Agile Group – A Project Management Business Success Story

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SBA Recognizes Agile Group as a Project Management and Training 8(a) Woman Owed Small Business "Success Story"

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The Small Business Administration (SBA) recently recognized Agile Group as an 8(a) "success story."

Maria Canales-Hanners, together with Britain Harvey and Joe Richers, started Agile Group in December of 2008. Previously, they had worked for another company and through their years of experience, realized they had the skills and fortitude to start their own firm. The three had the same vision for innovative solutions: creativity, hard work, and sustainability. They wanted the flexibility, autonomy and freedom to provide quality products and services, under budget and on time. Their expertise included project management, training, operations, and IT infrastructure. Previous relationship-based clients followed the owners and helped Agile to grow and establish itself in the community. Coupled with their abilities and support of their customers, they built a project management firm and capitalized it with their own contributions.

Agile Group, LLC, a minority 8(a) certified, and woman-owned small business (WOSB), provides strategic management and government and commercial project-related services to the construction, architecture and engineering, oil and gas, healthcare, security and transportation industries. The company is based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with an office in Washington, D.C.

When Agile Group entered the market, the firm found itself in the middle of the economic downturn. Many banks were hesitant to lend money, especially to new businesses. Clients were wary of starting new projects. The team built solid relationships with local banks to ensure the necessary lines of credit were available to sustain itself during peak periods where large resource expenditures were incurred and client payment was slow. Through the tough circumstances, Agile was able to maintain its resources and actually grew three-fold within the first two years. This was attributed to strong relationships with its government clients and, of course, to its own quality of service. Through experience and maturity, Agile kept overhead costs low and rates competitive while maintaining a reasonable profit margin. Competition in the project management industry is stiff. Agile’s main competitors are large firms. The challenge is to operate more cost effectively and efficiently.

In January 2010, Agile was accepted into the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program as a minority, woman-owned business. Having the advantage of being able to contract with the federal government has been Agile’s single most important tool according to Ms. Canales-Hanners.

Agile’s management believes that retaining exceptionally talented, well-educated employees and implementing professional and edgy marketing and graphic strategies are factors in attracting new customers.

Agile Group currently employs 15 individuals and provides employee health-care benefits and child care. Agile is most proud of their commitment to employees. Agile pledges a significant amount of discretionary money to further employee’s formal education and professional development. Agile provides a full package of healthcare and other benefits to its employees.

Agile strives to be a good Community Partner. Its employees contribute to the local charities such as the Roadrunner Food Bank, Samaritan’s Purse, Kiva microlending, and also donate to schools and other educational programs. All programs have established goals each performance period. Agile encourages employees to nominate new organizations that will be assessed by their value before agreeing to support them.

Employee programs such as training, advanced education, job-related certifications, and charitable giving, provide the foundation Agile uses to provide exceptional project management and controls, and training to its customers worldwide.

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Britain Harvey
Agile Group USA

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