From retail and restaurants to tech and media, contractors to coworking spaces, large, small, and everything in between, a diverse array of businesses call Alexandria home. In our blog series, Growing in Alexandria, we sit down to talk with businesses around the City to learn more about who they are, what they do, and why they love it here. Have an idea for a business in Alexandria to talk to? Email us!
For the last Growing in Alexandria blog of the year, our business development team met up (virtually) with Stephan Ortman, Owner & Managing Member of Ortman Consulting, a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned agency that was founded in Alexandria in 2008.
AEDP: To get us started, please tell us a little about your agency.
Stephan: We are a small, service-disabled veteran-owned IT Consulting Business. We focus on designing, deploying and supporting cutting-edge systems for the Federal Government and other private defense system integrators. Our specialty lies in cross-domain systems that enable mission users to view, move and interact with information across different security domains at the same time. We also focus on secure wireless and secure data-at-rest solutions that help our customers access and store their information securely in mobile and deployed environments.
AEDP: Can you share how you got started?
Stephan: Our start goes back to the time the founder (myself) was an officer at Air Force Research Lab supporting the development and deployment of cross-domain solutions. The experience and connections he built during that time helped him start his consulting business – initially working with Air Force programs on their software and system development efforts. From there, the company expanded its reach to other solutions and customers.
AEDP: Interesting! What is the biggest challenge of running your own business?
Stephan: Finding talent. We work with cutting edge technologies that few people have experience in. We know we can’t readily find people with experience in the systems we build and support. So instead, we look for candidates who have a strong technical background and have shown growth and curiosity in learning new things. Getting a sense of these critical strengths requires evaluating many candidates and assessing them in multiple ways through multiple interviews. The process takes time and a lot of effort.
AEDP: Looking forward, what is the next big project or goal you are working on?
Stephan: A while back we partnered with a software startup in the development of software for securing data on hard drives (known as “Data at Rest” software). This is our first foray into selling/marketing a product on our own. The software allows users to store sensitive data on their laptop or other devices and have very strong assurance that the data stored cannot be compromised by a malicious actor. There are existing products out there but our partnership has created a product that is orders of magnitude less expensive and easier to use and maintain. We are excited to get this product out into the community after several years of development.
AEDP: To close us out, please share your favorite thing about Alexandria, and why you chose to locate Ortman Consulting here?
Stephan: The DMV has many places to host our type of business – what sets Alexandria apart is its charm and beauty. When we host customers from outside of town, they always comment on the character and “small town” feel of this place – even though we are right in the middle of all the action. It’s a combination you can’t find anywhere else in the DC Area.
Alexandria is also my home – living and working in Alexandria really is an unbeatable combination. It is also easily accessible to our employees and customers – both within the region and who come from outside and fly into Reagan National Airport.
To learn more about Ortman Consulting, visit their website.