Kerberos International, Inc.
After spending 14 years with IBM, Myra Dawn Cole leveraged her experience in engineering, sales, and management and founded Kerberos International, Inc. In 2006, while working with several Afghan companies, Ms. Cole became passionate about women’s rights in Afghanistan. Funded by a USAID grant, she later traveled to Afghanistan to reach out to over 400 local Muslim clergy in Kandahar Province to convince them to allow girls to go to school. During that time, Ms. Cole developed a great appreciation for the challenges our service men and women face.
Ms. Cole returned from Afghanistan determined to take her company in a new direction – one that supports U.S. military, intelligence, and first responder communities. She began building an infrastructure that enabled Kerberos to grow – earning both 8(a) and WOSB certifications. In 2013, Ms. Cole was awarded her first U.S. government contract, an 8(a) sole source contract for the Department of Defense. Her first million-dollar contract came in 2015.
Kerberos International, Inc. is proudly woman-owned, and Ms. Cole continues her women’s advocacy with participation in Women for Women International, which provides training, skill building and financial and personnel resources to enable marginalized women - the women survivors of war and conflict - to develop the skills they need to rebuild their families and communities. She also enjoys helping local girls develop confidence and sportsmanship skills by sponsoring a girls softball team.
Since its inception in 2006, Kerberos International, Inc. has experienced continual growth and success. Kerberos International provides products and services to U.S. government agencies and
commercial institutions with two divisions. Kerberos’ Security and Protection Division provides armed and unarmed security officers to protect critical facilities including portions of our nation’s infrastructure facilities throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. Kerberos’ Communications Division provides customized wireless communications platforms (radio, cell, WiFi and satellite) and tactical electrical warfare solutions that deliver radio intercept and jamming functions.
Kerberos earned its first US government contract in 2013 and began its corporate transformation from a one-person consulting company to a U.S. government contractor. In 2014, revenues were approximately $275,000 – more than tripling the previous year’s revenue. In 2015, Kerberos generated over $1,000,000 in revenue and continued to double its revenue each year through 2020. By 2021, revenues exceeded $20,000,000.
To date, Kerberos International, Inc. has secured seven major U.S. government contracts totaling more than $200,000,000. Kerberos’ customers include the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Drug Enforcement Agency, Customs and Border Protection, Department of Health and Human Services, and multiple other government facilities including the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of Transportation, and the Department of Interior.
Kerberos is proud to have earned extremely complimentary contractor performance reviews from these U.S. government agencies. In 2018, Kerberos International, Inc. was named to the Washington Technology Fast 50 list and has received Inc. Magazine’s INC 5000 Fastest Growing Small Businesses in the United States award in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2022.
The success of Kerberos International, Inc. is due in part to the assistance provided by the SBA and the McLennan SBDC. Ms. Cole states, “Without the financial assistance and operational guidance provided by the SBA and local SBDC, I could have never built a successful company.”
Since 2012, Ms. Cole has utilized the small business services provided by the McLennan SBDC and the SBA. Initially, Ms. Cole leveraged PTAC for procurement and the SBA Mentor Protégé Program to obtain her 8a certification. In 2013, when Kerberos earned its first U.S. government contract, an 8(a) sole source contract, Ms. Cole secured a 10-year SBA 7(a) loan for $225,000 to fund equipment and labor required to deliver the contract. The following year, the McLennan SBDC encouraged Ms. Cole to pursue a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant with the Air Force, which seemed tailor-made for the technology and services Kerberos provided. Ms. Cole was not only awarded that contract, but also won another STTR grant from the Army Research Laboratories in May of 2015.
These two STTR awards were instrumental in developing a small, portable radio jammer with the potential to catapult the company into significant growth. Fort Hood Family Housing stated that the credibility Kerberos offered with its 8(a) and WOSB certifications was one of the deciding factors when awarding Kerberos its first million-dollar contract.
In 2020, Kerberos expanded its SBA 7(a) loan to $2,500,000 and received a Payroll Protection Plan loan of $840,000 in order to support the company’s first two contracts with the Department of Homeland Security. These contracts totaled $90,000,000 and helped grow Kerberos’ employee base from 87 to 168 employees.
By 2021, the total number of Kerberos employees increased to 279 and by 2022 that number had grown to 335. Today, Kerberos International, Inc. employs over 700 people.
Kerberos has been able to sustain growth through a business model change, recessions, and a major pandemic. Ms. Cole has utilized and credits many resource partners for her success. She has used the assistance of the SBA for mentoring through the 8a program, growth, and disaster lending, as well as the SBDC, SCORE, and PTAC offices for their specialized assistance. Ms. Cole credits her success to all the resource partners the SBA has provided over the years.