Ombra of Hillsborough County
Having come from a great company in Ohio, Michael Fieldson, a former intelligence analyst and engineer, knew he needed to create a space in Tampa where he and his team could solve some of the toughest challenges faced by the Department of Defense (DOD) through innovative technology solutions. Thus, the business owner started Ombra, a service-disabled veteran owned small business, where global security challenges are solved while always giving back to the community.
Starting out, Fieldson knew he needed to reach out to the Florida Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) at the University of South Florida to gain more information on local procedures as well as in-depth business guidance.
Once paired with Florida PTAC at USF procurement specialist, Karen Krymski, the business owner received help on an export marketing plan, market research, and making necessary connections that would encourage growth within his company. “I’m a former government employee so I was aware of the PTAC program. We’ve used a couple different services to date. One of those is an export marketing plan. We do a lot of small business innovative research and part of that, there’s an emphasis on commercialization,” Fieldson said. “We also had the PTAC help us with some of the financial analysis. We’re working through a program right now where they’re looking at our revenue over the last few years, some of our accounting systems, and helping us understand how do we scale to the next level,” Fieldson later added.
Since working with the Florida PTAC at USF, Fieldson also mentions how the company has grown in revenue. “There’s been tremendous growth. We often say that we either double, triple, or quadruple revenue every single year since 2018 and we expect that to continue to grow at that speed over the next five years,” he said.
With an impressive background in engineering, technology, and sciences, Fieldson also makes sure to create a space where lovers of technological innovation and engineering can thrive as he constantly opens his doors to engineering interns and veterans seeking to participate in meaningful work, which in turn has successfully grown the company in size. “We started hiring engineering interns out of USF, which was great, and we’ve really grown that engineering internship program. I think we’ve had about 20 interns that have come through that program. We’ve converted 25% of those into full time equivalents and so today we’re about 40 people,” Fieldson said.
The business owner attributes all of his success to the innovation within the company’s products and services as well as its people, stating that his biggest success so far has been due to “the innovative way that we’ve grown the business. Really what I would tell you, the innovation has really been about bringing in great people, giving them a great opportunity to expand their careers so we’ve had the engineering internship program. We’ve recently started using the steel bridge hiring heroes’ program, so we’re helping veterans transition into this type of work on the DOD support contractor side of the fence which is a huge opportunity for us to give back,” Fieldson expressed.
As the business continues to grow, the Fieldson says he will continue to take advantage of the services and resources offered by the Florida PTAC at USF.
“We’ll use the Florida PTAC to help us become more aware of other opportunities that are out there. Help us collaborate with folks in the local community as well as government organizations,” Fieldson mentioned.
When asked if there was any advice he would give his fellow small business owners, Fieldson happily gave the following response, “I would tell other small businesses that the Florida PTAC is a tremendous resource. We should definitely be using them and referring those other small businesses that are trying to grow. The Florida PTAC at USF is there to assist these companies to contribute into the local communities and also provide jobs, but also be prepared to work with the government and scale.”