How Neany broke $100M in prime contracts

Neany Inc. CEO Steven Steptoe shares his recipe for 8(a) success: agility, quick returns and focus

Neany Inc. proves that confidence goes a long way.

2012 marks the second year that the company has made the Top 25 list. Specializing in engineering, field deployment, logistics, rapid prototyping, and services for unmanned aerial systems, the company won $117,800,000 in fiscal 2011 prime contracts, securing the No. 3 spot.

Steven Steptoe, Neany president and CEO, said that he likes the fast-paced, ever-changing environment of his market.

“Being small gives us mobility, quick return capability, et cetera, and that’s what makes it interesting—there’s nothing you can’t fix,” Steptoe said.

Another reason he likes his market is due to what the company offers. “Our main objective is logistics,” Steptoe said, for forward deployed unmanned air and ground systems.

Neany also has a hand in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance services, or ISR. “We’ve always had our eye to going out to trying to support programs that needed technology that was wireless, that needed to be able to see in an ISR environment,” he said.

This was especially helpful 10 years ago, when the country was far less technologically advanced than it is now. Back then, there wasn’t a whole lot out there, Steptoe said.

The dangers of the current war, however, make the services that Neany provides invaluable across the military services. They are in high demand. The company's largest customers are the Army Corps of Engineers and NAVAIR.

Steptoe attributes much of the company’s success to the 8(a) program. He reported that company receives between $1 million and $1.5 million from the program.

Part of Neany’s success as an 8(a) is due to how the company respects the program. Steptoe sees companies that offer their 8(a) designation as representatives of the larger program.

“They have a venue that they have to maintain,” Steptoe said. If companies see the 8(a) program as such, they are less likely to treat it as a handout program.

“A lot of people go into this business, and they say, ‘okay I’m here, give it to me.’ It doesn’t that work that way,” Steptoe said. “The one thing you have to do is to understand the market that you’re going in, and what you’re going after, and then understand how to apply the resources that you have.”

It’s through this approach that Neany is on track to graduate from the program, in early 2014, ahead of expectations.

That’s “because of good mentoring and a lot of good, positive attributes that the [Small Business Administration] has,” Steptoe said.

As for how the company plans on adjusting to life after the 8(a) program, Steptoe said that he’s looking for new frontiers. He’ll be looking for ways to continue his companies’ growth and ways “to compete into this new arena that I will be falling into,” Steptoe said.