John Ruddy, President and co-founder of Houston-based Noah Consulting, has some pretty big ambitions for his energy firm. “My goal is to be a $50 million firm by 2015.”
The firm, which grew at 70 percent in 2011 and finished the year with $8 million in revenue, will have to have some pretty aggressive growth rates to realize that goal. This year, for instance, the firm is projecting a 57 percent growth rate to reach $12.5 million by year’s end. Noah will have to keep up that pace if it wants to reach Ruddy’s goal by the end of 2015.
Ruddy says the firm has set another goal of adding four new clients every year, which he says is realistic given the state of the upstream oil and gas market, a space Noah has been cultivating since its launch in 2009.
“We’re in a great industry; oil and gas is going gangbusters right now so there’s a part of good fortune in having the right services and solutions at the right time, he says. “We’ll continue to focus where our brand is strong, but we’ll look to expand into other areas.”
Those areas are energy trading and powers, which include the highly regulated utilities, which Ruddy says are not a fit. “But downstream of those are retail electric providers and upstream are power generators,” he says. “We have a lot to offer both of those groups.”
The origins of Noah Consulting can be traced back to when Ruddy was at Chicago-based Knightsbridge Solutions, where he started an energy practice from scratch, growing it to $60 million and about 200 consultants.
It was there he met Shannon Tassin and Stewart Nelson. “The three of us and had a blast growing that practice at Knightsbridge,” Ruddy says. Then Hewlett-Packard acquired it and “it became the perfect opportunity for the three of us to leave and launch our own company.”
And that’s just what they did. “We had been doing everything at Knightsbridge—from marketing to recruiting to selling to delivery,” Ruddy says. “We already had a track record of success, and we had a lot of confidence because we had done it before.”
But they hadn’t done it in the bad economic conditions they were up against in 2009. But with a bad economy came a stroke of good fortune. “Because we were in such a soft economy, there were a lot of good people out there looking,” Ruddy says. “There was a lot of talent out there and that was a real luxury we had. We have the exact opposite problem today. We’re growing like gangbusters and it’s hard to find good people.”
It’s not for a lack of trying. Last fall, Noah hired a full-time recruiter to try to find the people it desperately needs to keep up with market demand. And Ruddy’s going to need those talented people if Noah is going to have a shot to hit that $50 million goal.