Reston-based Macedon Technologies strives to satisfy its Appian software customers and employees alike

Macedon Technologies is a rapidly growing company that accelerates digital transformation for clients, large and small, by utilizing the power of technology and a highly skilled team of software consultants.

Founded 10 years ago, the company leverages the platform of another Fairfax County success story, Appian, to develop applications that meet the needs and easily adapt with the changing requirements of its clients.

Based in Reston, Macedon prides itself on its ability to attract and retain top talent thanks to a culture that fosters professional growth, social awareness and team spirit.

Tim Kelly talks about Macedon Technologies in this FCEDA Innovation Series video

The company has been listed repeatedly as one of the best places to work by multiple publications. Macedon was named No.1 in the Small Business category by Virginia Business in 2018 and was in the top five this year upon graduation to the Mid-Size category.

“The thing I’m most proud of is that the Washington Post named Macedon Technologies its No. 1 Small Business in 2018 — the same year that Appian was named No. 1 Large Business in the area,” said Tim Kelly, Macedon’s chief customer officer and senior vice president of operations, who takes a hands-on approach and takes development of his company’s culture personally.

Kelly spearheaded the design of Macedon’s 25,000-square-foot office space that adopted a Harry Potter theme when the company moved in February. “We’re able to house 110 employees, but by 2020 we’re going to be looking for more space,” Kelly said.

The company also has an office in Austin and satellite offices in New York, Boston and Denver. “But Reston is our home,” he said. E-Bird Extra caught up with Kelly as the Macedon team was celebrating the approach of summer by grilling burgers on the company’s patio.

E-Bird Extra: What, exactly, does Macedon do?

Tim Kelly: We focus on professional services and developing enterprise systems by using the Appian platform. We accelerate digital transformation, bringing customers into the 21st century by building innovative software. With over 140 Appian-certified consultants, Macedon leads the community in Appian experience and strategy.

EE: How did Macedon get its name?

TK: Macedon is named after Alexander the Great’s Greek city-state, Macedonia. Alexander conquered most of the known world at the time. Our partner, Appian, takes its name from the Appian Way, the world’s first superhighway in ancient Rome. So, the common theme seemed appropriate.

Insight Success named Macedon CEO Austin Rosenfeld one of its “Most Promising CEOs of 2019.” Rosenfeld told the magazine: “At Macedon, I’d like to think we are all nerds. Most of us have computer science degrees, and we tend to have a lot of traits that go with that. We have a Harry Potter theme around the office, play pranks on each other, and try to have fun as much as we can!”  (Photo, Macedon)

EE: Can you explain your unique relationship with Appian and why customers come to you to implement their products?

TK: Our relationship with Appian goes back to the early days of Appian, when Macedon’s founder and CEO Austin Rosenfeld served as one of Appian’s early architects. When Austin founded Macedon 10 years ago, he set out on a mission to cultivate a best-in-class team of Appian practitioners. With nearly 90 percent of Appian services being performed by vendors outside of Appian’s own professional services, we see a great need in the community to provide outstanding solutions and thought leadership.

EE: Who are your primary customers?

TK: The vast majority of our clients are located in the D.C. metro area. About one quarter of our work is federal work to include the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Transit Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. However, most of our work comes from [companies involved in] finance, banking, hospitality and pharmaceuticals.

EE: Is there a secret to success when it comes to bringing a client’s system up to speed?

TK: The vast majority of our engagements leverage an Agile methodology. This process helps teams provide quick responses to project feedback and creates opportunities to reassess a project’s direction during the development cycle. The problem is most companies either don’t understand how this process works or want to force-fit a 50-year-old methodology to a modern platform, which doesn’t work. We want all of our programs to be successful. The majority of our programs throughout our history have been Agile-based. Macedon now offers formal Agile and change management training for our clients.

EE: It’s evident that Macedon continues to grow.

TK: Macedon has team members throughout the U.S., with over 100 of those team members in the Reston office. We’ve literally outgrown our prior offices every 18 to 24 months. Even though our current campus seemed sparsely populated when we first moved in, we are on track to expand to a new office again in 2020.

The gang’s all here: Macedon employees and their families recently gathered for a Renaissance-themed celebration at Temporary Road Park in Reston. (Photo, J. McKenzie)

EE: How have you met the challenge of finding, recruiting and retaining the qualified employees you’ve needed to grow?

TK: We spend a lot of time making sure that we bring the right people into Macedon. Candidates go through three very intense rounds of interviews. Each interview measures 28 separate attributes… What sets Macedon apart is our intense focus on identifying team members who can be more be “More Than a Coder.” Our recruiting team looks far beyond standard coding or programming skills by seeking candidates with strong technical, consulting, communication and business skills. With less than 0.7 percent of all applicants being offered a chance to work with Macedon, we work diligently to seek out the absolute best. Team members start with several weeks of in-depth training, which goes far beyond simple programming concepts. Our custom training is designed to produce strong consultants who understand when to ask “Why” and not simply respond “Yes.”

EE: Beyond training, in what other ways do you accommodate new recruits?

TK:  Though many of our employees are from Virginia, Macedon attracts talent from all over. I personally want to provide our new team members with a smooth transition to the area. Rather than burden those new hires with trying to understand the difference between [living in] Reston, Tysons, Springfield or Chantilly, we provide a month of free corporate housing in conjunction with our partner, the Hyatt of Fair Lakes. That allows new employees the opportunity to explore the diverse offerings of our area and helps ensure they find a place they will enjoy. Another key aspect of our onboarding is our “Buddy Program.” We take employees who started a year or so prior and make that employee responsible for the training success of the new employee, to really make sure they understand our culture and our corporate values.

Invoking its Harry Potter workplace theme, Macedon has spared no expense in presenting a well-lit version of Hogwarts Castle, displayed under glass in the company lunchroom. (Photo, Macedon)

EE: You’ve been recognized as a “Best Place to Work.” What else has helped Macedon earn that designation?

TK: We see team members as unique individuals and not simply a cog in a machine. We leverage the unique abilities of those individuals with a diverse set of clients. Though Macedon sponsors many formal and informal team building events throughout the year, what has surprised me is the organic team building events our employees have developed themselves. They include things such as a hiking club and daily guided meditation. Last winter, a team member independently led an enormous coat drive, working in conjunction with the Fairfax County [Department of Neighborhood and] Community Services. Another led an event to host a 48-hour video game fundraiser in partnership with Extra Life, an organization which benefits Children’s Miracle Network hospitals. When you work for Macedon, we bring you into our family. It’s an investment from both sides. I’m proud to work for a company that does the right thing for employees and lives by our motto that integrity is the price of admission.

EE: How has your Fairfax County location helped foster your company’s growth?

TK: Over half of our client base is located in the D.C. metropolitan area. However, when we require travel to remote client sites, we are fortunate to have Dulles International Airport, literally in eyeshot of our offices. We also partner with local universities to keep top talent in Fairfax County…My own family has lived in Fairfax County for over 25 years. What keeps Macedon in Fairfax County is the strong economy, our diverse community, world-class entertainment, access to public transportation — to include two Metro stations within walking distance to Macedon — and our award-winning school system.

Macedon Technologies is located at 11700 Plaza America Drive, Suite 200, Reston, VA 20190; www.macedontechnologies.com