Better contracts, ‘auto ID’ tech help CDO find its groove

Al Wofford, founder and president of Riverside IT defense contractor CDO Technologies, says landing the right contracts has spurred the company to new growth. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF
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Al Wofford, founder and president of Riverside IT defense contractor CDO Technologies, says landing the right contracts has spurred the company to new growth. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF

Over the past 24 months, Dayton defense contractor CDO Technologies has seen significant growth.

The information technology and cyber-security company on Springfield Street has grown both its federal and commercial businesses and that’s a strategy Al Wofford, CDO founder and president, intends to keep pursuing.

CDO has “not quite tripled” its number of employees in the past four years. And it’s waiting on contract announcements that could take it to 400 workers by year’s end.

“We downsized in 2013 to 2014, but now we’re back to probably 320 people,” Wofford said.

Most CDO employees work outside of Dayton, in 19 states, working on everything from “video walls” for an Army command center in Hawaii, Air Force customers in Rome, N.Y., to IT work for the Dayton Dragons.

CDO manages the IT infrastructure for the Air Force Reserve and others. It provides cloud and cyber-security services to Department of Defense clients, not necessarily at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base — which can be easily seen from the window of Wofford’s office — but around the country.

Many of CDO’s employees work for organizations that report back to Wright-Patterson.

CDO’s secret is really no secret. The company is landing more valuable, multiple-job contracts that keep it busier longer.

Contractors have an acronym for these contracts — ID/IQ or “indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity” jobs.

“We’ve developed strategic contracts with the Air Force and the Army,” Wofford said. “And what I mean by ‘strategic contracts’ are those contracts that allow us to execute multiple jobs.”

Land the right ID/IQs — and land enough of them — and you can “secure the growth,” he said.

The company is pursuing the same kinds of contracts with the Navy and the Defense Logistics Agency.

“The policies over the past several years have been small-business friendly,” Wofford said. “I hope the policies going forward stay that way.”

Another big part of the company’s growth: Helping customers keep track of their stuff.

That has meant offering RFID — radio frequency identification — and “auto ID” technology.

“‘Where’s my stuff’ and ‘how do I improve manufacturing’ are the questions answered by these (RFID) products – across all niches, such as manufacturing, services and hospitality,” said Robert Zielinski, CDO director of commercial solutions.

While CDO was born in Riverside in 1995 as a defense contractor, it has stepped into the commercial and education arenas. It has been located on Springfield Street for at least 12 years.

“CDO is helping companies around the world recognize value, and as a native Daytonian it is especially exciting to see greater Miami Valley companies deploy data capture and mobility technologies to improve business,” Zielinski added.

The Dayton area remains a good base for CDO, Wofford said.

“Family, cost of living, convenience to where I want to get to — Columbus, Cincinnati, Indianapolis,” he said. “The region is innovative, and innovation is what drives me.”

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