“An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in,” wrote Bill Vaughan. “A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.” At Enterra Solutions, we are optimists and are anxious to embrace the opportunities that lie ahead. The beginning of the New Year is also a good time to take stock of the past so that good course adjustments can be made for the future. For Enterra Solutions, 2008 was a banner year. In January, the company signed a contract with the Pentagon’s Business Transformation Agency to provide multi-lingual call center services in Iraq. Teaming with a local Kurdistan telecommunications company, Korek Telecom, a call center was quickly set up for business. Later in January, Enterra signed a contract with the Minister of Trade for the Kurdistan Regional Government to provide a full service business center in the Kurdistan region.
I believe that a company is the manifestation of its accumulated talent and reflects the spirit of its employee owners. Enterra Solutions has been fortunate to add a number of gifted people to our already talented staff. The best known addition was Admiral Harry Ulrich, USN (retired), who joined Enterra in February after an illustrious 35-year military career that saw him rise to the pinnacle of his profession. Some of our people joined us as a result of acquisitions. Such was the case with Andre Stephano and Andrew Bertolazzi who joined the team later in February when Enterra acquired Cincinnatus Consulting, a Philadelphia-based consulting firm specializing in security for critical infrastructure and intermodal transportation.
By June of last year, Enterra Solutions was awarded a contract to support a Department of Homeland Security-mandated study to develop a long-range security strategic and continuity of operations plan for the U.S. Coast Guard’s Sector Delaware Bay and operations in the Kurdistan region of Iraq were moving ahead smartly. I spent a great deal of time this past year traveling between the United States and the Middle East in support of activities there. In June, I joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Iraq Initiative as co-chair as well as co-chair of the Chamber’s Kurdistan Region of Iraq Investment Taskforce. The Iraq Initiative was established to facilitate meaningful access to key Iraqi and U.S. decision makers. It aims to shape the long-term investment climate in Iraq through meaningful networking opportunities, business delegations and policy forums. In addition, the initiative aims to increase commercial engagement between American businesses and their Iraqi counterparts. In October, Enterra Solutions announced that it had teamed with the Logistics Management Institute (LMI) to win a Cross Agency Support Services (CASS) contract from the Business Transformation Agency. Also in the fall we obtained, with the help of Aram Zamgochian, a contract from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to manage the Iraq Initiative and Kurdistan Taskforce for Economic Development that the Aram and Chamber had originated.
During the year, Enterra Solutions was also able to increase the number of partners with which it works. In addition to Korek Telecom, new Enterra partners include Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, the Monitor Group, Keating Construction, and Cycorp. These strategic relationships will be important to the future growth of Enterra and each brings its own series of assets. These partners join other Enterra partners such as Carnegie Mellon University/Software Engineering Institute, Lockheed Martin, Oracle, Agility, One Network Enterprises, Holt Logistics, Det Norske Veritas, SAIC, and International Resources Group. With each new partnership and alliance, Enterra strengthens its ability to deliver leading edge solutions to its clients.
Foremost among Enterra’s business offerings during the year was its Development-in-a-Box™ approach. With humble beginnings in northern Iraq, Development-in-a-Box attracted the attention of other regional governments and Enterra is looking forward to expanding throughout much of the developing world. Enterra’s port and harbor security practice has also made great strides. In addition to the DHS contract mentioned above, Enterra Solutions continues to work with the state of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Region Port Authority. There has also been significant interest in Enterra’s approach to security expressed by numerous foreign port operators.
Like our employees, our Board and Investors play a major role in the growth and sustainability of Enterra. Sadly, one of our Board members and one of my mentors passed away this year – Bill Eastburn. Bill was giant of a man who assisted scores of people in his life and helped launch Enterra. Bill gave more than he took and I will always be thankful for him guiding me and Enterra. We will always miss him. As you measure an emerging company, there are some key indicators of success and growth. In the past three years, we have moved office space 3 times. When we moved from our first office spaces in Tysons Corner, VA, to offices in Reston, VA, we doubled our square footage. Our latest move to new Reston office spaces again nearly doubled the square footage — all this growth has occurred within the last 3 years. During these three years, our revenues have also increased significantly. This growth could not have been possible without the Enterra Community that we have created over the past 5 years. This Enterra Community encompasses our employees, the families of our employees who put up with long hours of work, investors, partners, consultants, advisors, customers and associated friends of the company. Building this community across three continents these past five years with all of you has been a blessing for me and one of the most rewarding things that I have ever done.
On behalf of all of us at Enterra Solutions, I would like to wish you a happy New Year. As one of America’s founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, wrote, “Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man [or woman].”