As U.S. military operations in Afghanistan draw to a close, Maryville-based Vanquish Worldwide is shifting gears to domestic opportunities and expanding into new lines of business.
Vanquish has translated its experience moving fuel, equipment and supplies for coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan into a domestic trucking division. The company is also expanding into vocational and career training services through the acquisition of two Colorado-based firms.
To give the company more room to grow, Vanquish opened in June a 17,000-squarefoot headquarters in Maryville.
Eric Barton, a 39-year-old Marine veteran who founded Vanquish in 2007, hopes the diversification will insulate the company from the ups and downs of government contracting.
Growth at home, however, won’t be at the expense of the company’s original operations, he adds. Several recent contracts will keep Vanquish in Afghanistan in the foreseeable future.
“Even after the majority of the troops withdraw, we’ll still be performing retrograde services. Even the sustaining forces and the Afghan government will require bullets,Band-aids and food,” he says.
A relationship with global delivery giant FedEx, however, is fueling Vanguish’s domestic trucking operation, as well as recently inked deals with Denso and Rubbermaid, both of which operate in Blount County.
The company operates about 34 percent of the Nashville pickup and delivery market for the FedEx terminal there, delivering about 1.2 million packages. It invoices $1.4 million with FedEx annually for the operation. Barton would like to do the same with FedEx’s Knoxville routes, which he plans to acquire this summer.
Vanquish also began in February providing FedEx line haul services, delivering loads between terminals, prompting Barton’s confidence that the company can garner $10 million in FedEx revenue for 2015. Currently Vanquish carries excess orders FedEx’s own drivers cannot fulfill, but is working toward its own dedicated routes. “That’s really where the growth and sustainability is for us,” said Barton.
Barton is expanding Vanquish’s capabilities to qualify for that opportunity and others organically and through acquisitions.
A $5.6 million deal to acquire Nashville-based PAC Trucking, with 23 trucks, is expected to close in August.
Finding qualified drivers — an industry-wide challenge — is more difficult for Vanquish because of its defense contracts.
With the acquisition of Colorado-based Front Range Training and Consulting and its sister company Peak Technical Institute, Vanquish is looking to create its own solution.
“Peak Technical Institute is really a core growth business of ours,” Barton says. “Government contracting can have its ups and downs with markets and budgets, but people need to be trained. As the economy is coming back, manufacturing is moving back into the states, things are being moved, people need to be trained.”
Peak, which provides training primarily to off-road delivery drivers from Colorado’s oil fields, earlier this year added a commercial driver curriculum and is awaiting licensing by the state.
Other Peak programs include training for unexploded ordnance technicians, hazardous waste operations, emergency response, and oil and gas safety awareness. Peak is also launching programs in protocol and professional household management.
Front Range’s core offering is law enforcement training and its programs have been used by police forces from Chicago to Los Angeles. The company will soon train SWAT teams in Maryville and Blount County.
The new ventures won’t eclipse overseas services in the near future.
Barton estimates $9 million of the company’s $12.5 million first quarter revenue came from overseas.
The company continues to deliver materials within Afghanistan, and recently reopened an Iraq office after a two-year hiatus, he adds.
“I guess every person has to decide what makes them tick, and for me it’s being around different people, different challenges, and so the companies, — as diverse as they may seem, they have a common vision — that’s delivering excellence,” Barton says. “In transitioning into the civilian market, we do the same things here that made us successful over there — have the best equipment, the best-trained people and team that’s passionate about the job we’re doing.”
Vanquish Worldwide. The name evokes power and distance with a sense of precision and vagueness all at once. Sort of like the military. That’s no coincidence.
Consider the founder, president and CEO. Eric Barton spent 11 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. He intended to make a career of the corps. Stuff happened.
Stuff happening today includes a ribbon-cutting at Vanquish Worldwide’s new headquarters, 235 S. Old Glory Road, Maryville. The event will last 3 p.m.-6 p.m. with the ribbon sliced at 4 p.m. There will be refreshments, music, door prizes, even exotic horses.
Vanquish Worldwide describes itself as “an asset-based premier transportation provider that delivers a wide variety and the highest level of transportation and logistic solutions for government and commercial clients.”
Here’s what Barton calls his elevator speech: “We’re a supply team management government contracting firm. What we do is deliver excellence to our clients.” The stuff they deliver includes fuel, food, ammunition, armored vehicles — all sorts of materiel the U.S. government moves around Afghanistan.
“Our mantra in our years overseas has been: Support the war fighter forward in developing nations in hostile environments. That means a lot of things to a lot of different people. But we support the war fighter in the mission they have, which means beans, bullets, Band-aids, transportation, helicopter support,” Barton said. “That’s been something we’re very proud of. To do something you really love to do that’s challenging, diverse, means something.”
It started when Barton joined the Marines at age 17. He was a “satellite technician for five years, got a meritorious commission, spent the last six years as an intelligence officer, had a sniper platoon for a couple of years, did a few pumps (deployments). Spent my last two years in Horn of Africa traveling around gathering intelligence for war.
“Which helped me out tremendously as I got out later on and went to seminary and transitioned to government contracting. It wasn’t planned.”
So naturally, Barton ended in seminary school in Atlanta and worked as a youth pastor in Conyers, Ga. His career path is anything but boring.
“Writing his bio can be challenging at times,” said Dawn White, sales and marketing manager for Vanquish Worldwide.
White outlined what’s happening now at the company. Vanquish has just been awarded a National Afghan Trucking contract (NAT 1.5) in Afghanistan — one of seven contractors selected for the more than $200 million deal. Vanquish’s cut will be $37 million. The company also just landed a Corps of Engineers HVAC contract in Loudon.
As U.S. involvement in Afghanistan winds down, the company is expanding into commercial trucking. It has contracted with FedEx and has trucks at the delivery firm’s Nashville terminal. It’s on schedule to add 11 FedEx trucks with drivers at the Knoxville terminal by the end of June. The company plans to acquire another trucking company and its 23 trucks in August.
As part of its diversification, Vanquish Worldwide has a couple of subsidiaries, Front Range Training & Consulting LLC. That sister firm recently completed a class training U.S. Air Force airmen to be aides for three- and four-star generals. New law enforcement training classes are filling up now in the Western U.S., and the company is looking into SWAT training for East Tennessee law enforcement, White said.
Peak Technical Institute provides condensed vocational training programs. It currently provides Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) classes, and a BETA equine leadership class is scheduled to begin in early August.
Equine leadership? It doesn’t seem so outside the box considering Barton also has LexLin Gypsy Ranch in Rockwood. Barton said it is the largest Gypsy Vanner horse farm in the U.S. The breed of draft horses (think of small Clydesdales) comes from England, Ireland and Wales.
LexLin Ranch recently sold more than $75,000 worth of horses in one month. The ranch plans to make 30 horse donations over the next two years to therapy centers. The gentle nature of the breed makes Gypsy Vanners well-suited for equine therapy for recovering military as well as autistic and special needs children. A horse auction is planned for July 26, with 50 percent of the proceeds going to Smoky Mountain Service Dogs.
White cited a number of other community involvement and charitable contributions, ranging from United Way of Blount County, to Foothills Land Conservancy, to Keep Blount Beautiful, to the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, where Barton established an endowment of $100,000 and matches other donations that come in dollar for dollar.
On the job in Iraq
It’s a lack of dollars that eventually turned Barton into a businessman. He had planned to rejoin the Marines after seminary school, but while in Atlanta he and his wife, Mechelle, found themselves in a 900-square-foot apartment with five kids and in debt. Two of the children had been adopted from Ethiopia, where Barton met the founder of Americans for African Adoptions.
“So I started going to job fairs, and I found a guy that had a contract in Iraq making decent money — more than I’d ever made before, that’s for sure. So I said, I’ll take it.”
He’d never seen a government contract, but Barton ended up being the first contract manager for the company.
“We were very successful. In fact they went from a $40 million company to $285 million in a year-and-a-half,” Barton said.
Barton quit that job, deciding to start a business of his own. He was familiar with East Tennessee because he, an Illinois native, and his wife, from North Carolina, had often driven through Knoxville. They moved to Friendsville, where he founded his first company in 2006, Relyant, “a global provider of solutions to complex projects.”
Over the years Barton founded, closed, bought and sold several companies. Now, with Vanquish Worldwide at the core and Front Range Training and Peak Technical Institute as wing firms, Baron is adjusting to a business environment less reliant on government contracts.
“All three companies share the same thought process of delivery excellence to the client. It’s important for us, how we do business and how we treat our customers — make sure we’re asked to come back again. It’s a long-term vision not a short-term profit,” Barton said.
It’s almost like playing a pinball machine with three balls bouncing down the table at once.
“It’s the symphony in the chaos, that’s for sure,” Barton said.
Vanquish Worldwide, a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) dedicated to providing Government and commercial contractor services since 2007 has acquired Front Range Training and Consulting, LLC, a SDVOSB specialized in training and program support for Government and commercial clients.
MARYVILLE, Tenn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Vanquish Worldwide is pleased to announce their recent acquisition of Front Range Training and Consulting LLC (FRTC). FRTC is a Colorado-based Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) that was founded by Kevin Cooper, a retired U.S. Marine with considerable experience in the Force Reconnaissance and Diplomatic Security/Marine Security Guard (MSG) community. FRTC has been in business since October 2003, and has quickly and effectively demonstrated that it is a leader in the training industry. An example of FRTC’s dedication to supporting the security of this country is through the development and delivery of Programs of Instruction (POI) for the Department of State’s Anti-Terrorism Assistance (ATA) program.
Ongoing training initiatives include Unexploded Ordnance Technician 1 Certification, Tactical Life Saver Training, Law Enforcement Explosive Entry Technician (EET) Training, Advanced Armorer’s Training, and several Special Weapons and Tactics (S.W.A.T.) and Tactical Team Leader Development courses being delivered to numerous local, state, and federal law enforcement officers throughout the country. FRTC’s S.W.A.T. school has been used to stand up entire teams in New Mexico, South Dakota, and Nebraska, and is considered the preferred sustainment training vehicle for agencies in those and other states.
Additionally FRTC was selected as a sole source to Securitas USA, one of the world’s largest security providers, as the recipient of a long term contract providing high end weapons and tactical training to operators providing security to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) critical assets throughout the nation.
Cindy Cooper has assumed the position of Corporate Manager of Training and Educational Services for Vanquish Worldwide. Cindy has been the Vice President of Operations for FRTC for 10 years and has been instrumental in the growth of the company. She has been the Instructional System Design Team Lead which has produced thousands of hours of FRTC programs and coursework.
“I have been very impressed with Vanquish and quickly understood how Front Range would complement and support their customer strategy and direction. In today’s market, the opportunity to bring our teams together creates a tremendous advantage for both organizations,” Kevin Cooper, Vice President of Operations for Vanquish Worldwide, “I am confident that our customers will benefit from services offered by the expanded Vanquish Team.”
Both companies have a long history of growth and profitability, share similar philosophies, and a strong vision for future growth and diversity.
About Vanquish Worldwide
Vanquish offers significant experience working for the US Government and commercial sector from coast to coast in the US, in combat theaters, developing nations and austere environments. Vanquish is headquartered just outside of Greater Knoxville, TN, with offices in Seattle, Oregon, Alaska, Hawaii, North Carolina, South Carolina; as well as international offices in Afghanistan, Uganda, and Iraq. www.govanquish.com. Training programs and courses offered by FRTC can be found at www.frontrangetraining.com.
December, 7th – National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
Some of our Vanquish staff who work in Oahu in support of the US Army Garrison-Hawaii will be in attendance at this morning’s ceremony at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument. The ceremony location looks directly out to the USS Arizona Memorial.
“I could not be more pleased with the job our employees have done to make the execution of this challenging contract successful. It is a true example of team work and the desire to successfully execute the US Government’s mission,” said Eric W. Barton, president and CEO of Vanquish Worldwide. Read full press release.
Maryville, Tenn. — Vanquish Worldwide has teamed with D&S Delivery, Inc., and FedEx Ground to provide trucks transporting relief supplies for the donation drive supporting several storm-ravaged Oklahoma counties.
Following the recent Moore, Okla., tornado tragedy, Vanquish Worldwide, Inc., among numerous local businesses and churches donated goods and services for at-risk and foster children and families in devastated counties.
Aid materials will be distributed through the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. Sweet Sleep, a non-profit organization leading the relief efforts, organized a donation drive that was held May 24 to May 25. The donations ranged from sheets and pillows to new cribs. The drive will provide the immediate need items for these children and families.
Efforts both locally and nationally continue to grow in order to be a catalyst for a speedy recovery for the impacted region.
Among many contracting services, Vanquish provides logistics/transportation services to governmental entities both domestically and overseas. The company is headquartered just outside of Greater Knoxville, Tenn., with offices in Afghanistan, Uganda, Iraq and the United States. www.govanquish.com
Vanquish Worldwide, a Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), has been awarded a new, multi-million dollar federal contract to provide equipment management and warehouse services to the EPA Region 10 for emergency and counter-terrorism response vehicles and equipment. Read Full News Release from Security Today.
Maryville, Tenn. – Maryville-based Vanquish Worldwide, a Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) providing global support services to the U.S. Government and the commercial market sector, announced today its award of a new, multi-million dollar federal contract to provide equipment management and warehouse services to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 10 for emergency and counter-terrorism response vehicles and equipment. Vanquish provides Warehouse Managers and Equipment Technicians across three EPA warehouse facilities located in Seattle, WA, Portland, OR, and Anchorage, AK. The EPA Region 10 boundary includes the states of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
Vanquish will provide a host of on-site services as part of the contract, including warehouse facilities operation and management, 24/7 emergency response equipment management, inventory control and asset tracking system management, and equipment maintenance. In addition, the contract involves a reporting component for supplying property reports, equipment readiness status, and equipment utilization reports for all stored vehicles and equipment.
“Our team looks forward to expanding Vanquish’s footprint of support for U.S. Government operations to the Pacific Northwest,” said Vanquish President and CEO Eric W. Barton. ”As a former US Marine Intelligence Officer I understand the critical nature and importance of emergency response programs. Vanquish is excited to be part of the EPA’s rapid response mission.” Barton and his team have successfully managed and overseen complex, multifaceted programs specializing in intelligence, security services, staffing, training, life support, and operational requirements in Hawaii, the Middle East and Africa.
The EPA’s rapid response contracting network was established to provide emergency capabilities to deal primarily with threats caused by oil and hazardous substance incidents. The network has evolved over the past few years to address the threat from terrorist attacks or incidents involving weapons of mass destruction. Vanquish supports the EPA’s 24/7 response capabilities by maintaining equipment and supplies in a continuous state of readiness so personnel can immediately respond to emergency or terrorism events and mitigate threats posed by the presence of hazardous materials that present imminent or substantial endangerment to human health or to the environment.
About Vanquish Worldwide
In addition to its U.S. contract work, Vanquish offers significant experience working in combat theaters and developing nations as well as austere environments. Services include construction, life support, manpower, security, logistics/transportation, vehicle maintenance and facility operations and maintenance. Vanquish is headquartered just outside of Greater Knoxville, Tenn., with offices in Afghanistan, Uganda, Iraq and the United States.
Maryville, Tenn. – Maryville-based Vanquish Worldwide, a Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) providing global support services to the U.S. government and the commercial market sector, announced today its award of a new, multi-million dollar federal contract to provide operations and maintenance support at the Basra International Airport to support aviation operations of the DoS Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) in Iraq.
The Bureau of Diplomatic Security is the security and law enforcement arm of the U.S. Department of State, responsible for providing a safe and secure environment for the conduct of U.S. foreign policy.
Vanquish will provide a host of on-site services as part of the contract, including training of contractor and host nation personnel, movement of personnel and equipment, contractor logistics support, HVAC, plumbing, construction, security, electrical system maintenance, waste management and other services.
In addition to the services provided, the contract involves a significant procurement component in supplying all of the necessary equipment and parts for the project.
“Our team looks forward to expanding Vanquish’s footprint of overseas support for U.S. government operations in Iraq,” said Vanquish President and CEO Eric W. Barton.
Barton and his team have successfully managed and overseen complex, multifaceted programs specializing in intelligence, security services, staffing, training, life support, and operational requirements in the Middle East and Africa.
Vanquish offers significant experience working in combat theaters and developing nations as well as austere environments. Services include construction, life support, manpower, security, logistics/transportation, and operations and maintenance.
Vanquish is headquartered just outside of Greater Knoxville, Tenn., with offices in Afghanistan, Uganda, Iraq and the United States. www.govanquish.com