Published: Saturday, October 27, 2012 at 02:32 PM.
So when he helped start Rally Point Management in 2006 with Mike Ward, he expected to make a living for his family and maybe provide a few jobs in the community to fill that void. The men ended up creating one of the fastest growing companies in Florida and the country.
“Within the first two years, it was obvious that there were much bigger opportunities out there, and we kind of grew by demand,” Crutchfield said. “Customers were asking for the service and the more we did, the more the demand grew.
“That just sort of snowballed into what has been year over year growth that none of us ever expected,” he added.
Today, Rally Point offers training and consulting services in several specialized fields for the military, such as logistics and technology development. One of the company’s biggest focuses now is providing advanced and realistic training for the operators of unmanned air vehicles.
Rally Point stages realistic training missions in which its employees dress as hostiles — complete with weapons — and teach clients how to confirm they are locked on to a target and to interact with soldiers on the ground.
To add to the realism, Rally Point uses pyrotechnics so when a drone’s operators fire a simulated missile, they will see a corresponding explosion on their monitor.
Earlier this year, Rally Point Management was named the 375th fastest growing company in America by Inc. Magazine. Inc. also listed it as the 28th fastest growing business in the government services industry.
Crutchfield is Rally Point’s chief executive officer and Ward is its president.
In 2006 there were three employees. That number has grown each year, and there now are more than 100 employees, with plans to be at roughly 130 by the end of the year in 14 locations, including Afghanistan.
Roughly 97 percent of Rally Point’s workforce is made up of veterans.
“(The military) spent a lot of money getting people trained, and guys go down range and get a lot of experience,” said Charlie Keebaugh, vice president of Rally Point. “This is a way of allowing those guys and the knowledge they get and keep it in-house. It allows them to push all of that experience on to the next generation of guys.”
Keebaugh said Rally Point’s growth has been very controlled. He said customers in the past have asked for 10 employees for a certain project. Instead, they have hired three people initially and reevaluated the job months later to determine how many positions it really requires.
“We don’t want them to overextend, tell us to hire 10 guys and then find out three months later that nine was enough,” Keebaugh said. “And then they’ve got a guy there standing around with moss growing on them. Our mindset being that we always want to give them the most value for the taxpayer’s dollar.”
“I think they appreciate the honest approach versus most companies would go in there and try to make as much money as they could as quickly as possible,” Crutchfield added.