There’s nothing traditional about a 17-year-old girl growing up near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, who joins the Army, gets married, decides to go back to school to earn her computer electronics degree while taking care of three small children, goes on to earn two more degrees, and starts a successful business that earns numerous awards.

But then there’s nothing traditional about Staci L. Redmon, President and CEO of Strategy and Management Services, Inc. (SAMS).

How did SAMS start, and how did it get from a company of one to a multi-million dollar company? As SAMS approaches its nine-year anniversary, we take time to look back at the many achievements and milestones along the way, and as we look forward toward the future, think about lessons learned.

 

Starting a Business
When Staci first founded SAMS, she funded it with her 401(k). “When you’re at the beginning stages of your business, you’re learning how to be an entrepreneur. When you look at minority business owners, they go through the same challenges. How do we get to the first $10,000? How do we find the first five clients who are going to keep the business going? How do we identify those first employees? Those are classical challenges for small-business owners.”

Staci talked to everyone she could about starting a business. Some of them later became her customers. She is fond of saying, “People do business with people they know, like and trust.”

 

SAMS’ First Client
SAMS’ reputation in the industry led to its first customer. A woman Staci had worked with when they were both government contractors was looking for someone with the company’s capabilities. Having recently launched SAMS, Staci declined the offer, but made the woman an offer: “Do you trust me to hire the right people who will come support you?” The woman said yes, and SAMS had its first customer.

 

SAMS Gets its Own Office
At first, Strategy and Management Services was run out of Staci’s own home. As the company gradually matured it was managed out of a small incubator space. However, as SAMS’ growth exploded in 2013, the company moved to its current office location in Springfield, Virginia.

 

SAMS’ First Industry Award
After just five short years of business, SAMS received its first industry award, placing fourth on the Washington Technology Fast 50 List as one of the fastest-growing private companies in America. Since then, SAMS has received over 34 industry awards, including being placed on the Fast 50 List for three consecutive years and the Inc. 500/5000 List for two years in a row, accomplishments SAMS takes great pride in.

SAMS also ranked #14 on the Women Presidents Organization’s (WPO) 50 Fastest Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies Worldwide. Additionally, Staci was a recipient of an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Patriot Award for her dedication to employees in the National Guard and Reserves.

 

VIVID Vision 2020

In 2015, the SAMS’ team carefully crafted a “2020 Vision,” an outline of desired accomplishments for the company to complete by 2020. The strategic vision has served as a catalyst by helping to perfect sales and leadership strategies that have catapulted SAMS’ growth and secured future contracts by providing guidance in growth, financial management, negotiations and marketing.

 

Making a Difference
More than 136 new jobs have been created since SAMS was founded, with over 75 percent of our employees being either Veterans or family members of Veterans.

Not only does SAMS provide for our nation’s services members, but also members of the community in need. Through SAMS Cares, the charitable sector of SAMS, team members all across the country have volunteered hundreds of hours to support efforts that range from providing resume review for transitioning veterans, to collecting school supplies for disabled children, to helping with local area food banks and animal shelters. SAMS never misses out on an opportunity to give back.

 

Never Giving Up
As SAMS celebrates its ninth anniversary, Staci’s words still ring true: “Just when you think you can’t, don’t give up. You can. Find someone to talk to because you are going to doubt yourself and you’re going to have days that you feel like quitting, but don’t quit. It gets better.

“You can do anything you want. You gotta put your teeth into it and go.”