A black-owned business that started in 1971 with a $20,000 computer-coding contract has signed an $8 million computer service contract, one of the largest ever awarded under the Small Business Administration's 8-A program to aid minority Firms.
Under the two-year contract, Raven Systems and Research Inc. will provide data processing services for the Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA contract allows Raven to double it's work force-from 150 to 300 people-said Raymond A. Mott, 39, Raven's founder and president.
Headquartered at 500 E St. SW, Raven has offices at 1000 16th St. NW, and 328 New York Ave. NW, and a facility in Altanta for research and developemt.
Mott said his first job in data processing was the basic entry-level position-coding data for entry into the computer. After five years with other Washington companies, Mott landed his first small contract, hired five coders and was in business.
The following year, Mott's firm began participating in the 8-A program, whcih gives minority contractors federal jobs without competitve bidding as a way of launching new business.
"Without 8-A, I wouldn't be here," said Mott, who described his firm as "still in the embryonic stage" despite the new $8 million contract, which has an option for a third year and another $4 million.
"We're not there yet," he said, "this is the kind of contract we need to develop. It gives us a chance to compete."
Voicing a criticism frequently raised about the 8-A program, Mott said earlier contracts were short-term assignments that made it difficult to build a permanent base.
The business now has six divisions-systems and programming data management, micrographics, research and development, word processing and data conversions. All six division will work on the new EPA contract, handling information about pesticides.