Keeping the door open
Employees have the ear of Knight Point’s executive team
Bob Eisiminger, the president and CEO of Knight Point Systems LLC, is passionate about creating a culture “that has a small-company feel; a company that feels like family.”
That family feel has helped the Reston-based IT services company retain its position as the top small employer in the Best Places to Work in Virginia for two years in a row. (It probably won’t be eligible for that category next year. The company work force, which stood at 98 when it underwent Best Places surveys last fall, now stands at 100.)
The business provides a wide range of offerings, from cloud services to cyber security, that help federal government agencies and corporations consolidate and optimize their data centers.
One feature that makes Knight Point stand out is the accessibility of its executive team, Eisiminger says. “People are not afraid to talk to leadership even if it’s the CEO. Everyone is approachable.”
The company also has team spirit. Employees share in developing solutions to clients’ needs. “If you ask people to bring solutions, they are going to bring you something that is pretty good,” Eisiminger says. “They become more proficient in what they do.”
In addition to its Reston headquarters, the company has locations in Stennis, Miss.; Ogden, Utah; Philadelphia and Oklahoma City.
In 2012, Knight Point ranked No. 2,674 on the Inc. 5000. From 2008 to 2011, revenues grew 88 percent, jumping from $11.1 million to $20.8 million.
The company’s growth in 2012 was the result of it establishing a cyber-security service and winning five new contracts. One of those new contracts, with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, involves providing information assurance and incident response work for the agency’s headquarters.
“We are leveraging the latest security tools to keep customers and agency information safe,” says Eisiminger. “We are providing subject matter expertise that assesses and defends against emerging threats to protect critical assets.”
Eisiminger wants to see the company grow 10 times its current size — in revenue and employees — in the next 10 years. It has 30 subcontractors in addition to its 100 employees. “We would like to get to 1,000 employees,” he says.
But, he vows, rapid growth won’t erode the company core values — candor, competence, confidence and commitment. It also plans to continue emphasizing training and certifications. The company is constantly creating new coursework for employees. “We try to switch out our training every year,” Eisiminger says. “If we have training or a certification that employees would like to take as it relates to their job, we try and set it up. In the future we will offer cross-functional training.”
Knight Point promotes from within, giving employees the chance to take leadership roles. “We have pulled people off of contracts and promoted them into lines of business leads,” Eisiminger says. “We are increasing the layers of leadership as we continue to grow and also providing opportunities for promotion.”
In 2011, Knight Point implemented an Emerging Leaders Program that graduated its first class of eight in 2012. The program, conducted by the company’s executive management team, was revamped before its 2013 yearlong sessions.
As part of the program, employees traveled with executives to Gettysburg, Pa., in May for a full day of leadership training based on the Civil War battle that took place there in 1863. “A lot of business leadership lessons come from the commanders at Gettysburg,” Eisiminger says.
Two retired Army Special Forces officers talked about strategy as they walked the battlefield with Knight Point personnel. “We had discussions from a business perspective,” Eisiminger says.
Knight Point’s benefits include annual profit sharing. “Employees have to earn the [profit sharing] through additional training and certification as well as mandatory training that we have folks go through,” Eisiminger says.
The company also wants its employees to have fun. It took 14 of its Ogden, Utah, employees and their families to The Lagoon, an amusement park near Ogden and also held a large picnic for employees in the Washington, D.C.-area.
Knight Point also recognizes two employees of the year. Last February, the company sent those employees and two former employees of the year and their spouses to Cancun, Mexico.
Eisiminger, a disabled veteran and a West Point graduate, says he is committed to organizations such as the Wounded Warrior Project. “Giving back to the troops is so important. We do a lot of activities with soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and in Bethesda,” he says.
Knight Point employees also donate their time to various causes. The company will sponsor employees “if they are committed to a cause and they ask us for help financially,” Eisiminger says. “If they are willing to do some activity for the cause, we are always generous.”