Wired For Success

Through unparalleled service to government agencies and groundbreaking joint ventures, Rodney Hunt has built RS Information Systems into a tech powerhouse

Rodney P. Hunt has a lot on his plate. His 14-year-old son, Bradley, has a basketball game, one of hundreds for the year. Then there are the finishing touches on his palatial 52,000-square-foot home, a meeting for his charitable organization, and the drive to his mother’s house to prepare her income taxes.

Oh, by the way, Hunt also runs RS Information Systems Inc., a consistent growth leader of the BE 100S. Ranked No. 16 on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100, the firm grossed $328 million and has 1,600 employees.

A visit to the company’s McLean, Virginia, offices reveals both the success of the business and the CEO’s involvement in community affairs. Gilded plaques proclaiming RSIS a vendor of choice and model of business excellence by more than a dozen government agencies are mounted beside crystalline awards recognizing the 46-year-old Hunt for his charitable endeavors. In fact, nearly 10% of the company’s profits are used for altruistic pursuits.

But such things would not have been possible without the meteoric success of RSIS, an information technology powerhouse that provides a host of technical services for the U.S. government. They include a $37.2 million upgrade of 158 Doppler weather radars that improved the national weather forecasting system and a $111 million contract to provide a range of technology services–most likely top-secret–for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, an arm of the Department of Defense.

Then there’s the Department of Energy award for which Hunt formed a joint venture with 1 Source Consulting Inc., another black-owned contractor, to land the $1 billion deal. That contract, other subsequent awards, and the funneling of certain RSIS business into the new joint venture named Energy Enterprise Solutions Inc. (EES) transformed 1 Source into a BE 100S company in its own right. “Thanks to the team agreement with RSIS and a significant amount of their help, we were able to land just shy of a $400 million contract with the Department of Homeland Security,” says William Teel, CEO of 1 Source. “His outreach to small businesses has just been tremendous. But for some reason, he decided to take a chance on me, mentor me, and give me some opportunities. I don’t know why, but I’m more grateful than words can ever describe.”

This alliance is an example of something all too rare in the world of black business: a black-on-black joint venture. It’s also a good example because it worked. That would not have been possible without Hunt’s mandates for RSIS to do business with smaller and minority-owned vendors. “It’s no secret that the Small Business Administration 8(a) program helped us develop the strong foundation on which to grow,” says Hunt. “I’m grateful for that, so I decided to emulate the government and set up an internal small-business rep to create a portal in which companies that want to do business with us can submit their qualifications.”

Perhaps the most successful graduate of the 8(a) program, RSIS is on an impressive growth track, maintaining double-digit revenue increases for just about every year since its

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