The Journal: Finding Corporate Success
MARTINSBURG — By anyone’s standards, Harry Siegel is a successful businessman.
But it’s a combination of his head — and his good heart — that is the real secret to his success.
His company, HMS Technologies Inc., which bear his initials and was founded in 2003, will do about $50 million in business this year. He still likes to muse about those early days, when his office was in the basement of his Falling Waters home.
“Old world commitment coupled with new age technology is our tagline. When I invented the company, I wanted to design one that people would feel comfortable doing business on a handshake — even though I also realize all of the other things it takes to be in business,” Siegel said.
“Call me old fashioned, but duty, honor and country still mean a lot to me, so I wanted to couple that with our high-tech offerings,” he said.
A veteran’s perspective
It’s also important to Siegel, who served in the Navy and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, that HMS is a certified Service Disabled Veteran-Owned (SDVO) small business.
“That’s what I am, a service-connected disabled veteran,” Siegel said proudly.
One of his “most unbelievable” honors, Siegel said, was being named the federal Department of Defense’s Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year in 2007.
“We are now the 24th largest veteran-owned company in the United States,” he said with a smile. His corporate vice president, Bill Kirkpatrick, is also a service-disabled veteran, and veterans make up 45 percent of the HMS staff, Siegel said.
Employees are not just workers, but are instead viewed as “valued team members, we’re a family here,” he said.
That kind of respect is contagious, according to Kilpatrick, who was in the Air Force for 21 years but now has a new calling at HMS Technologies.
“When I came here, I just knew this was it — I’m here. This isn’t just a job to me, it’s a passion and a lot of that has to do with Harry’s leadership,” Kilpatrick said.
HMS is an “advanced systems integrator” whose clients include a long list of federal agencies such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, Defense Department and Department of Agriculture, Siegel said.
“We look for best of breed in hardware and software which we integrate them and craft them together in a way that we solve federal agencies’ problems,” he said.
“We sell hardware and software of choice to penetrate an agency or organization. Then once we get there, we do an incredible job and then we radiate with service,” Siegel said. “Building a relationship is key to our success.”
To accommodate this growth, a historic local barn has been renovated for the corporation’s headquarters. His firm now employs about 35 locally, but that figure swells to approximately 150 when consultants and part-time professionals are added to the mix, Siegel said.
Photos of well-known politicians, both state and national, dot the walls of Siegel’s well-appointed office (one wall features native limestone) and awards are prominently displayed.
Perhaps not too surprisingly, Siegel continues to receive additional recognition — including having recently been named the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2008 West Virginia Small Business Person of the Year.
Part of that celebration included a visit to the White House and an opportunity to meet President Bush. Next month, he will be honored in Charleston during the Small Business Week Awards Celebration.
But as much as things have changed, Siegel maintains that the really important things in his life remain the same — love of family, community, America and God.
He readily acknowledges that this devotion, to his family employees and nation, are the reasons for his success — both personal and professional.
And it’s a recipe that Siegel is passing on to his 7-year-old son, Sloane, with whom he often discusses the qualities of a leader.
An Anderson, S.C., native, Siegel loves living in the Eastern Panhandle and proactively works to see that his good fortune is shared locally.
“I’m a South Carolinian by birth but I’m a West Virginian by choice,” said Siegel without hesitation.
His community involvement has included working with various veterans’ groups as well as a number of nonprofit organizations including the Shriner’s Club, Girl Scouts of America, Apollo Theatre and Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
Siegel has also sponsored NBC holiday videograms that allowed military personnel serving overseas to send a special message to loved ones at home.
Additional information on Siegel and HMS Technologies can be found at the company’s Web site: www.hmstech.com.
— Staff writer Jenni Vincent can be reached at (304) 263-3381, ext. 138, or jvincent(at)journal-news.net
Keywords: Small Business Award , fastest growing