3T-Innovations of Hillsborough County
After serving in the Army for 10 years, Francisco Valencia knew he wanted to continue working with and for the government. “I didn’t want to leave the Department of Defense philosophy. So I tried to find a way to still work in the military without being active duty any longer,” he said.
While in the military, he was a tactical communicator. “I provided and deployed all of the tactical communications to meet operational requirements that were used in the field by my airborne and tactical operations.” he explained. “Communication is always number one in the military. So we learn to be very dynamic and improvise as required.”
After getting out of the military, Valencia began working with numerous IT solution providers such as Cisco Systems Northrop Grumman, APPTIS Technologies and Logicon. However, he felt the large company approach slowed the process down and didn’t always meet customer requirements.
“In the military, the mission is always fast and you have to be very agile to respond and meet those requirements,” he said. “With the small business approach, we’re able to be very nimble and are able to meet those requirements. A lot of times you have to deploy quickly and we’re able to meet the challenges the military presents to industry.”
Valencia started 3T-Innovations, an IT solutions provider, in 2010. The company typically works with the federal government, primarily the Department of Defense. But they do federal civilian work as well. The company provides a programmatic approach to requirements analysis, design, integration and sustainment of emerging technologies., he explained. “We go in and try to discover what our customer requirements are from an operational perspective and then take the best of breeds of technology and then provide them a solution that can meet those requirements.”
In order to uphold the military philosophy and core values in his business, since the service-disabled minority-owned company started, 90 percent of the staff is Veterans.
“All of us take a lot of pride in still being able to serve our country in our own way,” he said. “And even though we’re not wearing the suit, we all maintain the same standards as we did when we were in the military and we take a lot of pride in what we do.”
Valencia said that turning to the Florida PTAC at University of South Florida in 2012 has been very beneficial to the growth of his company.
“The SBDC Network (PTAC) has assisted us in actually engaging with the right resources to acquire government contracts,” he said. “They have also introduced us to other businesses that are in the county and we have actually interacted with them to show them new technologies and talk about our core disciplines and technologies that we deploy as 3T-Innovations.”
He said the Florida PTAC at USF has provided introductions with the small business office for SOCOM and MacDill Air Force Base. Through these connections, the company was able to secure contracts with MacDill.
Since then, 3T-Innovations has experienced steady growth. Valencia said the contract growth has been approximately 150 percent yearly. The steady growth has led to expansion. At the end of 2014, 3T Innovations moved into a new, bigger location to cater to Valencia’s new goals for the company. “Our goal with 3T-innovations is to grow two different lines of businesses,” he said.
The first line is staff augmentation and management services and will be 75 percent of the business. He said through that line, there would be long-term, sustainable, annual contracts. The second line of business is annuity integration work, which will leverage the company’s different practice areas.
“We will be provide a variety of services such as virtualization, unified communications, and really just a single point for any type of technical support required,” he said.
Valencia attributes much of the company’s growth to the connections he was able to make with the help of the Florida PTAC at USF. He encourages other small businesses to do the same.
“I would recommend to any small businesses out there to get involved with their SBDC (PTAC) Network so that way they can leverage the contacts they have available and networking with the different events that are going on in the county. The exposure to the contacts and networks just basically open the opportunities,” he said.