An Essex-based software company is planning a hiring spree after earning a U.S. Army contract earlier this month worth millions of dollars.
Vermont Systems Inc. secured a contract to upgrade its current software system that manages recreational activities on U.S. military bases.
The software, known as RecTrac, registers families for recreational programs, tracks concession sales at venues, signs up for fitness center memberships and reserves tee times for the dozens of base golf courses, among other services.
Though the military has used RecTrac since the early ’90s, VSI’s database has until now been managed by each garrison.
“What they found is what they were lacking is standardization,” said Giles Willey, VSI’s president and CEO. “They’re finally figuring out they can’t do it themselves.”
Under the new contract, VSI will expand its operation to provide full data management and analysis to help the Army’s headquarters better understand the performance of its recreational services. VSI will also be ramping its software support to a 24/7 model.
Eventually, VSI will end up with a single enterprise database that serves every U.S. military base around the world. To get there, the company plans to hire up to 25 new employees across nearly all the company’s areas to supplement the 95 that currently work out of its Essex offices. It’s already prepped for the expansion, purchasing the land and building next door, and Willey hoped to begin a 5,000-square-foot addition sometime next month.
He estimates the contract is worth between $3 to $4 million in revenue the first year and up to $9 million once the changes are fully implemented a few years later. He said that will add about 25 percent to the company’s yearly baseline.
Some changes to military contacts will benefit VSI, too, Willey said. This year, the U.S. Department of Defense moved from a five- to a 10-year model and adopted an hourly pay scale instead of requiring contractors to stay on its proposed price. That means in addition to the annual maintained payments, VSI will be compensated for all “ancillary” services, Willey said, like trainings and webinars.
“The more they want out of us, the more they’re going to pay,” he said, though he noted the government will save some money with the contract, too, thanks to a centralized system.
VSI began in 1985 after Giles, then a 22-year-old recent college grad, and his father, Bob, left a banking software company to start their own business. A month later, Willey’s sisters joined the family business.
Three decades later, VSI serves 1,100 municipal customers, including Essex and Essex Jct. It was recognized with the 2018 Governor’s Excellence in Worksite Wellness Award.
In those early days, Willey said his biggest concern was ensuring there was enough payroll for his family. Soon, he will be worrying about more than 100 people: “The bigger it is, the bigger the problem,” he joked.
“But I guess the bigger the joy, [too],” he said. “I get juiced coming to work every day.”