Archive for the Relyant Category

Knoxville 40 Under 40

Posted on December 26, 2010 with No Comments


Their professions include artist and inventor, bankers and lawyers, fundraiser and restaurateur. Their fields include advertising, information technology, real estate and television.

Their work takes them into the classroom, the examining room and on the golf course.

Eric Barton Selected to 40 under 40

Many draw their paychecks from Knoxville’s leading employers, although several have set up shop on their own.  They care about our children, the food we eat, the energy we expend and those who are less fortunate.  They’re the Greater Knoxville Business Journal’s “40 under 40,” – 40 individuals under the age of 40 who are making their mark in business and the community.  For the second year, the Business Journal introduces young leaders who are doing well, and doing good by giving back to the region that’s helped them achieve their success.

Nearly 150 nominations were received this year, and roughly 80 nominations from last year were updated. The list was winnowed with the aim of creating a diverse group reflective of the range of opportunities available in East Tennessee. No repeats exist from last year’s list, and we’ve included a list of alumni.

View the names and profiles.

RELYANT President Shifts to Chairman Role

Posted on November 2, 2010 with No Comments

MARYVILLE, Tenn. (November 2, 2010) – RELYANT, LLC announced today that CEO and President Eric W. Barton has transitioned to the role of Chairman of the Board. In this role, Barton will be responsible for facilitating the board’s development of long-range strategic planning, governance and oversight.

This transition planning has been underway since 2009. Barton’s day-to-day operating responsibilities will be divided between Daniel J. Smith and Jack H. MacRae. Smith will serve as President and COO, while MacRae will continue in his present role of CFO.

Under Barton’s leadership since the company’s founding in 2006, RELYANT has seen continued growth and expanding opportunities.  The current fiscal year represents over 100% growth from 2009 with revenues expected to top $40 million.

“Eric’s vision has helped RELYANT establish its brand and build a strong position in our core markets,” said Smith. “While we’re going to miss his day-to-day engagement with the company, his guidance on our Board of Directors will be a great fit for Eric’s ability to see opportunities, areas to improve upon, and develop plans.”

“Building RELYANT with Dan and the rest of our team has been an incredibly rewarding experience,” Barton observed. “Now, we’re in a position to continue that growth, and I look forward to guiding the Board as we continue building the strategic foundation that will enable RELYANT’s ongoing success.”

RELYANT is a global provider of solutions to complex projects. The company offers services including construction, life support, demining, logistics/procurement, security, and IT communications. RELYANT is headquartered in Maryville with offices in San Antonio, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Uganda. More info at


Posted on September 29, 2010 with No Comments

RELYANT is attending the IPOA Annual Summit October 17-19, 2010 –


Posted on September 17, 2010 with No Comments

MARYVILLE, TN (September 16, 2010) – RELYANT, LLC, a Maryville-based company providing worldwide strategic support services, has hired Jack M. MacRae as its Chief Financial Officer and Vice President, Risk & Administrative Services.

Mr. Macrae joins RELYANT from Safety and Ecology Corporation where he participated as a member of the company’s executive team since 1996.  His diverse and increasing responsibilities within the company paralleled the organization’s rapid growth, domestically and internationally.  His roles ranged from general counsel, management of corporate operations, and an assignment abroad as the managing director of the company’s UK subsidiary.  His tenure concluded with responsibilities as chief financial officer and management of international operations.

Prior to SEC, MacRae was a practicing attorney with nationally and regionally recognized law firms.  He started his career as a field artillery officer with the US Army.  Mr. MacRae holds a B.A. in Political Science from Miami University (Ohio), and a MBA and JD from the University of Tennessee.

At RELYANT, MacRae’s responsibilities will include development of capitalization strategies to support the company’s accelerating growth, as well as refinement of financial systems and operational controls. He will report to CEO and President Eric W. Barton.

“Jack gives us more than 20 years of practical experience designing financial and overall business strategies that produce results,” said Eric W. Barton, CEO and President of RELYANT. “His U.S. Army background and deep knowledge of the government contracting landscape will be valuable to RELYANT as we grow our overseas business units and continue our introduction to the domestic market.”

Since June, RELYANT has won several major contracts and contract extensions, including a $49 million demining and UXO contract, a $7 million expansion to its spray foam insulation task order for forward operating bases in Afghanistan, and an expansion to its vehicle maintenance contract in Iraq. In late August, the company announced award of a task order for the movement and transportation of equipment in Afghanistan.

RELYANT is a global provider of solutions to complex projects. The company offers services including construction, life support, demining, logistics/procurement, security, and IT communications. RELYANT is headquartered in Maryville with offices in San Antonio, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Uganda. Photos and more info at


Posted on September 1, 2010 with No Comments

MARYVILLE, TN – RELYANT, LLC, a Maryville-based company providing worldwide strategic support services, has been awarded a task order for movement and transportation of equipment throughout Afghanistan.  This allows RELYANT to move their own goods and equipment to locations where they operate.

RELYANT currently moves construction materials, spray foam, and de-mining equipment around Afghanistan with our local national transportation and security partner. RELYANT has demonstrated success in moving equipment in a low profile manner when feasible to mitigate the risk of terrorist attack on our supply chain. This has greatly reduced the losses to our materials and supplies. RELYANT can also perform standard convoy operations which can move any product around country with minimal losses. Losses sustained by other companies are much higher than RELYANT’s with our current partners. The company uses a tiered approach to movements, based on daily threat analysis done by our security management staff that has more than 20 years of combined experience in high-threat environments.

Our local partners are vetted and experienced in movement of materials around Afghanistan.  They currently conduct more than 200 convoys per month to all parts of the country.  They have experienced, well trained, and well equipped convoy teams with knowledge of the terrain and roads for which they travel on a daily basis.  Our partners have been used by the Department of Defense and other Government agencies to conduct missions in very short time frames when needed by the client.

RELYANT is a global provider of solutions to complex projects. The company offers services including construction, life support, demining, logistics/procurement, security, and IT communications. RELYANT is headquartered in Maryville with offices in San Antonio, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Uganda.


Posted on August 24, 2010 with No Comments

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – High heat and swirling dust could not keep 300 men and women from turning out for the “Dog Days of Summer” 10K run at Bagram Airfield, sponsored by RELYANT on August 14, 2010. The airfield is home to the 455th Expeditionary Air Wing.

More than 300 took part in the run. Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and civilians stationed at Bagram Airfield shared the race route, competing with two military working dogs for first prize in the race. Congratulations to U.S. Army SGT Sam Morris, the race winner.

Due to the high operational pace of units at Bagram Airfield, the race route was shared with all military traffic.

“The men and women at Bagram work incredibly hard day after day, coping with challenges that most of us can’t imagine,” said Don Patton, vice president of operations at RELYANT. “The Dog Days race is a great way for these dedicated people to release some stress and have a great time. We were pleased to sponsor it.”

RELYANT is a global provider of solutions to complex projects. The company offers services including construction, life support, demining, logistics/procurement, security, and IT communications. RELYANT is headquartered in Maryville with offices in San Antonio, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Uganda.

Contractors’ home base is local, work is far from home

Posted on May 20, 2010 with No Comments

Supporting the War Fighter – Eric W. Barton

Relyant Spray Foam Insulation

An explosion caused by a live shell left behind at a World War II-era military base killed two California boys in 1983 and triggered a new private industry funded by the U.S. Department of Defense: finding and clearing explosives from former military sites.

“That event really brought to light the issue of unexploded ordnance,” says Matt Kaye, president and CEO of EOD Technology Inc. in Lenoir City. “EODT was one of the first couple of companies started to respond specifically to that issue.”

EOD Technology

Founded: 1987
Headquarters: Lenoir City
Offices: Washington D.C.; Tuscon, Ariz.; Huntsville, Ala.; Kabul, Afghanistan; Baghdad, Iraq; Pretoria, South Africa; Kuwait City, Kuwait; San Jose, Costa Rica; Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria
Leadership: Matt Kay, president, CEO
Ownership: Employee owned
2010 projected revenues: $300 million
East Tennessee employment: 170
Global employment: 5,000, including contractors
Ranking: No. 86, Top 100 Defense Contractors; No. 118, Top Government Contractors by Government Executive magazine

The company, founded in 1987 by two retired Marine sergeants, worked through the next decade removing explosive ordnance and accumulating the experience to win multimillion dollar contracts as the U.S. military increased its presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The company – along with a Maryville firm launched by two former EODT employees – has seen its fortunes grow exponentially as the Defense Department has turned increasingly to the private sector to support the its efforts in the Middle East. Contracts awarded by the Defense Department grew from $170 billion in 2002, the year before the Iraq war began, to $365.9 billion in 2009, according to the federal government’s USA Spending website. EODT has capitalized on that trend since receiving its first contract in Iraq in 2003 to clear explosives from oil fields and industrial centers. “Certainly the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have fueled a lot of opportunity, a lot of growth for us. They have also put us on a bigger stage worldwide,” Kaye says.

Its core business remains explosive ordnance disposal, hence its name, but since adding security services to protect is own operations, EODT has expanded to provide security for military installations, embassies and borders. It has also added construction, building temporary housing for troops and contractors, along with services needed to support operations, including information technology and logistics, to its offerings. “A lot of the work that we have done in Iraq, and a lot of the work we are doing in Afghanistan now, is associated with cleaning up land mines, the explosive remnants of war,” Kaye says.

EODT, which expanded in 2008 into additional offices and a warehouse in Kingston, employs about 170 people locally and about 5,000 around the globe, including contract workers, with about 4,000 of them in Iraq and Afghanistan now.

The company was ranked among the top 600 U.S. Department of Defense contractors for fiscal 2009, receiving contracts worth $66.8 million, according to a federal government listing of contractors at The company was one of 84,079 contractors awarded Defense Department contracts totaling $365.9 billion in 2009, according to the spending report. Government Executive magazine ranked EODT as 86th among the Top 100 Defense Contractors and 118th among the Top Government Contractors for 2008. Competitors include giant companies with a broad scope of services, such as Tetra Tech and Shaw Environmental, as well as much smaller, specialized companies, Kaye says. “A lot of companies popped on the scene as Iraq and Afghanistan happened, as these wars came about,” he says. “There is a whole element of our business that is understanding how to work with the government within the regulations and being able to do that properly. It takes some time to gain a full understanding and appreciation for that.”

EODT won its first federal contract in 1992 for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and grew steadily to about $25 million in annual revenues in 2003. Entering Iraq in 2003, EODT doubled its annual revenues to about $50 million. “We have built from there and are projecting about $300 million this year,” Kaye says. Its strategic growth plan aims to take the company to $1 billion, he adds. Earlier this year, EODT was named prime contractor on a $945 million contract – its largest to date – to provide national and international military support services, including munitions clearance and hazardous waste cleanup. Among its subcontractors are Science Applications International Corporation and CAPE Inc., global companies with offices in Oak Ridge and Knoxville, respectively.

Developing infrastructure

Relyant, based in Maryville, entered the business of supporting military operations more recently, with its founding in 2006 as Critical Mission Support Services.


Founded: 2006 as Critical Mission Support Services
Headquarters: Maryville
Offices: Afghanistan, Iraq, Africa
Principals: Eric Barton, president/CEO, and Daniel Smith, vice president of operations
Projected 2010 revenues: $30 million
East Tennessee employment: 20
Global employment: 200, including contractors
Owned by former EODT employees, Relyant landed its first $17 million contract for vehicle maintenance in Iraq in 2007, according to Eric Barton, Relyant president and CEO since 2008.

Barton and vice president of operations Daniel Smith, both former Marines, are equal partners in the company. “We consider ourselves to be an infrastructure development company that works in a war zone,” Barton says. In 2008, the company won contracts in Afghanistan to construct two- and three-story relocatable buildings and to provide spray foam insulation to tents. “A lot of what we do is smaller in scale, so you don’t have big businesses going after this business. We are the only company actively spraying foam in Afghanistan,” he adds.

Relyant’s technicians spray foam on military tents, coating them with an inch or two of insulation, and have them ready for occupancy in an hour. Barton ticks off the savings to the Army: a 66 percent reduction in fuel costs, 11,000 fewer troops on the road delivering fuel, a reduction from five to two gallons of fuel per hour for a generator. “This is a feel-good contract for us. At the end of the day we can go home and see the impact. The troops are sleeping better, the climate-controlled tent is easy to manage, not nearly as many troops are on the road delivering the fuel, which is dangerous,” Barton says. “Outside those FOBs (forward operating bases), the safety zones, it is cowboy country.”

This year, Relyant also entered the security contracting business, winning a $10 million contract with the Joint Contracting Command in Afghanistan to provide escorts for construction contractors at the forward base at Sharana, Afghanistan. Barton said 125 people will be working on that contract by June. Relyant now has more than 200 employees and contract workers in Afghanistan and Iraq, with most in Afghanistan, and about 20 employees in its Maryville office. Barton expects to have contracts worth $30 million by mid-year and projects that Relyant will expand significantly as the need for its services grows, even as the United States. eventually withdraws from the Middle East war zones.

Planning for war’s end

What happens when most U.S. troops head home?

The CEOs say their companies have strategic plans addressing their growth as the military diminishes its presence in Iraq and Afghanistan. And both say the companies aren’t totally dependent upon U.S. military contracts now. “Somebody has to come in and deal with what’s left behind,” Kaye says of peacetime contract possibilities. “As Iraq redevelops, the legacy of Saddam’s regime and the legacy of the wars are still there. There is still a tremendous amount of de-mining and explosive cleanup that has to be done in order for oil exploration to go on.”

He expects his company’s role to continue to be as important as military needs to change.

“A lot of our services in the future will be employed under the smart power concept, applying a bit more effort before conflict to avoid conflict,” he says. While 65 percent of EODT’s business is in Iraq and Afghanistan, the company also maintains offices in South Africa and Costa Rica, where it provides security at U.S. embassies, and in Kuwait and Nigeria. Besides the federal government, Kaye says the United Nations, United Kingdom and NATO are among EODT clients.

Stability operations around the world are the future for the company – work that requires getting to some remote location and supporting those there with food, shelter and security, whatever the reason. “That whole integrated stability operations package is our business model going forward. We look to grow that to about $1 billion,” Kaye says.

Barton says an estimated 90 percent of Relyant’s work is in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the company is seeking to increase its commercial business here and overseas by marketing its infrastructure development capabilities for use wherever needed. Similar to EODT’s stability operations, Barton said he envisions the company setting up everything needed to support a camp – relocatable buildings, tents, information technology and other life-support systems – anywhere in the world. “The revenue from Iraq and Afghanistan is not going to be a forever opportunity,” Barton says. “That makes us work that much harder to get our business established in the U.S.” Relyant also has offices in Uganda, Jordan and Libya.

Litigious split

EODT and Relyant may be neighbors, but they’re not all that friendly.

Litigation and accusations included in lawsuits – allegations that those founding Critical Mission Support Services stole trade secrets from EODT while working for EODT, and counter-allegations that EODT violated arms export laws and overcharged the government – make it unlikely that the two would ever partner to bid on a military contract. A lawsuit filed by EODT against CMSS resulted in an agreement in January that CMSS would change its name. The CMSS name was similar to the name of a business unit of EODT’s, Kaye says, and that was confusing to clients.

Barton said the name change to Relyant, which officially occurred April 1 and was rolled out at a celebration at the Tennessee Theatre on April 12, had been in the planning stages before the settlement was reached. Both would comment only briefly on the lawsuit.

“That was what we wanted out of the suit,” Kaye says of the other company’s name change.

Barton says, “The name change was something we were happy to embrace.”

While Relyant is privately owned, EODT employees have a share of the business through an employee stock ownership plan. Barton, as a former EODT employee, says he remains connected to his former employer through that plan and hopes EODT continues to do well.

The two CEOs bring back different backgrounds and management styles to their roles.

Kaye, an Oak Ridge native with a bachelor’s degree in finance from Auburn University, worked at SAIC and Westinghouse before joining EODT in 1993 as a marketing assistant was subsequently promoted to marketing director, finance director and vice president before assuming his current role. His understanding of the “nuances of working with the government,” he says, complimented the experience of the skilled bomb technicians that founded the company.

Barton, originally from Illinois, joined the Marines at age 17 and later received his bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University in electronics management. Barton went on to earn two masters’ degrees and began work on a doctorate before joining EODT in 2005 and then Critical Mission Support Services in 2007. He became president and CEO in 2008. One of his Dobermans often accompanies him to work in Maryville.

Kaye divides his time between EODT’s corporate headquarters in Lenoir City and its office in Washington, D.C.. Barton said he spends an average of one to two weeks each month traveling to various Relyant locations, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

Kay Brookshire is a contributing writer to the Greater Knoxville Business Journal.

East Tennessee Business Journal – Relyant

Posted on May 13, 2010 with No Comments

Maryville Company Launches Global Branding

After two years of solid growth, expanding service offerings and a fast start for 2010, Mayville-based Critical Mission Support Services (CMSS) is changing its name and initiating a global rebranding campaign. The company will now operate under the name RELYANT.

“Through a combination of hard work and enthusiastic customer acceptance, our company has achieved significant results in a relatively short period of time,” said Eric Barton, CEO of RELYANT. “The name change to RELYANT is a direct reflection of our success and reflects the company not only as it is today, but our vision for the future. In the company’s vision statement, we say ‘working with our company is a promise delivered.’ Our new name accurately reflects that promise, communicates the type of organization we are, the confidence we have in our capabilities and our customer dedication.”

Founded in 2006, RELYANT is a global “turn-key” service provider dedicated to delivering world-class solutions to complex projects around the globe. The company’s services include construction, life support, logistics/procurement, security and IT communications. In addition to its Maryville headquarters, the company operates another U.S. office in San Antonio and offshore offices in Iraq, Afghanistan and Uganda.

RELYANT’s revenue growth over the past three years has increased from $7 million in 2006 to a projected $80 million in contract revenue for 2010. RELYANT’s services offerings have also expanded with the addition of relocatable building services for commercial companies in Afghanistan, spray foam insulation services for military bases in the states, expanded vehicle maintenance in Iraq and Afghanistan, a contract to provide staffing for forward operating bases and the teaming with new partners to develop rapid housing deployment capabilities.

East Tennessee Business Journal
Feb 28, 2010 – Mar 31, 2010

Eric Barton & the Boys on the X-Star

Posted on May 4, 2010 with No Comments

Eric Barton & the Boys on the X-Star at Fort Loudon Marina

We had a great time on the lake this weekend. The boys enjoyed the new boat as did Daddy!! We are glad the weather is finally nice enough to enjoy the new toys…

Tennessee Theater Rebranding Celebration

Posted on April 14, 2010 with No Comments

Relyant Team

MARYVILLE, Tenn. – On Monday, April 12, RELYANT (formerly Critical Mission Support Services or CMSS) hosted a celebration to recognize the tremendous growth of the Maryville-based company over the past three years and to officially unveil its new name. The event, which was hosted at the Tennessee Theatre, welcomed employees, business partners and customers of the company.

Founded in 2006, RELYANT is a global “turn-key” service provider dedicated to delivering world-class solutions to complex projects around the globe. The company’s services include construction, life support, logistics/procurement, security and IT communications.

“We want to thank all of our employees, customers and business partners who have helped us become the successful company that we are today,” said Eric Barton, President, CEO and Founder of RELYANT. “Our remarkable growth could not have been achieved without everyone in the room tonight.”

In addition to its Maryville headquarters, the company operates another U.S. office in San Antonio, Texas and offshore offices in Iraq, Afghanistan and Uganda.

RELYANT’s revenue growth over the past three years has increased from $7 million to a projected $30 million in contract revenue in 2010. In March, RELYANT announced the win of a $10 million contract with the Joint Contracting Command, Afghanistan. This contract serves as a vehicle to provide third country national or U.S. National personnel in support of the coalition efforts in Afghanistan.

“When the Afghanistan escort contract was awarded, we secured a significant portion of our total new business revenue goal for the year,” said Daniel Smith, Vice President and Founder of RELYANT. “Besides new revenue, this contract means more employees, thus a larger footprint in Afghanistan.”

“Our business in Afghanistan has expanded dramatically as a result of the contract. The number of employees has grown 75 percent in the last three months alone,” said Ryan Bennett, Country Manager for RELYANT’s Afghanistan branch.

RELYANT’S Afghan contract includes building two and three-story barracks as well as installing spray foam insulation on United States Armed Forces soft sided surfaces. So far, RELYANT has sprayed more than 2.5M square feet of foam insulation in the last year and a half.

Since the foam provides incredible insulation, it helps significantly reduce the amount of diesel fuel needed to power the generators for the soldiers’ living quarters. In turn, this reduction in diesel fuel means fewer trips needed for trucks to transport the fuel, reducing threat to our troops.

RELYANT’s foam insulation application has already eliminated 5,000 truck trips. Each truck trip must be accompanied by armed security, so this means that the spray foam insulation produces a dramatic increase in energy efficiency and a significant reduction in the use of military personnel.

The company expects to eliminate 10,000 truck trips over a three year period in Afghanistan.

RELYANT was recognized in 2009 by BusinessTN Magazine as one of Tennessee’s Top 100 Fastest Growing Companies. For more information on RELYANT, visit


Eric W. Barton
President & CEO