(Jeffrey MacMillan/Capital Business)

Three contracting veterans have started an information technology services company they say will be better positioned to win work in a tough budgetary environment.

Larger contractors are “out of alignment [with what] the government customer has the pocketbook to buy,” said Richard Y. Pineda, one of the co-founders of Vienna-based Spear. “In order to succeed and grow, they have to shed the pounds; we’re able to go and get in the ring right away.”

Pineda, who will serve as Spear’s chief executive, last worked as president of Dell’s federal services business. His co-founders are Noel N. Samuel, Spear’s chief financial officer and the former CFO for Dell’s public sector services business, and Gino Antonelli, the company’s chief operating officer and a former executive vice president at Intelligent Decisions.

Spear, which will provide IT services such as cybersecurity and software design as well as management consulting services, has opened an office and is readying to ink its first subcontract, Pineda said.

The company opens its doors at a time of change for the industry. Some of the largest government contractors, such as Lockheed Martin, have been slimming their workforce and facilities to lower their costs.

At the same time, large and mid-size contractors have been rapidly buying up smaller businesses, in many cases trying to improve their access to particular agencies or their capabilities in growth areas such as cybersecurity or health information technology.

While acknowledging the difficult market, Spear’s founders, who started the firm using their own money, said the company will seek to combine the best of small and large businesses.

Small contractors and start-ups generally are agile, said Pineda, but they “don’t have the access, the capabilities [or] the experience of the three individuals here.”

Pineda said the firm is busy building its team and plans to soon bring on a vice president of human resources and business operations and has nine other positions open.

The company expects most of its early work to be with other contractors, rather than directly with the government. Spear is already in talks to partner exclusively or form mentor-protege relationships with larger firms.

“One of the things that we know based on our previous leadership roles is that to establish alignment with ... viable small businesses is of extraordinary importance” to large contractors, Antonelli said.