By James Ivancic, Fauquier Times Staff Writer
Ken Lukonis built a business from the ground up, or actually from below ground – in his basement – in 2013.
The 10-year veteran of the U.S. Army now runs Strategic Alliance Consulting from office space at 53A E. Lee St. in Warrenton. The company provides consulting, engineering, program management and systems implementation service to the U.S. Defense Department, primarily to the Army and those who work in the national intelligence field.
After his Army service, Lukonis worked in the private sector but tired of that.
“They don’t take care of their employees,” Lukonis said.
Now as the man in charge, he provides Strategic Alliance’s fulltime employees with employer-paid medical, dental and vision coverage to family members as well as those on staff. The company has a 401(k) plan with an employer match of the first 5 percent, fully paid short and long-term disability insurance, and cash in lieu of benefits to employees who have their own health care insurance.
Strategic Alliance has a staff of 50. Six work at the Warrenton office. The others work at government sites in other states – Florida, California, Oregon, Texas and Maryland.
“We keep the overhead low. That recipe has worked,” Lukonis said to a group of business and civic leaders who gathered at the Lee Street office on June 18. It was a “graduation” ceremony after three and a half years spent in office space at the Mason Enterprise Center on Main Street in Warrenton.
The Mason Enterprise Center is a cooperative venture between George Mason University and Fauquier County Department of Economic Development. Business start-ups get rental office space, basic equipment, internet access and advice as they try to sink roots and grow. Co-working space is also available to “mobile” office users.
There are three “incubators” in the county. The one in Warrenton, plus one at Vint Hill and one in Marshall.
Economic Development Director Miles Friedman said the county board of supervisors continues to support the business incubator effort.
Marshall District Supervisor Mary Leigh McDaniel singled out Renee Younes, manager of the Warrenton Mason Center, as “the epitome of a business incubator professional” through her advice and support to entrepreneurs.
McDaniel was quick to post on Facebook after the event.
“I was delighted to attend the ceremony as Ken Lukonis and his team at Strategic Alliance celebrate moving to their new location. This local business started at Ken’s home then moved to space at the Mason Enterprise center. They quickly outgrew that and now occupy a large office suite on Lee Street. This is economic development at its best in Fauquier County – congratulations to all!”
“Fauquier County and George Mason – you did it right,” Lukonis said.
Lukonis said he now wants to help other start-ups grow.
Read the article from Fauquier Times here.