by Luke Jones
Posted 3/3/2014 12:00 am
Updated 10 months ago
Fleming Network Services remains at the top on this year’s list of the state’s largest IT consulting companies.
Fleming reported employing 275 in the state this year, a bump from last year’s 230.
One major change in this year’s list was the removal of Science Applications International Corp. The company was replaced by Leidos of Reston, Va., which has 200 employees in multiple locations in Arkansas. SAIC reported 192 employees in Arkansas last year.
Jennifer Gephart, a spokeswoman for Leidos, said the change was due to Leidos spinning off SAIC into a separate company in September 2013.
Leidos is a $6 billion company with 23,000 employees worldwide. It provides high-tech services in national security, health and engineering. A spokeswoman said SAIC had no employees in Arkansas following the spinoff.
Most of the rest of the companies on this year’s list stayed roughly in the same spots.
Advanced Cabling Systems Inc. of North Little Rock grew from 105 to 110, but its position at No. 3 on the list was surpassed by Optus Inc. in Jonesboro, which in 2013 had 101 Arkansas employees and was up to 119 this year.
CEO Mark Duckworth said the company invested “heavily” last year in growth, adding several executive positions, among others.
“We did experience some growth last year; [revenue] grew a little over 8 percent year over year,” Duckworth said. “We’re planning to grow 20 percent in 2014.”
Revenue reached $30 million in 2013, he said, and the projection for 2014 is $36 million.
He said the company’s national accounts are being grown “aggressively.”
Network Data Services of North Little Rock was another change, jumping from 11 employees in 2013 — which left it off the list — to 22 this year, putting it tied at No. 13 with American Data Network of Little Rock and The Computer Hut of Little Rock.
Revenue grew by 15 percent in the company’s last quarter and grew by 25 percent overall during 2013, said Ryan Flynn, president of Network Data Services.
“Everybody made the right decisions at the same time,” he said.
Flynn attributed that growth to two areas. First, the company added several service employees. Flynn said Network Data Services was also expanding to Fayetteville, where it will have a single remote employee until it can afford a full office space.
Second, he said, Network Data Services was joining with the company’s formerly separate phone segment, which historically had been run by Flynn’s father, Gary Flynn.
“In the past we operated as two separate entities,” he said. “We did not work very well together or that often together. Now we’ve learned to utilize their engineers and sales force. We’ve fortified the two groups into one that handles all of that.”
Flynn said increased discussion of cloud services has helped his business. “It seems to come up a lot,” he said.
He said customers often want to avoid expanding their own hardware and instead move it to a managed location whenever affordable.
Network Data Services both hosts its own cloud storage services and also resells Amazon’s and other larger companies’ services, Flynn said.
To that end, Flynn said, his company has been upgrading its equipment with backup servers at an offsite location. “We’re strengthening our offerings,” he said. “We’ve invested in our own equipment at our data center.”
The company’s secondary data center is in the TW Telecom building in downtown Little Rock, he said.
Duckworth, at Optus, said customers shopping around for cloud services have led to growth in his company.
“Sometimes, their largest single need is solutions that have simplicity,” he said. “Coming to us, we can provide that, where our competitors can’t.”
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