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Good training means smooth sailing for Rocky Cintron's company, Force 3
Based on Cintron's Hispanic background (his father, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, was born in Puerto Rico), Force 3 in 1994 qualified for the Small Business Administration's set-aside program for minority-owned businesses. Revenues exploded to $75 million within five years.
Force 3 was grossing $150 million when it left the set-aside program in 2003, and it has doubled that over the last seven years. The company has been profitable in 18 out of the last 19 years.
Cintron said Force 3 won some contracts from the SBA program, but it was never "addicted." The company was self-sustaining, and it has continued to grow because of its emphasis on sales and on service to customers.
He has also pushed his firm into higher-margin businesses, such as consulting with agencies to help them plan their computer operations and prevent sabotage. About 90 percent of Force 3's business comes from the federal government.
It helped one federal agency install dental X-ray machines at 135 military bases around the world, a contract worth tens of millions of dollars that included a big on-site component for training dentists and technicians.
The hallways at company headquarters are decorated with nautical art, and Cintron's office is filled with self-help business tomes and Pittsburgh Steelers memorabilia.
Cintron, who owns 60 percent of the company, said he now concentrates on big strategy and hiring. He wants everyone to focus on sales and giving clients over-the-top service.
To that end, he added a new title to his job: "chief happiness officer."
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