Alexandria firm ready for tough times
- December 1, 2008
Recessions don’t scare Karlu Rambhala. He started Avineon Inc., an Alexandria-based provider of IT, geospatial, engineering and program management services,
during the economic downturn of 1992. Since then he has deftly taken his firm through 16 years of boom and bust. Thanks to a longevity strategy put in place
at the very beginning, the firm has earned a profit every year and stayed out of debt.
“We don’t owe anything to anybody, and we don’t have to depend on anybody, and that’s what lets me sleep at night,” says Rambhala, the president and CEO of
Avineon. “Even if I lose a contract or don’t get something that I’m looking for, it doesn’t throw us off course because financially we’re quite secure.”
Rambhala, a native of India, credits the strength of his company to four factors: diversification in service, market and geographic region; talented and
trustworthy employees; a strong focus on quality; and an emphasis on bottom-line profit over top-line growth.
Avineon, which has subsidiaries in Europe and India, pursues government and commercial contracts. It has been growing at a steady 30 percent clip over the
past four years and now has about 1,200 employees. Rambhala expects revenues of nearly $45 million this year and projects that sales will hit $100 million in
the next three to five years.
“One of the things I always tell anybody who comes to work here is that we don’t have to be the biggest in what we do, but we do have to be the best,” he
says. The company offers its customers an unconditional quality guarantee. “If somebody is not satisfied with what we’ve done within one year, we will fix it
at no additional cost to the customer. Of course, nobody has ever come back and asked us to do this.”
The quality is apparently so good that many customers have remained with Avineon since 1992. “Once someone comes to us as a customer, they don’t go anywhere
else,” Rambhala says.