In a time of shifting military operations, breaches in governmental secrecy and federal sequestration, one local defense contractor is working to bolster America’s bottom line.
Intecon, a Colorado Springs-based information technology company that provides networks, cyber support and security as well as other related services for the military, has found its niche as a veteran-owned small business offering its services to government and commercial clients — although its entire current customer base is the Department of Defense.
“We provide reliable, customer-driven support and personify responsiveness in serving our clients,” the company’s mission statement says. “Our employees are truly our greatest strength and we are fully dedicated to maximizing the success of our clients.”
Intecon has been nationally recognized in the 14 years since its inception, including recently being named the Small Business Administration’s 2013 Prime Contractor of the Year. Director of Domestic Operations Alan Omo said that came as a shock to the team, which has constricted in size and profitability as military operations overseas wind down.
“They only give out one for the entire nation,” Omo said. “We felt very humbled by this.”
Address: 6775 Rangewood Drive
Years in business: 14
Number of employees: 85
The company received the honor due to its successful prime contracts at Fort Carson and Peterson Air Force Base, where the company has been working since 2006 with North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command.
“They’ve been a fantastic company to work with,” said Maj. Richard Martin at U.S. Northern Command. “They’re very proactive, they’re very customer-friendly and they’re very customer-service oriented.”
Intecon brands itself as a self-financed, veteran-run business — with just cause. Nearly three-quarters of the company’s 85 employees have served in the military, and that includes the two main men: Omo and President/CEO Michael Anderson.
“A lot of our work is at Peterson,” Omo said. “So what do they need there? They need people with that military background; so in order to get the right people there we hire a lot of veterans.”
Anderson, who founded the company in 1999, is a retired Army lieutenant colonel and Vietnam War veteran with a service-connected injury that designates Intecon a Service-Disabled, Veteran-Owned Small Business.
After serving for 20 years, Anderson, now 66, went on to work in the defense industry for such companies as Litton before deciding to blaze his own path.
“After about 10 years doing that, he decided he could do it himself and started [Integrity Consulting],” Omo said, referring to the genesis of Intecon.
Omo, 48, spent a combined 20 years in the Army and Navy, worked as an intelligence officer for U.S. Strategic Command and was stationed at both Carson and Peterson. He said that he liked the Springs so much he came back for retirement, rather than settling in his home state of Michigan. That’s when he found Intecon.
Omo came along just in time for Intecon’s big breakthrough in 2006, when the company won its first prime contract with NORAD/NorthCom. The company boomed, winning contracts and fulfilling task orders across the globe with a 150-person staff.
“The majority of our work was with the troops over in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Omo said. “But with the Iraq pullout in December ’11, we lost about 60 positions.”
Times are tough in the private defense industry, and a top priority is affordability.
“It all comes down to fiscal efficiencies,” Omo said. “Because we’re a small company, we’re agile. And because we are a small company, we certainly are a value to the government.”
Omo adds that Intecon’s size, locale and dedication also make it competitive without sacrificing service.
“So although we are operating at the lowest cost, we are still providing a quality person and a quality product,” Omo said.
Regardless, the pullout of American troops from Iraq in late 2011 hurt the industry in which Intecon is invested.
The company’s financial data show that it grew from $5.2 million in sales during 2003 to $26.9 million in 2011. The shift in military focus hit in 2012, knocking annual revenue down to $17.6 million.
But Intecon is steadfast in its mission and others have noticed its commitment.
“I’ve been hard-pressed to find anybody as dedicated as they are to their mission and to their work,” Martin said.
Deep within the Cheyenne Mountain Complex and behind the gates of local military bases are the offices of Intecon. And in an age of Bradley Manning, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, Intecon must ensure its operations are both streamlined and secure.
Unlike some defense contractors outsourcing contracts to foreign countries, Intecon can only work within the United States. Omo said that is because most of the company’s work pertains to top-secret or classified information.
“Almost every place that we’re in doesn’t allow cameras,” Omo said. This is because many of the buildings in which Intecon people work are known as Sensitive Classified Information Facilities — no cell phones and no cameras.
Omo said that he enjoys watching the company grow and work with important government operations, such as training National Guard members, streamlining missile defense systems and ensuring continuity of government.
But what’s most exciting to Omo is the future.
“Contracts change every year, so [the most interesting aspect] is what is coming up and what we can support next,” Omo said. “We started out supporting the Department of State in Iraq at the Republican Palace, and that turned into a bigger support of the [Department of Defense]. So it’s just about how different aspects morph.”