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Steve Barish used to tell people the company he works for was the biggest cyber company they have never heard of. He suspects that might change in 2019.
Barish is the chief operating officer at cybersecurity firm CNF Technologies, which launched its new cyber lab Wednesday amid growth at the company that will see its revenue rise from $10 million in 2018 to a projected $30 million in 2019 and a hiring boom that will nearly double staff count from 80 employees in 2018 to 140 this year.
CNF’s cyber lab is located at Port San Antonio’s Project Tech facility, which opened in 2018, and will support more than 80 workers when fully built out. The 12,000-square-foot space will support CNF’s global military operations with training facilities, conference rooms, and areas for classified communications. CNF owns a 4,000-square-foot space in West San Antonio and will continue to operate out of that facility in addition to its cyber lab.
The company has an indefinite contract with the U.S. Department of Defense, which means it can fulfill multiple customer requests during the duration of the commitment. The $950 million contract, which was from the Air Force Research Laboratory, is split among five smaller firms and could run as many as five years. Its customers include military bodies such as the San Antonio-based 24th Air Forces Cyber, 25th Air Force, and Washington D.C.-based U.S. Cyber Command.
Jim Perschbach, Port San Antonio President and CEO, said CNF Technologies will be a cornerstone of the 1,900-acre campus of aerospace companies, manufacturers, and national security firms. Owned by Fred and Roxanne Ramirez, CNF was a mom-and-pop firm that is now a global leader, Perschbach said.
“Not too long ago, they were subcontractors to some of the biggest names in the world,” Perschbach said. “Right now, some of the biggest names in the world are subcontractors to CNF. The work that is being done in this facility … proves something.”
It proves that small businesses have a path to growth by staying in San Antonio, said Councilman Clayton Perry (D10) during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new facility on Wednesday.
“This particular company is really indicative of how we want to grow the city from within and get those opportunities for our own folks here in San Antonio,” Perry said.
Fred Ramirez, who c0-founded the company with his wife in 2005, said growth at the company was stagnating at about 50 staff members until CNF was awarded the $950 million contract last year.
“That allowed us to really explode,” he said.
Fred Ramirez said San Antonio firms struggle to get such contracts, which are often awarded to more well-connected companies in the Washington D.C. area; Huntsville, Alabama; and Colorado Springs, Colorado. But he said his firm’s growing reputation for delivering on its contracts and the strong proposal it pitched to the DoD helped earn it the lucrative award.
Co-founder and CEO Roxanne Ramirez said the cybersecurity business, especially for defense contractors, can wax and wane.
“CNF has had its ups and downs, and now we are here,” she said. “And we’re going to make Port San Antonio our home.”