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ManTech Makes $75 Million C4ISR Acquisition

A small government contractor that began operations in a California garage will soon vault to the front ranks of defense information technology concerns with a $75 million acquisition by ManTech International.

Although small by market size, little-known MTCSC has become a powerhouse in the increasingly important field of C4ISR.

Privately held MTCSC also provides systems integration and network engineering. Moreover, the company has a strong offering in cyber security, an area targeted for greater funding by the Obama administration but one where seasoned experts say the U.S. must make continued improvements against determined hackers, particularly from China.

ManTech officials said they expect MTCSC to register roughly $83 million in sales this year. By comparison, ManTech is an international behemoth with nearly 10,000 employees working in 49 American states and 40 foreign countries and with annual sales of $2.5 billion.

In particular, MTCSC is known for its work in support of the Marine Corps, much of which remains secret. Contracts include those for the Marine Corps’ Intelligence Agency and Marine Corps Systems Command.

George Pedersen, ManTech’s chief executive officer, noted the Marine Corps and the entire C4ISR field will continue to get priority funding in an era of otherwise tight defense budgets. He said MTCSC is joining ManTech’s Systems Engineering and Advanced Technology Group and will add to the company’s earnings beginning in 2011.

“This acquisition fits well with ManTech’s long-term strategy of focusing on high-end defense and intelligence technology support,” Pedersen said.

Among its many defense and security relationships, ManTech supports the Army, DARPA and Homeland Security. Civilian clients include the departments of State and Justice as well as NOAA.

The company offers a full suite of IT services that span everything from logistics support to supply chain management to intelligence operations.

Based in Fairfax, Va., ManTech ranks 31st on the list of top 100 federal IT contractors compiled by the trade journal Washington Technology.

According to its website, MTCSC also has unspecified contracts with the National Air & Space Intelligence Center, the Defense Information Systems Agency and the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization.

For their part, MTCSC officials have experience working for much larger defense contractors. The company serves as a subcontractor to CACI Technologies, Northrop Grumman and BAE. Two of those relationships center on the Army’s Communications and Electronic Command.

Founded in 1997, MTCSC has the type of background often associated with technology inventors from California. The founders began operations in the garage of their Chula Vista home.

And when David and Marguerite Camarata moved to another home four years later, they once again set up shop in the family garage.

“MTCSC is proud to have two garages in our history,” David Camarata says.

Working out of the garage, he adds, allowed the couple to save on administrative overhead. They plowed that money into technology that would improve the company’s offerings to the Marine Corps.

The couple also would seem to have a knack for finding under-valued real estate. In opening a facility several years ago in Stafford, Va., the company’s website says, the Camaratas settled on an aging beer distribution warehouse in a state of disrepair.

Today, the facility boasts state-of-the art technology systems spanning some 46,000 square feet. At the outset, however, the building would seem to have required an entrepreneur’s vision.

“When I first walked through the building,” one employee recalls, “my sandals turned black. There were weeds growing through the concrete floor. And it had a serious snake problem.”

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Michael A. Robinson has written articles for some of the nation's more prestigious publications. As...