February 11, 2014 (Washington, D.C.) – Day after day, the professionals at Summit analyze vast amounts of data for a variety of government and commercial clients, frequently to uncover financial and operational risks.

In that sense, the numbers they often work with are, to say the least, a bit dismal and unflattering. Yet inside Washington, D.C.-based Summit, which recently passed the 10-year mark, the stats these days – no matter how you slice them – are nothing but positive.

Despite ongoing government budget cuts that have forced many contractors to slash their payrolls and reduce their real estate presences, privately held Summit, which generates about 80 percent of its business from the public sector, is doing just the opposite.

The highly specialized consultancy, in guiding federal agencies, financial institutions and litigators as they decode their most complex analytical challenges, is on an impressive growth spurt, in terms of its revenue, staff and office space.

Over the last three years, for example, Summit’s revenue has soared 266 percent, while its work force has expanded by 106 percent. For 2013, Summit recorded revenue of $15 million.

Last year, the 64-person firm – led by Founding Principal and Senior Economist Albert Lee, as well as Principal Anthony Curcio – brought on board 27 new hires, ranging from college graduates to industry vets armed with Ph.D.s.

Summit Human Capital Manager Jennifer Folsom, who herself joined the company in April of 2013 and focuses on recruiting, among other responsibilities, says that that firm plans to add 45 professionals this year.

Due to its growth of late, Summit moved its Chinatown headquarters in 2012 from 626 E St. NW to 718 7th St. NW, a relocation that resulted in a space increase of 40-plus percent.

The shift to a larger site, however, still didn’t provide Summit with enough room to keep up with its rising payroll. The firm, a few months ago, occupied another portion of the third floor at 718 7th St. NW, boosting its real estate presence by another 38 percent.

Looking forward, the company forecasts revenue and staff growth of 30 percent to 40 percent annually for the next several years, with Summit likely eclipsing 100 people and $25 million in total sales during that stretch.

“We’ve come a long way over the last decade, when I started Summit with one other employee, and we worked out of my home,” Lee says. “I’m extremely excited and optimistic about what the future holds for our firm.”

Given the still sluggish economy, and the political gridlock in Washington that has forced the federal government to rein in its spending, Summit’s cutting-edge analytic techniques and related services are all the more relevant.

That’s because Summit professionals are saving significant sums of money and improving program effectiveness for a range of clients.

Those clients include the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Labor, Transportation, Treasury and Veterans Affairs, as well as the International Trade Commission, the National Credit Union Administration, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the Small Business Administration.

As Summit’s client base continues to expand, company executives recently decided to further specialize the firm’s service lines from two to six – applied statistics, federal credit forecasting and modeling, financial services, litigation consulting, mortgage finance and program evaluation.

The goal, Summit leaders say, is to be trusted advisors that provide all of these services to every one of the company’s clients. One of the firm’s key goals is to deepen specialization in those areas and be a top D.C. practitioner in each field.

“We find that many of our competitors – specialized firms like us, and the behemoths in our field – tend to replicate the same model, methodology and overall solution across federal agencies,” Curcio says. “On the other hand, we create customized models and leverage methodologies from academia and industry to help our clients solve their problems.”

Another critical differentiator: Summit’s litigation services, which make up about 20 percent of the company’s sales. The firm supplies litigators with expert counsel and testimony, as well as specialized analytics.

Summit’s principals and affiliated academic advisors have provided testimony and reports that are presented in administrative forums, civil courts and international tribunals.

The bottom line, says Curcio, is that “there’s more innovation here, and that’s why we’re attracting the best and brightest talent in our industry.”

The culture within Summit is a fundamental selling point. It’s all about collaboration when one steps inside the firm’s doors. The environment is airy, hip and open; Lee and Curcio even share an office.

“Not your typical K Street space” is how Folsom, the Human Capital Manager, describes it. “We’re adamant about fostering learning and sharing,” she says.

After scouting sites for the firm’s new D.C. headquarters, Summit executives felt that 718 7th St. NW represented a perfect fit: it has a creative feel and easy access to Metro, and it’s also in proximity to the company’s clients.

There are plenty of amenities in the vicinity, including restaurants and retailers. “Penn Quarter is a thriving neighborhood in the city, and our professionals enjoy coming to an office in this part of town,” Lee says.

The Summit team puts in long hours, but it also has fun: for instance, it plays in a summer kickball league on the National Mall; has a monthly company-wide happy hour; and volunteers in, as well as sponsors, a D.C. middle school’s math class as part of an ongoing corporate philanthropic relationship.

Meanwhile, Folsom, since coming on board, “has become a driving force behind the firm’s new robust professional-development offerings,” Curcio says.

Summit has launched a monthly staff-led training curriculum on topics from impact evaluation methodologies to statistical sampling case studies, as well as soft skills training by best-in-field external consultants on topics like “How to Have Difficult Conversations.”

“Summiteers have an innate intellectual curiosity and strong desire to extend their learning opportunities,” Folsom says. “We’re giving the crowd what they’re asking for.”

Additionally, Folsom has helped pioneer new benefits for the company’s professionals, including 401(k) accounts, flexible-spending accounts, and Capital Bikeshare memberships.

 And lest we forget a kitchen stocked with snacks, delivered weekly by Peapod.

Says Folsom, “We have energetic staff members who work hard and play hard, so we have to keep them well-fed. You should see the flats of Chobani and Diet Coke that we churn through each week.”

Adds Curcio: “We’re doing all of these things to ramp up our infrastructure, which provides our engagement leaders with the staff and resources they need to protect quality and innovations as we grow. Our success stems from our staff, and recruiting in our sector is quite competitive. We’re faring well because people realize that they have the opportunity to develop their careers in an environment that promotes advancement, collaboration and work/life balance.”

About Summit:

Founded in 2003, Summit is a Washington, D.C.-based specialized analytics-advisory firm that guides Federal agencies, financial institutions, and litigators as they decode their most complex analytical challenges. Summit’s staff of Economists, Econometricians, and Research Scientists use quantitative techniques to assist our clients as they score and model risk, evaluate program performance, forecast cash flows, and estimate economic damage. At Summit, we solve complex analytical challenges with unparalleled customer service and extensive client collaboration. The solutions are complete only when they are understood by our clients and solve their problems. Summit’s Principals, Academics, and Research Scientists are recognized experts in their fields, and they are capable of leading large and small solution teams. Summit: complexity simplified. For more information, please visit www.summitllc.us.


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