Congratulations to REQ Clients: EY Entrepreneur of the Year

Today was the big reveal in Washington, DC… Ernst and Young (EY) announced the CEOs who have been selected as 2015 Entrepreneur of the Year finalists for the Greater Washington Region. We are excited that two of our clients, Craig Abod, CEO of Carahsoft, and Shervin Gerami, CEO of TeleWorld Solutions, made the esteemed list!

In addition, a few weeks ago we learned our client based in Indianapolis, Indiana, Ben Lanius, CEO of HighPoint Global, was named a finalist in the Ohio Valley region!

Finalists were selected by an independent judging panel made up of previous award winners and regional business leaders. The winners will be revealed at a black-tie awards gala on Thursday, June 18 at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner.

Thought I would share a little deeper insight below into Craig and Shervin, and why we are so proud (note, we’ll feature Ben Lanius in a separate post…):

It was also great to see a few REQ clients from our past with Tobin Moore, Adam Vitarello of OptoroDavid Link of ScienceLogicDenis McFarlane of Infinitive, alongside REQ friends Michael Ortner of CapterraAllen Gannett of TrackMaven, and Kevin MacDonald of KitCheck. We will be rooting for you!

Craig Abod, Carahsoft

Founded in 2004, Carahsoft grew steadily and exponentially without missing a beat, through its 10th anniversary in January 2014, where it celebrated its $1.7 Billion year in 2013. Remarkable! Then, not to let grass grow under their feet, the company crossed the $2 BILLION mark in revenue just 10 months into 2014, increasing sales in 2014 by more than $600M over 2013. And they haven’t slowed down.

Craig Abod has been driven from the beginning to build the best sales and marketing organization for partners who sell into the government marketplace, and is continuing on the same trajectory. He is now pursuing expansion into other international marketplaces, and won’t be stopped.

The company has grown from nothing (zero!) to $2.4B in sales in 2014; from a handful of trusted associates working in Craig’s garage to nearly 500 employees in its Reston headquarters; from one partner to virtually every major software manufacturer in world.

Craig’s vision, tenacity, healthy paranoia, and lead-by-example style have enabled Carahsoft to overcome a host of challenges: to innovate in the face of ongoing budget uncertainty, to anticipate the needs of the market, and to exceed performance targets with great consistency.

I have known Craig personally for over 20 years, and every year my admiration grows!

One unique trait in Carahsoft I admire, is that Craig and his team are big believers in giving back to the community; in addition to company-wide support for annual campaigns championed by his staff, Craig also supports the personal charitable interests of his employees and his partner ecosystem through donations and time off. Last year this employee-directed giving was raised to an entirely new level. When the company hit its super stretch goal of $2.4B, Craig contributed another sizable donation to the charities his employees identified. More than 300 team members nominated a total of 205 causes, and every one of those charities received a contribution from Carahsoft.

I am very excited for you Craig, congratulations! Well deserved.

Shervin Gerami, TeleWorld Solutions

Shervin took the reins of TeleWorld Solutions in 2009 and has since built it into a unique and successful service provider for the telecommunications industry. The company has gone from $0 (yes, zero) revenue in 2008 to $31 million in revenue today, thanks to Gerami’s disruptive approach of offering productized “solutions” that are tailored to the needs of each client, saving them time and money. This has led to greater efficiencies for TeleWorld Solutions’ clients.

He noted to me that when he got his start, most clients would request “resumes,” to place on a projet, but Shervin would say, “tell me your problem, and pay me when it’s done,” saving costs and time in the meantime. The approach paid off…

I have known Shervin a few years now, and I am impressed by his tenacity and vision, especially for taking over a company in recessionary times!

This approach has enabled Shervin to grow TeleWorld with double-and triple digit growth year over year, receiving accolades along the way. They earned Inc5000 recognition two years in a row, and TeleWorld was named one of the “2014 100 Most Promising Companies in America” by Forbes MagazineSmartCEO also bestowed upon Shervin its 2014 SmartCEO Future 50 Award.

Good luck Shervin, and congratulations!