Hunter of Success

SD&I Fast50 #3: For Securityhunter CEO Michael Rogers, a rocky road has led to a destination of tremendous achievement


 

Protecting the Nation

So Rogers moved away from the dangerous work in covert surveillance and decided to start contracting for security with the government. He worked with a former special forces soldier who helped Rogers with landing GSA contracts — considering Securityhunter’s location in Baltimore, it seemed to make sense; but the real adversity was just getting started.

“I got into the world of federal security, and I would get my ass handed to me,” Rogers says. “I would tell people that the way to find Securityhunter was to go down Lord Baltimore Drive and follow the blood trail — it was brutal.

“You do these projects and then you learn the lesson, but you don’t really get a chance to always capitalize on it in your next project,” he continues. “So you’re learning, learning, learning, and it is just so rocky — your face is a pulp, but you just keep going and you hope you don’t fall down and just keep at it.”

And keep at it he did — despite going into more than $2 million in personal debt to do it; in fact, Rogers endured a stretch of 22 months without a paycheck. He had to sell his car, move into a smaller house, borrow from family and friends, but he would not let his company suffer. “Everything was so bad, but I always paid my vendors, even though I was not getting paid. My D&B (business credit rating) was never bad. So I always protected my vendors, because without them, it’s game over. And I never missed a payroll — I just wasn’t paying myself.”

With things perhaps at their worst, Rogers' big break came in October 2010, when Securityhunter was awarded an unrestricted $500,000,000 sole award security services Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Program Support Center (PSC) for use by all federal agencies. It was the bolt of lightning that propelled the company to heights even Rogers probably couldn’t imagine.

“By then I was an excellent hunter of business — I knew how to get it and I knew how to lose it,” Rogers says. “I managed to get this huge, monster solo award, which we’ve done about 100 million of already — that has fueled a lot of our growth. We’re not the sub, we are the prime, and I’ve built coalitions of companies so the big boys — the Johnson Controls, PriceWaterhouse and all these other companies — actually work for us. They have their confidence in us and they work with us, and it’s a great relationship.”

That explosive growth was enough to propel Securityhunter to the top of the Fast50 rankings from the program’s inception — and it has snowballed from there. In June 2013, the company was awarded a Multiple Award Contract for physical security and access control for U.S. Navy installations around the world, and this January, Securityhunter was awarded a third option year under the BPA with HHS. “We have a lot of DoD clients — everything from the civilian side like DHS, HHS, EPA and VA to the Army and Navy (on the military side). For the Navy contract, as an example, we are maintaining security systems at two dozen bases — in places from Bahrain, to Afghanistan, to GITMO, to Hawaii, Fort Bragg and others.” 

 

Managing a Unique Company

Considering the amount of government work it has landed, you would think Securityhunter is a huge company — it’s not. Rogers has uniquely positioned the company as a sort of government security delegator. “Mainly what we do is rely on our outstanding subcontractors to do the work, and we serve as quality and program management and billing,” Rogers explains.

That means building key relationships with firms that can serve as subcontractors for these huge government projects. Rogers partners with big companies and small ones — you could probably call him the best friend of the integrator. “It’s building these coalitions — individually we shouldn’t be leading anything, but we put ourselves in a position where the smart money goes with us and those guys win big.