Entrepreneur Of The Year 2009
Road to Palm Springs
KeyLogic Systems, Inc.
Jon Hammock grew up in a trailer park in West Virginia and paid for his college education by obtaining student loans and working three jobs, including a midnight shift as a security guard at a coal mine.
Armed with his degree in computer science, Hammock worked for DuPont and then Westinghouse while earning his MBA at the University of South Carolina. He then joined a small company that targeted IT government-outsourced projects, helping to grow the business dramatically as second in command. But when he approached the owner for an equity stake, he was rejected.
Six months later, in 1999, Hammock returned to his home state and launched KeyLogic Systems, Inc., an IT management consulting company that services both federal and commercial clients. The company works directly with decision-makers in government agencies, using those relationships to gain other opportunities. It has never had a one-time client.
As KeyLogic began bidding on contracts in and around Washington, D.C., Hammock realized there was a stigma associated with being based in West Virginia, and set up a second office in the D.C. area. To reach clients in both locations, he purchased a corporate plane that he flies himself. With 85 employees, the company racked up more than $12 million in sales in 2008, its best year to date. To celebrate that milestone, Hammock took his employees on a four-day cruise.