Fairfax County once again leads the fast-growing Fantastic 50, and company execs explain why

The Virginia Chamber of Commerce Fantastic 50, a compilation of fast-growing companies in the Commonwealth, again highlighted the fact that Fairfax County is a great place for young companies to take root, blossom and branch out.

For the second consecutive year, 19 of the 50 companies recognized for growth hailed from Fairfax County — and four of those 19 were ranked in the top 10.

Representatives of the Fantastic 50 companies gather for a group photo. Shueyb Ali, president and CEO of World Services LLC, is front and center with his firm’s Vanguard Award. (Photo, Virginia Chamber of Commerce)

To be eligible, a company must be privately held, headquartered in Virginia, and show revenues between $200,000 and $200 million. Companies were judged on revenue history from 2014 through 2017, with entries verified by professional services firm Dixon Hughes Goodman.

The fast-growing companies, also recognized by Virginia Business magazine, were honored at a May 2 awards banquet at the Westfields Marriott in Chantilly.

In addition to ranking seventh overall, World Services LLC from the Kingstowne area of the county, also was honored with a Vanguard Award as the leading growth firm in the technology sector with a growth rate of nearly 985 percent from 2014 to 2017.

“It’s about our people and our culture,” said Shueyb Ali, president and CEO of World Services. The company, founded in 2010, now has nearly 80 employees. “IT modernization has probably been our biggest (development area). We’re taking our clients’ legacy systems and bringing them to the cloud.”

Ali said that being located in Fairfax County has help to attract customers and the right workforce to handle tasks requiring skills in software development, system engineering, enterprise architecture and data science.

“Luckily, this is a hotbed,” he said. “Being so close to the nation’s capital, we have been close to so many federal government contractors and we’ve found there’s usually a good range of people we can pull from. We’ve been very fortunate to find the right people that fit our culture. We create values that we feel work really well with our technologies.

Alpha Omega Integration LLC, headquartered in Tysons, was a Vanguard Award winner in the services sector last year and ranked fourth overall on this year’s Fantastic 50 with a 204-17 growth rate of more than 1,500 percent.

“Creating a culture based on integrity, innovation, customer focus, accountability and teamwork has helped us grow and succeed,” said Gautam Ijoor, Alpha Omega’s president and COO. “Operating in Fairfax County helps us with (those) core values.

“To question the status quo, think outside the box and develop solutions that are disruptive innovations, we need a well-educated, high performance and intellectual team. Fairfax County by virtue of its access to exceptional educational institutions [including] high schools, community colleges and graduate programs, provides a well-educated and skilled workforce. Fairfax County, based on its infrastructure — be it access to HQ in Tysons, or high-speed internet facilities for teleworking — allows for team bonding that is very important…and allows employees to lead a balanced life between family, personal health, work and community service that we encourage.”
B3 Group, Inc., a Herndon-based service-disabled veteran-owned small business that focuses on IT and management consulting for the federal government, ranked third on the Fantastic 50 list with a 5,751 percent four-year growth rate.

“We’re honored to be listed among such a strong group of local Virginia businesses,” said Dwight Hunt, CEO of B3 Group. His company was established in 2008. “Our team has worked hard to provide the highest-quality service to our customers, and we’re excited to continue growing our presence and capabilities to serve the federal government.”

The 24th annual Fantastic 50 is a statewide award based in part on nominations from chambers of commerce and other organizations. The FCEDA sponsored the event.

“Having 19 companies on the Fantastic 50 list indicates once again that Fairfax County has the kind of workforce and the markets that firms can take advantage of to expand quickly, particularly companies in our key technology sectors,” said Catherine W. Riley, interim president and CEO of the FCEDA. “We appreciate the opportunity to help the Virginia Chamber highlight firms that have chosen to start and grow here.”

E-Bird Extra had the opportunity to chat with leaders of several other Fantastic 50 companies as they accepted their awards. Here’s what they had to say about their secrets to success, and why choosing to do business in Fairfax County has been the right move for their businesses:

  • “I’d definitely say our secrets to success are long hours and dedication,” said Theadora Nuckolls, chief administration officer for Spatial Front, a Tysons-based government contractor and 8(a) woman-owned company. “We were originally based out of Potomac, Md., when we started the company 11 years ago and found that, in a nutshell, everybody was centrally located in one place — and that place was Fairfax County. Although we were a Fantastic 50 winner last year, we tripled in growth in a year following our move to Fairfax County.”
  • “A lot of people say, ‘we really focus on our clients and make sure they’re getting we they want.’ But we truly do collaborate with them in every aspect of what we do,” says Rohit Gupta, president of Artemis Consulting, an IT services firm with offices in Tysons and Reston that focuses on open-source development, cloud enablement and modernization of applications. “I think Fairfax County has a lot of talent that we’re able to tap into when we have to do projects, build systems, build applications.”
  • “Our growth success is fully dependent on our team,” said Terry Scherling, president and CEO of TENICA and Associates, LLC, a Chantilly-based provider of IT, professional services, logistics and crisis management services to government clients. “We provide exceptional support for our government clients and that’s because we hire the best employees we can hire. We’re located close to our clients and that enables us to hire the right people and provide the best services. We have 105 employees but that changes daily. Hopefully the number continues to go up.”
  • “Building the right team (is the secret) to our quality work and our innovation,” said Kartick Mecheri, co-founder and chief architect at Karsun Solutions, a Herndon-based federal contractor that supports IT modernization for a client list that includes the GSA, FAA and Department of Homeland Security. “We have about 350 employees, more than 80 percent of whom are in Fairfax County. It’s been a fantastic location for us. It’s close to the D.C. area and to our clients, so it makes it more conducive for us to make the right kind of bids and the right kind of proposals that are most cost-effective for our customers.” In the week following the event, Karsun announced it will open a new headquarters at Worldgate Metro Plaza and intends to hire at least 100 more employees.

Other Fairfax County companies on this year’s Fantastic 50, each with 2014-17 growth rates of more than 271 percent, included Savan Group(Tysons), DayBlink Consulting (Tysons), Axiologic Solutions (Fairfax), CVP (Fairfax), DIGITAL SPEC LLC (Fairfax), Nationwide IT Services (Fairfax), Criterion Systems (Tysons), ValidaTek Inc. (Tysons), Validation Associates(Herndon), MicroHealth LLC (Tysons), Concept Plus (Fairfax) and E3 Federal Solutions/Sentinel (Tysons).