Enrique A. Tessada says he started his company in 1993 with "$500 and a used Compaq computer."

It's the classic entrepreneurial success story, except that he ignored the traditional advice to find a niche and fill it.

Instead, Tessada, a native of Mexico and a former U.S. Navy aviator, sought out every niche in federal contracting he could find.

"We came into areas where we never were before, but that's where the government was going," he said.

His Springfield company benefited from the U.S. Small Business Administration's 8(a) program, which sets aside contracts for small and disadvantaged businesses. The firm "graduated" from the program at the end of last year.

Now, Tessada & Associates Inc. has more than 700 employees. It took in $69 million in revenue in its fiscal year ended Aug. 31, said Tessada, its president, chief executive and 91 percent owner.

It performs duties ranging from video production -- it produces live broadcasts and children's TV programming for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration -- to contract administration and janitorial services. It has contracts or sub-contracts with agencies include the Homeland Security Department, the Health and Human Services Department, the Defense Logistics Agency and the Naval Surface Warfare Center.

Last week, NASA said it has selected Tessada & Associates as its Minority Contractor of the Year.

Asked if his goals including selling the company or taking it public, Tessada said, "Something like that. My goal is to be a $100 million company by 2008."

Enrique Tessada followed clients into new areas.