A new frontier Featured

8:00pm EDT June 25, 2009
Finalist
Business Services

When Bill Roark co-founded Torch Technologies Inc., the goal of its first year was just to break even in revenue. But that first full year exceeded expectations and ended profitably. Over the next five years, the company saw 30 percent annual growth in both revenue and profits, and it became one of the fastest-growing, privately held defense contractor in the Southeast.

With this kind of success, most CEOs would just keep plugging away with what had already worked for them. However, Roark decided to take a different route. With no prime contracts being held, he could never truly control his destiny, but many obstacles, risks and uncertainties challenged the decision to move into prime contracting.

March 2008 brought major decisions. The contract that accounted for more than half of the company’s revenue was up for bid. The safe decision would have been to stay as a nonexclusive subcontractor to ensure a position on a winning team. If he decided to bid as a prime contractor, it would take eight proposals, despite the budget that year only allowing for two. Despite the risk of losing half the company’s business base, Roark decided to move forward with all eight bids. After bidding, the company won four of those prime contracts, providing the foundation for significant future growth.

In addition to the growth and success that Roark has led at the company, he’s also led the team in serving the community. He supported a small group of employees in founding a 501(c)(3) trust called Torch Helps for the sole purpose of helping others in the community. Today, the trust helps coordinate hundreds of volunteer hours as well as contributing thousands of dollars each year via grants to other nonprofit agencies.

How to reach: Torch Technologies Inc., (256) 319-6000 or www.torchtechnologies.com