably unfortunately a growth market because as we have seen, terrorists have tried numerous times over the last decade to attack us beyond 911. Internationally terrorism does not know any borders, so we have seen much terrorist activity around the world. One of the things we did about a year ago is start a joint venture with a company in the UK which is called ATOMTraining, so we are providing some of the services that we have traditionally provided to our US customers and to the international community from a UK joint venture. We think internationally there is going to be a great deal of demand for our products and services.
Mr. Kelly: We are one of the fastest growing solution providers internationally in the counter terrorism industry. Whenever you are a growth leader in the market, that bears some recognition. We are playing a critical role in working alongside truly world-class counter terrorism and intelligence agencies in the US. The allies around the world create a more secure world. As people worry about the world we live in right now, I think terrorism is near the top of their list. Obviously, people are worried about financial stability but terrorism is on many people’s minds as we have seen these horrific events around the world. From a business perspective, our approach to strategic planning, I talked about our management by business metrics; the processes we have established for having creating a very scalable corporate operation that we can grow successfully to meet our customers’ demands. Industry executives might be interested in our approach on that. Those are the two reasons I can think of.
We are one of the fastest growing solution providers internationally in the counter terrorism industry. Whenever you are a growth leader in the market, that bears some recognition. We are playing a critical role in working alongside truly world-class counter terrorism and intelligence agencies in the US - Dennis Kelly
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