Ask Barry Kane the favorite part of his job as president of Catapult Technology, and he'll tell you: the thrill of landing a contract that can help clients further their strategic goals. Since coming on board the IT provider and management consulting services firm in the fall of 2006, Kane has hit the ground running, helping Catapult continue its growth as one of the largest 8(a) companies in the DC area. Catapult closed 2008 around $107 million. The company also recently reorganized its structure to better situate itself for the next milestone: reaching the $200 million mark over the coming years.
What advice would you give other 8(a) companies looking to grow?
Barry Kane: It's not really advice for 8(a) companies, it's advice that cuts across the small business community. You can't be everything to everybody. Companies need to look at what they do well, where they have the best chance at success and focus all of their resources in those areas. If you try to spread yourself too thin you wind up with a lot of activity and not a lot of results.
What would you advise small businesses wanting to partner with Catapult?
Barry Kane: You need to bring something to the table. A partnership needs to be meaningful from both sides. It's not one company providing the other company with an opportunity; it has to be beneficial from both sides. Where we have the most success is where people come into this saying, “We need you to do this and we can do this as mutually beneficial.“
How is the economic climate and new administration affecting your business development goals?
Barry Kane: Our government customers are going to need the kinds of services that Catapult and the other IT service providers offer in the DC area, regardless of who is in the administration. If Catapult were involved with weapon systems or things that are subject to changing environments it would be different, but we don't see either the economic environment “” because the government is somewhat insulated from that “” or the change of administration as having a particular affect on us. We have enough business both on the DOD side and non-DOD side that if one happens to fall off a little bit the other is probably going to catch up with it.
Catapult is going to graduate out of the 8(a) program in 2010. What is your transition plan?
Barry Kane: We've already started it. A number of our programs have been converted from 8(a) vehicles to non-8(a) vehicles. If you do a great job for your customers typically the opportunities to continue that work will be there.
Does Catapult have any plans in the short term to sell?
Barry Kane: That option is always there but the short answer is no. We are taking steps so the company can grow from its current $100 million to the $200 million plateau over the next several years. Our management team has evolved significantly over the last year, bringing a focused discipline to the company's smart growth strategy. Along those lines, we recently appointed a new member of the management team as senior vice president of a new business division, and appointed a Chief Financial Officer at the end of 2008. The growth of the management team is pivotal to meeting the challenges of continued growth.
What's the most fun you've ever had at work?
Barry Kane: Winning contracts is the most fun. Getting that call or getting that email saying, “You're the winner.“ It's a thrill. It's why I'm here. The biggest contract we ever won was for General Services Administration, their Enterprisewide IT Support contract. I was driving to another customer location when I got a call from the contracting officer. I actually had to pull the car over to the side of the road. It was a thrill beyond belief.
What's something most people don't know about you personally?
Barry Kane: I served in Vietnam and volunteered to go there when I graduated from the Coast Guard Academy. The other one is my favorite movie is “The Wizard of Oz,“ which might seem totally out of character for people who know me.
Interview with Barry Kane was conducted by JD Kathuria
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