US Small Business Administration (SBA) selects Artech as "Regional Subcontractor" of the year


09/11/03 - Posted 10:31:44 PM from the Daily Record newsroom

John Bell / Daily Record
SBAdistrict director James A. Kocsi,left, with Ranjini Poddar, second from right, and some of her staff at Artech.

Morris Twp. company wins SBA award

Artech named best subcontractor of year in this region
By Tim O'Reiley, Daily Record

MORRIS TWP. - As the commercial technology markets were peaking in 2000, Ranjini Poddar scouted for more government- funded work as the way to keep Artech Information Systems growing.

While not foreseeing the subsequent tech meltdown, "We didn't think the dot-com boom was going to last," said Poddar, president of the computer systems consultant. "We thought we should have a broader customer base."

Since then, Artech has boosted from 10 percent to 50 percent the share of revenues coming from federal work, with the company on course to increase revenues from $13.9 million in 2002 to $18 million to $20 million this year.

The business plan also helped the company win the Small Business Administration's Subcontractor of the Year Award for the region including New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

SBA district director James A. Kocsi said Artech was nominated for the award by IBM because of subcontracting work that it did. Artech was chosen from among about 20 candidates.

While it made the selection based on several quality factors, Kocsi said, the agency did not consider a rising hot-button political issue, sending work off shore.

Of Artech's total of 350 permanent employees and independent contactors, about 150 are foreign- based, most of them in New Dehli, India. That office not only does marketing for that country but technical work for U.S. clients.

"The fact of the matter is that some business is done overseas," Kocsi said. "They (Artech) make a significant contribution in the U.S. The main focus of the award is the quality of service as opposed to how many jobs are sent overseas."

Poddar added that offshore locations have become a fact of life for many companies to hold down costs. "If you become domestic-centric, then eventually you will go out of business," she said.

Artech has attained an SBA Section 8(a) certification for winning contracts specifically set aside by the federal government for women- and minority-owned businesses.

Poddar said she has not gone after that work, but Kocsi noted that the 8(a) designation gives companies a leg up when trying to win jobs from prime contractors that are required to farm out some tasks to small businesses.

Artech has 120 employees in the United States, including 20 at the Morris Township head office. Many of them work on client sites and not out of an Artech cubicle.