12. Atlas Research Growth Rate: 225% HQ: Washington, DC
Atlas Research is a management and advisory services firm that improves performance, transforms operations, and makes a lasting difference in society. Atlas creates value for federal government clients by helping them solve problems and positively impact the communities in which they work, live, and serve. The Washington, DC-based firm lands at No. 12 on the Fastest Growing Firms ranking with a 225 percent growth rate. Consulting caught up with Mark H. Chichester, President, and Ryung Suh, Managing Director and CEO to discuss the firm’s success.
Consulting: What were the main factors that contributed to your firm’s exceptional growth?
Chichester: The foundation was the fielding of a more powerful organization, which we achieved by recruiting high-performing business developers and seasoned consultants. Second, we targeted and won enterprise-level work and strategic contract vehicles supporting major government transformation and performance improvement initiatives, where the missions are more encompassing and our contribution to them is magnified. Third, we built and acquired greater breadth and depth of technical capabilities, which enabled us to bring sustainable innovation and excellence to client programs and projects. Finally, we laid the groundwork to project new capacity and capabilities into adjacent markets both within and external to our core government client spaces.
Consulting: How is this year shaping up for your firm?
Suh: We are on course for another banner year. We have already met, and anticipate that by year’s end we will well exceed, our ambitious goals for revenue growth as well as profitability. The growth is being driven, in large part, by our ability to attract exceptional talent and the investments we have made to strengthen corporate systems and infrastructure that allow us to project our services across core markets. All these efforts are in service to the same purpose that all of our employees share: doing meaningful work that radiates widely and positively across the communities in which we work, live, and serve.
Consulting: What is your firm’s outlook for 2017?
Suh: We anticipate robust revenue growth in 2017, owing to our greatly expanded capabilities, emergent brand reputation, and the addition of market-moving executive talent. And as the firm scales and financial performance monitoring systems mature, we are confident that profitability will be sustained through the coming year and into the foreseeable future.
Consulting: What would you say are your firm’s biggest challenges in 2017?
Chichester: The challenges of rapid growth are two-fold for us: (1) to identify, recruit, and integrate the talent that serves as the engine of expansion in a consulting business; and (2) to ensure that we are leaning forward and investing ahead such that our operational infrastructure and systems scale at pace with our growth, with an appropriate balance between our performance and aspirations. But, as we say often, these are good problems to have.
Consulting: What does being named one of Consulting’s Fastest Growing Firms mean to your firm, your employees and your clients?
Suh: From the outset, our aspiration has been to build and run the kind of company we would want to work for. While we have made considerable strides in that direction, it is gratifying to be recognized for doing so by our industry peers. This recognition validates the hard work of our employees and builds valuable equity with our clients.