by Joan Tupponce
Photo courtesy VSD LLC
Virginia Beach-based VSD LLC is cultivating a new client base in the Middle East after signing two recent business agreements — one in the United Arab Emirates and the other in Saudi Arabia.
“In 2008, we made a concentrated effort to start thinking outside the box regarding our strategic vision,” says Chuck Wythe, VSD’s managing director. “With the condition of the United States’ economy, we knew we should be thinking about other ways to expand our business to ensure success throughout the years.”
VSD, a fast-growth firm listed in Virginia’s Fantastic 50, provides services ranging from corporate consulting and implementation to training and simulation, including custom software and software engineering services.
“We have a mix of clients,” Wythe says. “We have historically had more government clients, but with the expansion of our product lines and international business growth, our corporate clients are rapidly increasing in numbers.” Corporate clients include Lockheed Martin, Tidewater Community College and Liberty Tax Service.
VSD began concentrating on the Middle East after joining the Virginia Leaders in Export Trade program. “We participated in a group market visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and then made multiple subsequent trips to that region,” Wythe says.
Since making the commitment to international growth, the company has increased its work force more than 130 percent, to close to 100 employees, and tripled its sales. “Our international sales now account for more than 50 percent of VSD’s annual revenues,” Wythe says.
VSD, which has offices in Washington; Morgan City, La.; and Orlando, Fla., will be opening an office in Saudi Arabia this year. It has a business agreement with a Saudi prince to form a joint venture between VSD and Ezz Al Khair Establishment. VSD has another agreement to facilitate an international business relationship with the United Arab Emirates.
The type of training, resources and tools the company provides vary depending on the needs of the client. In the Middle East, for example, VSD will focus its products and services on oil and gas sectors. “We will do in-classroom training, computer-based training/e-learning, simulation training and corporate consulting,” Wythe says.
While he is concerned about recent political unrest in the region, Wythe believes the Middle East still is fertile ground for his company. “I still feel confident the market needs us, and we still have many offerings the Middle East can benefit from now and well into the future,” he says. “We seek to stay committed to growing our business in that market.”
Marketing to that region isn’t difficult, he adds. “Primarily their economy is flourishing. They have cities being built and jobs being created. There are many needs and they are perfectly aligned with our capabilities.”
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