(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is another in a series of articles spotlighting companies in the Knoxville region that made the latest Inc. magazine list of the 5,000 fastest growing companies in America. Today’s focus is on Boston Government Services LLC. The accomplishment by the 11 was the point of a celebration earlier this year that was organized by the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center and sponsored by PYA, the power behind teknovation.biz.)
Harry Boston was born in Brooklyn New York but has happily settled on the banks of the Clinch River in East Tennessee. Today, the Founder and President of Boston Government Services LLC (BGS) has built a thriving national government services business from his adopted base of operations in Oak Ridge.
The company, which was one of the 11 local business named to Inc. Magazine’s list of the country’s 5000 fastest growing enterprises, has grown to about 200 scientists, engineers and technical professionals supporting about $160 million in contract work for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) with an annual revenue exceeding $30 million.
That’s several times what Boston hoped to achieve when he wrote the company’s first business plan prior to its launch in 2007. “I wanted to reach $12 to $15 million in annual revenues by 2020,” he said.
What has contributed to that significant growth? Boston clearly believes it’s the technical capabilities of the BGS team coupled with the quality of the services provided.
“From the very beginning, we invested in building a high-quality workforce . . . most with advanced degrees,” he said. “We have the best talent in the complex. We bring together high value products and services that make a difference for our clients and support missions of national importance. We’ve built a unique set of skills. Boy, has it (the BGS approach) paid-off!”
Today, the company promotes four lines of business on its webpage. They are: (1) program management; (2) nuclear engineering and security; (3) information technology solutions; and (4) cyber security.
“We have a nationwide presence in DOE and NNSA (National Nuclear Security Administration) programs at multiple sites across the DOE/NNSA complex,” Boston told us recently, noting that BGS is not a staff augmentation firm, but a technical and management services firm providing high value products and solutions for challenging technical, engineering, and scientific missions.
Boston began his career as a research scientist at the University of Wisconsin and moved to Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in 1984, eventually advancing professionally to run the environmental clean-up program at the lab. Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor at ORNL at the time, sent him to the Hanford Site in the State of Washington where he eventually became Deputy Manager of DOE’s Richland Site and Manager of DOE’s Office of River Protection before returning to the private sector and moving back to Oak Ridge in 2005.
“I took a buyout in 2007 when I realized I could make a go of it in consulting,” Boston said, explaining that because of his previous work for DOE, “I had something to offer and a little credibility. We started getting jobs . . . strategic planning contracts.”
In the early days, he said that he always looked at opportunities through the eyes of the potential client. What does BGS have that the customer needs? Who needs it specifically? Why should you work with BGS?
Today, even though BGS has grown significantly, the company’s Founder says income growth is not where he is focused. “It’s not about getting bigger, but about getting better. We do very challenging technical and scientific work. We are profitable, but not profit-driven. We focus on expanding capabilities to allow us to support missions of national importance.”
With those principles as his compass, Boston is constantly asking a key question related to BGS’ future: Where do we invest to be sustainable, deliver high value, and have fun? In addition to the DOE complex and its contractors, Boston is looking at future opportunities with Fortune 100 companies.