Through the CEO’s Eyes: MetroStar's 2021 Year in Review


MetroStar 2021 Reflection, Year in Review, and CEO

As we enter 2022, it is important to reflect on the last year and continue to look towards the future, especially at a time when the pandemic continues to be at the forefront of many minds and is serving as a catalyst for great change. 

Change and hardship are inevitable to witness growth. MetroStar's transformative year is a testament to our people’s ability to navigate remote and hybrid environments and cultural shifts, but also to how we've stayed true to our core values—collaboration, curiosity, and kindness, to name a few. 

We’ve taken this year to focus on adding new people to our team, growing our second headquarters, pursuing new work, investing in our remote culture, and navigating the path to our bright future.  

Our People 

Investing in our people to accelerate our growth did not waiver in 2021. We continued to champion a culture of flexibility and empowerment for what is now a majority remote workforce. Our people investments in 2021 soared and now encompass upskilling talent across our workforce, hiring and promoting new leaders, and creating innovative opportunities for recent college graduates or late-stage career explorers. 

We have had to rethink, reshape, and recreate our vision for talent and culture to thrive in this competitive industry and navigate the impacts of the pandemic. Building a strong culture has always been our priority because the right people sticking around and envisioning the future together are how special companies prosper.

Early and often, bringing in the next generation of free thinkers is key to building long-term success. In 2021, the People and Culture team continued to seek tech wizards and people who are passionate about MetroStar's roots, present, and future. The momentum we achieved this year puts us on track to grow to 450–500 team members in 2022.  

Our Expansion 

From the top-down, MetroStar focuses on flexibility, empathy, and empowerment. We are not an organization that restricts employees based on title or tenure. We've taken great pride in implementing our core virtues and values across the company. Whether you’re an intern, individual contributor, manager, director, or executive, you understand the value and impact you bring to MetroStar and to our service members and citizens through our customers. In 2022, we have built out our Midwest Expansion Strategy to strengthen our team even more.   

CEO Ali Reza Manouchehri sits in the Mill at MetroStar's Bloomington Office

MetroStar continues to see growth in the Midwest. Our seeds planted in Bloomington, Indiana, have sprouted immensely in the last year. We've seen three key elements emerge at our second headquarters (Bloomington) this year: insightful customers, new faces joining our team, and a collective pursuit for innovation across Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), DevSecOps, and DesignOps. 

The community in Indiana continues to captivate and inspire our broader organization. Their strong economic development team, government officials, and passionate people are determined to see the state and its people flourish. This growth is exciting for MetroStar and creates the momentum we will use in our 2022 hiring strategies.  

Bloomington was not the only space that saw new faces, though. Our Reston headquarters and C-suite welcomed new, adept people to our tenured executive team. With access to the best and brightest in the field, 2022 will be a year of immense maturation for MetroStar.  

Our Work 

Our 2021 contract wins, awards, and project accomplishments are a tangible glimpse at the team’s dedication. We saw growth across all business units – Defense and Intel, Civilian and Homeland, Health IT and Transformation, and National Security. These wins brought over 80 new people to MetroStar in the last quarter of 2021. Our strategic investments and focus on pursuing contracts and capabilities were shown this year through various wins, including our first pure ML/AI-based win supporting the United States Air Force. 

2021 reflection of MetroStar with different awards and wins and contracts listed

Our Culture 

This year, we continued to encourage our people to take advantage of our Individual Career Development Program (ICDP), which helps them earn certificates, take inspiring courses, and broaden their skills. Training does more than aid MetroStar’s growth; it's about making sure our people have the tools and resources they need to take their careers to the next level. We want our people to be inventors, go-getters, and trendsetters, which is only possible if you give them opportunities to explore new skills and ideas.  

Beyond training, our people have been connected from the top down since we signed into Zoom almost two years ago. Our communication-heavy mindset ensures that no one is left out of the loop. Communication comes in many forms at MetroStar. We host a Weekly Huddle that highlights our employees' projects, shares anniversaries and kudos, and ensures everyone knows what we’re up to. We also send a monthly newsletter highlighting our people and company news. At the end of the quarter, as the CEO and Co-Founder, it has also been essential for me to host a CEO Fireside chat to highlight the quarter and champion our people's success. Not leaving our people in the dark is one of the many reasons we've had continued success and tenure employees. 

ceo-fireside hosted virtually by zoom with CEO Ali Reza Manouchehri. Debbie Patterson, and Mo Hessabi

In 2021, we also took time to reflect on the important people in our lives including those we've met within our communities. Our Collaborative Action of Responsible Employees for Society (CARES) program represents our commitment to giving back and maintaining the connection to the communities that have given us so much. This program is a huge part of our culture, and we encourage our people to take part in it. Just this year, we added new fundraisers to our lineup from Rainbow Families, a local nonprofit in DC, and Women Who Code, an international nonprofit empowering women in technology.  

In addition to fundraisers, we hosted virtual events like Girl: Code, a virtual event for 7th to 12th graders to inspire girls to create change for the environment through tech. Furthermore, we hosted our first International Women's Day panel featuring leading and inspiring women across government and industry.  

Finding routes to be influential for our community and the people within them was a path MetroStar pursued in 2021despite the hurdles of being virtual. Learning to tackle the ever-changing landscape of our communities, industry, technology, and people has given me a positive foresight for what’s to come at MetroStar.  

Our Future 

Our future is bright; from investing in our people to investing in the research that fulfills the need for modern technology solutions in the industry, we are incredibly grateful to have witnessed immense growth in 2021. 

As we continue building our team, we are expanding our roles and careers to highlight the new work we are seeking in 2022 and beyond. Continued investment in building the future of tech and business leaders means continuing our competitive, interactive virtual internship program, offering our current people opportunities for new career paths within the company, and investing in our Client Solutions Group's (CSG) research and development (R&D). 

The CSG spends an average of $3 million on research and development. R&D effectively works when we listen to our customers and seek the answers they specifically need. We think about their journey, experience, and future mission needs. Through pursuing this clarity, our CSG navigates a competitive landscape by finding the next great solutions for today, tomorrow, and for decades from now. 

Our research and our people, who are powering change, will propel us into another 22 years. Looking back over the last year, I see nothing but our people's desire to continue to explore and solve the next great technology challenges, meet our customers' needs, and pursue cutting-edge work across ML/AI. It has been a privilege watching MetroStar grow since our start in 1999, and I look forward to what 2022 has to offer.  

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