Considering its location and its focus, the growth and progression of Jessup-based ClearEdge IT Solutions makes a great deal of sense.
Since it’s founding in nearby Odenton with a single employee — company Principal/Owner Christy Puglisi — in fall 2002, new Howard County Chamber of Commerce member ClearEdge has grown into a thriving business that delivers a full complement of support services. Those offerings include the planning of, design and development of, training for and support of information technologies for such clients as, among others, the Department of Defense (DoD).
The small information technology (IT) firm, that often serves as a prime contractor, focuses on providing customers with those services, along with the backing of seasoned software engineers who understand the needs of businesses and their employees in the tightly-secured world of government contracting.
ClearEdge, which is what’s referred to in industry jargon as a “big data” company due to its focus on advanced analytics, garners 100% of its work from the DoD and partners in the often lucrative government sector. That means liaisons with such notable concerns as Lockheed Martin and SAIC (among several others), with the company’s existence basically yet another growing offshoot of the Corridor’s world-renowned intelligence community.
Indeed, the company has established itself among the growing IT service providers in the area and attributes its decade of success to the commitment of a staff that had grown to 80 employees who provide cloud computing and big data solutions to its customers.
When ClearEdge moved from Anne Arundel to Howard County about six months ago, it purchased its own building at 10620 Guilford Road in Jessup (near The National Business Park in Annapolis Junction), a 36,000-square-foot office headquarters that may prove to become too small before the execs at ClearEdge know it.
“We’re already occupying just about the entire building,” said Nikolas Acheson, executive strategist for the company.
Since the move, ClearEdge has continued to key in on delivering big data services in the cloud computing environment, but its success has enabled it to pursue another revenue stream.
The new building, even filling up as rapidly as it has, gave the company the opportunity to begin offering cloud computing certification via its new Distributed Computing Center of Excellence, which offers training in nationally-recognized ClearEdge Hadoop Developer Certification.
The center opened the day of the formal ribbon-cutting at the new offices in mid-March, and it’s already nicely accentuating the company’s main purpose.
“For any opportunities that come out of looking to develop analytics across big data sets, we are the thought leaders,” Acheson said, “and that’s the key capability we bring to our customers.”
The Decade Mark
While celebrating a decade in business is a time to behold and reflect for any company that works its way to success, Acheson said that ClearEdge really hit its stride a couple of years ago.
“That was a turning point for the company,” he said, “when we saw accelerated growth propel us toward the $20 million mark in annual revenue.”
True, reaching the 10-year mark and that impressive financial plateau gave company executives a reason to pause and reflect on what started from that small office on the other side of Fort Meade.
“At that point, it was easy to see where virtually all of our growth had come from,” Acheson said. “It was basically the result of fostering direct relationships with our customers and bringing in unique capabilities, such as [incorporating] advanced analytics in the emerging cloud and in the distributed computing environment.”
That approach led to the revenue growth, the relocation and the founding of the aforementioned Distributed Computing Center of Excellence, where the company offers cloud training that also includes Apache Pig and Cloud Computing for Professionals, among others.
After an era of success, what lies ahead for ClearEdge? Part of the approach will be involvement with the chamber, Acheson said.
“Whether it is through the access to industry and government leaders or for the opportunity to mentor and help those following behind us, there are many benefits and rewards offered through the chamber that lines up with our desire to engage and give back to our local communities,” he said.
“Since joining the chamber, we have met some great companies and have had the privilege of welcoming key government officials to our facility to share lessons learned and offer support to future initiatives.”
Otherwise, ClearEdge’s approach to its future is fairly basic. Acheson said that the company “is pursuing multiple prime contracts and working to further expand our partnerships in the community. That’s how we plan to compete with larger companies after we graduate out of small business status, which we think will happen in the coming years.”
So, as would be expected from an employee with the title of executive strategist, he’s thinking about what else the future may hold, too. And that includes building the company brand across the Baltimore-Washington market.
“We’re hoping to expand our business into new geographic markets, such as Aberdeen, Md. (Harford County), and in Northern Virginia, while we continue innovating into the distributed computing and big data environments,” Acheson said. “That’s the direction for our company’s next phase.”