Triangle Business Journal - Fast 50 2012

Orion ICS LLC Ranks #9 Of The 50 Fastest Growing Private Companies In The Triangle

Triangle Business Journal on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012 at the Fast 50 Awards dinner, revealed its 2012 Fast 50 Awards list rankings of the 50 fastest-growing private companies in the Raleigh-Durham area.

The Fast 50 winners were selected and ranked based on a formula that counts revenue growth and profitability in the preceding three years (2009-2011). The numbers are crunched and analyzed by PricewaterhouseCoopers, a Fast 50 partner.

"These winners represent organizations who have been champions of growth in the Triangle," says Bryan Hamilton, publisher of Triangle Business Journal. "These leaders are doing all they can to add jobs and inject cash into our community and we're so thankful for it."

2012 Fast 50 Award

#9, Orion ICS LLC

400 Regency Forest Dr., Ste. 310, Cary, NC

Business description: Staffing services: direct hire, contract and temp-to-perm

Number of employees in the Triangle: Approximately 30 in the Cary office, more than 300 nationwide

Top Triangle executives and title: Mike Starich, President; Tim Isacco, COO; Steve Bjerke, CFO

Mike Starich, President of Orion Talent answered the following questions asked by Triangle Buisness Journal after revealing Orion's achievement.

What is fueling your company's growth?
Internally, there were several strategies that contributed to our 100 percent-plus growth in revenue in 2011 over 2010, and 2012 is another strong growth year. Through the downturn of 2009 and 2010, we focused on the retention of our sales force in order to gain share when the market returned. Second, we focused on execution in our sales and operational staff to secure and build a fence around the business that we did capture. Third, we accelerated our efforts to create and offer a new military hiring program product to meet a customer desire to either begin or reinforce their military recruiting strategy. Last, but not least, we focused on building out an infrastructure in our contract and temp-to-perm business to support our move into this new territory for Orion.

Given the current conditions, what is your growth strategy?
In recent months, the hiring climate has softened and we anticipate this trend for the next quarter or so. We will keep our focus on building out our program offerings. We will also continue to focus on our contract and temp-to-perm business, which has shown its resiliency much more so than direct hire in the general staffing market.

What is your biggest success in the past 12 months?
Our military hiring program and landing some key strategic accounts: Siemens, Honeywell, Intel, and Samsung, to name a few.

What steps did you take to combat the economic downturn?
As mentioned earlier, we focused on sales force retention and diversified our offerings.

If you could go back to the start of the year, operationally, is there something you would have done differently?
In 2011, no. In 2012, yes. The wind industry forecast a bigger push toward the end of the year due to the Production Tax Credit not passing. As it unfolded, that push to finish projects did not materialize. So, although we had diversified that particular segment of our business in anticipation of a slowdown, we would have done some things a bit differently if we had better vision on this.

What are your company's chief goals in 2013?
We will focus on growing revenue and market share.

How many employees did you hire in the past 12 months, and how many do you plan to hire in the next 12 months?
In 2011, we grew our direct staff by approximately 20 percent and by approximately 15 percent in 2012. Our contractors and temp workers grew tremendously over the last two years, tripling our 2010 numbers.

What executive/CEO do you most admire in the business world?
It tends to change over time. Though there are many CEOs that are indeed worthy of admiration, I tend to admire former military leaders for their abilities and leadership. Recently even that has changed. I have read a few books regarding mountain climbing, and have admired Ed Viesturs, likely the United States' top mountaineer.

What keeps you up at night?
Well, up until the NFL referee strike was resolved, the replacement referees. Being a Green Bay Packers fan, that Seattle game kept me up that night. Seriously, I always worry if I have missed anything in my planning or if I am listening closely enough to my team and/or customers, while still acting on our initiatives.