Protecting the homeland

Company helps agencies stay a step ahead of terrorists

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Print this page by Donna C. Gregory

Kore Federal, Falls Church

The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks changed the way the United States strategized fighting a war. It was no longer enough to drop bombs within a certain country’s borders. This time, the enemy was everywhere — hiding in the deserts of Afghanistan, strolling through London’s busy shopping districts, riding the subways of New York City.

The Al-Qaeda terrorist organization is nimble, but IT contractor Kore Federal is helping the U.S. government close in on its formidable enemy.

It’s easy to get bogged down in the technical jargon of what Kore Federal does: application integration, enterprise architecture and advanced technology validation, just to name a few areas of expertise.

But co-founder and CEO Andrea Stygar likes to distill Kore Federal’s mission down to the basics: “We’re a government IT consulting firm, and we provide services to help protect the homeland and our soldiers.”

Since its founding in 2004, Kore Federal has racked up an impressive list of customers within the federal government, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and others.

From 2008 to 2011, the Falls Church-based contractor’s annual revenue grew nearly 733 percent, and its employee roster increased from seven to 65.

News In March, Kore Federal was named to Inc. magazine’s annual list of America’s 500 fastest-growing companies for the second year in a row. Last year’s revenues topped $20 million, up from $12.2 million in 2011. Most of that comes from landing federal contracts related to national security.

“They are mission critical systems for our security,” Stygar explains. “Some of it is very exciting and very top secret, and some of it is very mundane, but necessary, [like human resources functions], so we have a good mix of projects.”

One of the company’s most exciting ongoing contracts entails helping to develop risk-assessment data analytics software for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Kore Federal employees are part of a 300-member team that’s creating an automated system to identify high-risk people and cargo attempting to enter the United States.

“The risks never go away,” says Brian Stygar, chief technology officer. “They’re always changing, so we’re always having to keep up and stay ahead. You can’t just finish what you’re doing and walk away. You’re always assessing new risks.”

Another Kore Federal contract involves modernizing the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ application process for citizenship.

“USCIS … wants to move from paper-based processes to electronic filing and electronic records systems,” explains Mike Woods, co-founder and chief financial officer. “USCIS has also had issues with projects being over budget, overly complex and not completed on schedule. Kore Federal is developing a new software development approach and software architecture that will make these development efforts faster, less expensive and completed on time.”

It’s this customer-centered approach with an emphasis on efficiency that’s helped Kore Federal thrive in the world of government contracting.

“Three years ago, we started to mature as a business and crossed a chasm,” Brian Stygar says. “There’s that zone a lot of small businesses fall into between $7 million and $25 million [in annual revenues] that I consider the sweet spot because you’re still qualified as a small business, but you’re credible, and you’ve got past performance, [so the federal government agencies] consider it less risky to work with you.”
Kore Federal continues to mine its past and current federal customers for new revenue streams and is looking to do more contracting work within the intelligence community. 

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