Military trainers

PD Systems handles ordinance and quartermaster programs at Fort Lee

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Greg Gibbons, PD Systems’ president and
chief operating officer. Photo by Mark Rhodes

Fantastic 50
PD Systems Inc., Alexandria

All levels of military personnel at Fort Lee, from privates to commissioned officers, have attended classes taught by PD Systems Inc. Last year the Alexandria-based firm trained 23,413 soldiers at the Army base near Petersburg. 

“We do individual training, and we do collective training where we train the whole unit,” says Greg Gibbons, the company’s president and chief operating officer. “We have 104 employees working on programs at Fort Lee. We also have subcontractors with about [another] 100 employees combined.”

PD Systems’ revenue climbed 1,956 percent from 2009 to 2012, making it the service company leader in the 2014 Fantastic 50.

The company provides training for soldiers in the Ordnance and Quartermaster schools. In addition, many noncommissioned and commissioned officers as well as warrant officers receive leadership training from the company at the Army Logistics University. 

The company won the Sustainment Center of Excellence Instructional Training and Support Services contract at Fort Lee in 2011. It is one of the company’s larger contracts. “We provide ongoing training,” says company Executive Vice President Martin Ried.

Soldiers in the Quartermaster School are taught basic supply operations. “We teach them how to handle supplies such as how to set up fuel points and operate safely in the field,” Ried says. “We also teach them how to account for fuel.”

The military programs taught by PD Systems fall under the company’s service arm. Many of its instructors are retired military.

The company also provides systems engineering testing and evaluation, acquisition support and logistics training. The company works with various projects such as writing manuals, product development and modeling, base camp support, mobile maintenance and train-the-trainer instruction.

PD Systems also specializes in product development and sales, including power generators and power distribution equipment, most of which is sold to the U.S. Air Force. Some of the company’s products are used at military base camps to provide power and power distribution. “We are also selling a lot of secondary distribution centers that distribute the power to various pieces of equipment,” Ried says.

The company’s products must meet the government’s stringent standards. “They have to work in extreme environments,” Gibbons says. “We get the military specifications, and we design the equipment to meet that rigorous specification.”

The company recently won contracts with the commonwealth’s Virginia Values Veterans initiative, which encourages companies to hire veterans. “We will present programs talking about why it’s a benefit to hire veterans,” Gibbons says.

Gibbons was PD System’s first employee when founder Tim Fleischer started the company in 2007. “We started with five employees, and all five are still with the company today,” Gibbons says.

Retired from the U.S. Army with 28 years of military logistics experience, Gibbons champions the company’s jump-in-and-get-it-done attitude. “Our ability to adapt is very important. If we say we are going to do something, we do it,” he says.

The company looks for employees with a high level of technical experience. “One of our real competitive advantages is the technical expertise of our employees and senior managers,” Gibbons says. “That allows us to build trust with the client.”

The company has a total of 202 employees but only about 20 work at its headquarters in Alexandria. It also has offices outside of Detroit near the U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM), and it has about 20 field service representatives in Afghanistan. They support TACOM by repairing and maintaining equipment.

At one point the company had more than 150 field service representatives in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. “Now we do more training,” Gibbons says, noting that the U.S. has pulled most of its troops out of those areas.

From 2011 to 2012, the company tripled its revenues. Revenues in 2013 were flat because many of its projects were attached to the defense budget. “And there was a drawdown in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Gibbons says.

It has five major contracts that constitute most of its business with another 15 to 20 that represent various bits of business.

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