Entrepreneur Helps Other Businesses Succeed
|Jeannette King, founder & CEO of Strategic Resolution Experts, is shown with colleague Curt Anderson, director of business development. King was named the West Virginia Small Business Person of the Year.|
MARTINSBURG — With a tax refund and experience gained in the U.S. Navy, Jeannette King launched Strategic Resolution Experts Inc. eight years ago. Now the management consultant firm is thriving, and King was recently named West Virginia’s Small Business Person of the Year.
King grew up in Bluefield and Baltimore, Maryland. Her parents couldn’t afford to send her to college, so she enlisted. During her six years in the Navy, she worked in information technology and human resources and developed a knack for solving organizational problems. She also worked her way through college and, after leaving America’s Navy, worked as a contractor for the U.S. Coast Guard and then as a consultant.
In 2007, King launched SRE in Martinsburg. The company now employs 22 people, half of whom live and work in West Virginia.
“West Virginia is my home, and the reason I started my business was to provide meaningful employment to people in the state,” she said.
As a management consulting firm, SRE helps other businesses and agencies improve what they do in a number of areas, including project management, workforce planning, training and information technology.
“We really help solve organizational problems,” she said. “We help create efficiencies in business processes that save money for our customers. We also make sure that their IT systems and processes support their mission. IT needs to work for the organization, not run the organization.”
While King is adept at helping other companies improve their own business practices, running a business hasn’t always been easy for her.
“I have an MBA, but I’ve learned everything about running a business along the way,” she said. Over the years, King tapped resources available through the U.S. Small Business Administration and the West Virginia Small Business Development Center. SRE is certified as a woman-owned, economically disadvantaged small business by the SBA.
King also worked with the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing (RCBI) to become certified in ISO 9001. The international designation enhances the company’s position because it illustrates the company’s commitment to quality service delivery and continual improvement, she said.
Right now, SRE is doing a great deal of strategic workforce planning that involves recruitment, training, professional development and other employee issues. Many of her federal clients face a wave of employee retirements, representing a great loss of institutional knowledge.
“People really are the most important asset in any organization,” she said. “How you manage them and develop them is really going to make or break you as an organization. That is one of the things we do really well, and it’s our fastest-growing area for sure.”
SRE works with from 7 to 15 clients at a time. Some are private businesses, while others include government agencies. King expects the next one to three years to be good for SRE, in part because its ISO-certification means that the company now qualifies to bid on major federal contracts.
“We are late bloomers, but I’ve focused on what we do really well,” she said. “We have the business processes and the structure in place to allow our company to grow.”