Case Studies 1901 Group
1901 Group Models Tech Success in Urban and Rural Regions of Virginia
Leading IT Company Seeks the Best of Both Worlds
1901 Group, a Leidos company, is a market leader in innovative public sector IT services, delivering cloud, cybersecurity, and enterprise managed services to transition customers from traditional IT infrastructure to hybrid cloud solutions. In 2009, company founder and CEO Sonu Singh, who was raised in Blacksburg, Virginia, made a strategic decision to build 1901 Group around an innovative new business model that included locating the majority of its employees in rural Montgomery County to focus on engineering and operations, while locating sales and front-office employees in urban Fairfax County for proximity to its customer base in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area.
Despite concerns that federal agencies would be wary of outsourcing IT functions to smaller communities, 1901 Group instead experienced a substantial increase in the use of its services over the last decade, growing at a compound annual rate of 30% over the past six years. The success of this model positioned the company for considerable future growth, with the federal government spending $100 billion a year on IT services. 1901 Group kept its focus on Virginia: the company expanded its Fairfax County office in 2018, opened a facility in Abingdon in March 2020, and moved into its new 45,000-square-foot Enterprise IT Operations Center in Blacksburg in June 2020.
The Virginia Solution
Urban and Rural Business Benefits
Seventy percent of the globe’s internet traffic passes through Northern Virginia, which is home to the largest data center market in the world and widely recognized as the nation’s Cyber Capital. 1901 Group’s corporate office in Fairfax County is at the center of activity in the Commonwealth’s booming IT sector, and proximity to the U.S. Capitol provides the company with all the advantages of accessibility to federal customers and strong industry clusters in government contracting, defense electronics, IT, data centers, and biotechnology.
Montgomery County, located in the New River Valley in the Blue Ridge and Alleghany Mountains, boasts world-class higher education institutions and a substantial talent pool, combined with moderate costs of living and doing business. 1901 Group’s first 800-square-foot office space grew rapidly after 2009 as the company began establishing more of its technology operations in Blacksburg. A nine-minute average commute, breathtaking scenery, and an abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities offered 1901 Group’s software developers, data analysts, and cloud engineers the benefits of 21st-century high-tech jobs and a highly desired quality of life.
Statewide Access to Talent
Already at the forefront of emerging sectors like cloud computing and cybersecurity, Virginia is committed to technology and innovation and boasts the highest concentration of tech workers in the nation. The Commonwealth is continually preparing for future growth for IT companies through its top-ranked higher education system.
The New River Valley is home to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, one of the Commonwealth’s largest universities and a leading research center, as well as Radford University and New River Community College. Approximately 50,000 students study within 15 miles of 1901 Group’s Montgomery County operation, promising a wealth of untapped talent to support the company’s future growth. Meanwhile, Northern Virginia offers proximity to 1901 Group’s target customers, as well as an unparalleled IT workforce trained by more than 60 higher education institutions in the region, including George Mason University, George Washington University, and Northern Virginia Community College.
Virginia’s Tech Talent Investment Program is a groundbreaking initiative in collaboration with leading universities in the Commonwealth that plans to create 32,000 computer science graduates in excess of current levels over the next two decades. Boosting the tech talent pipeline will ensure that companies like 1901 Group can access skilled talent in every corner of the Commonwealth.
1901 Group Reinvests in Virginia
In 2018, 1901 Group committed to a major joint expansion in Montgomery and Fairfax Counties, representing a combined capital investment of $4 million and a total of 805 new jobs.
1901 Group continued to advance its vision of a new frontier for tech talent by creating high-quality IT jobs clustered in rural areas. In March 2020, 1901 Group announced plans to invest $1.15 million to establish its third Virginia operation and create 150 new jobs in Washington County. The 1901 Group Operations Center in Abingdon expanded the company’s operational footprint, enhancing its IT services and cloud solutions.
The company sought a location that could easily be expanded as business grows, and the region offers the required access to talent from nearby universities and community colleges. Southwest Virginia fits into the business model 1901 Group has successfully built — hiring talented individuals in rural areas with demonstrated work ethic and providing them the opportunity to upskill and grow within the IT field.
The success of 1901 Group’s business model in the Commonwealth, ranging from urban Northern Virginia to the New River Valley and rural Southwest Virginia, demonstrates the assets, infrastructure, and talent that can be found across the Commonwealth’s diverse regions. 1901 Group’s continued investment boosts Virginia’s IT industry sector and is an exciting indicator of the future role that regions of all sizes can play in supporting the growth of major tech employers.
1901 Group was acquired by Leidos in December 2020.