Year Rewind: Spathe Systems’ 2023 Year in Review

 In Announcements, C5ISR Support, External Events, Internal Events, Internships, Mission Support, Workforce Modernization

As we bid farewell to another remarkable year, it is time to reflect on the journey we have undertaken together here at SPATHE. The past twelve months have been filled with challenges, triumphs, and moments that have defined us. In the spirit of gratitude and growth, let us embark on a journey through the highlights that shaped Spathe Systems in 2023.

Awards and Industry Recognition

We started the year strong, with SPATHE President Mark Clifton winning the Small Business Administration’s Minority Business Owner of the Year. Every year, the Small Business Administration (SBA) recognizes and congratulates a select few small businesses and champions that are having a genuine impact on our local, state, and national economies. Mark was chosen among the top leading business owners in the South Florida area for demonstrating his true innovation, determination, and leadership that typifies the entrepreneurial spirit ever present in the South Florida District.

Over the last seven years, Mark has helped shape Spathe Systems into a diverse, tight-knit organization that fosters innovation and growth in all its employees. He has made it his mission to build, practice, and spread awareness of the benefits of a diverse working culture that does not leave anyone out. He works closely with his teammates and values their successes. Mark is a devoted leader who always strives to make his employees feel valued, respected, accepted, and encouraged to fully participate in the mission at hand. He is proud of his minority status, and he uses the experiences that status has given him to build a culture and workforce that accepts all people and works together harmoniously.

Last month, we were awarded the Department of Labor’s HIREVets Medallion Award for the 2nd Year in a Row! Established in 2018, The HIREVets Medallion Award program recognizes companies for their exceptional commitment to the hiring, retention, and professional development of our nation’s veterans. Spathe Systems earned HIREVets Platinum award for a mid-size company. Being a Service-Disabled, Veteran Owned Small Business, we at SPATHE believe it is our duty to provide support, coaching, and mentoring to our nation’s veterans as they navigate the next chapters of their personal and professional lives. We are so proud to be recognized for our efforts again and look forward to continuing this support for many years to come.

Company & Contract Growth

Throughout the year, SPATHE kept active with many new and exciting contracts. On our STARS III IDIQ, we expanded our reach into the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with AV maintenance and installation services. This includes supporting FEMA Region 3 with service desk support, replacement parts procurement, and service coordination for their complex AV system which provides integrated voice, video, and presentation capabilities across several conference and meeting room spaces within the Region.

Additionally, we assisted the 552nd ACW with upgrading and installing new Secure Video Teleconference equipment including AV systems engineering, touch panel control, programming, equipment, parts, and labor.

1 Year supporting Joint Special Operations University

For more than a year now, it has been our honor to manage the contract for USSOCOM’s Joint Special Operations University (JSOU). As the only university within the command, JSOU prepares SOF professionals to address strategic and operational challenges, arming them with the ability to think through problems with knowledge, insight, and foresight. SPATHE supports JSOU with Educational support services, resident and distance learning, lifecycle support, and instruction in various delivery methods. Spathe also coordinates university and campus support services for faculty and students. Since the start of the contract, we have deployed educators to over 25 different countries and issued 95 Task Orders.

One of these task orders saw us support the 75th Army Ranger Regiment Program where SPATHE played an integral part in the education and training of the Ranger class of 2023. In October, at Fort Moore, we had our first big, combined graduation ceremony with the Post education center. We ended up having 20 Rangers walk in the ceremony out of the 87 who qualified.

Overall, 2023 was SPATHE’s biggest year of program growth to date, growing 33% in revenue from 2022 and earning over $40 million in contract awards.

Modernizing the DoD Workforce

2023 also saw us work diligently to grow and improve our Workforce Modernization efforts. As the defense industry continues to evolve, it has become increasingly more important for supporting organizations to develop a workforce that can keep up. At SPATHE, we are fully committed to creating a diverse workforce that not only supports but advances the defense industry and its ability to safeguard our nation.

As a part of this effort, we have established partnerships with multiple Academic institutions and military SkillBridge programs to create pathways to hire, train, and integrate emerging talent into the current SOF workforce. Pairing them with seasoned industry professionals and SOF veterans, we train these individuals based on industry and customer requirements while also bridging any knowledge gaps to create a talent pool more adequately able to support the mission at hand.

Internships and Academic Partnerships

Throughout 2023, we expanded our reach into multiple Florida universities to establish structured internship programs for students to apply the lessons they learned as part of their studies to real, active work within

the public and private sectors. We continued our longstanding partnership with Florida A&M University bringing in new and invaluable interns to our team, including Senior Business Admin Major, Shemai’ah Grooms, who assisted us this summer with HR, Payroll, and Marketing initiatives within SPATHE HQ. 2023 also saw previous FAMU intern, Maurice Pickett II complete his master’s in Business Administration. We at SPATHE could not be more honored to have helped him accomplish!

SPATHE also teamed up with HCC’s A.S. Radio and Television Broadcast Programming program to establish an internship for HCC students to practice their AV and broadcasting skills in a real-world environment. Over the summer, SPATHE housed two HCC interns who worked alongside members of JSOU to assist them with the AV development of their new podcast room.

In May, we partnered with the University of Tampa’s AROTC unit to provide cadets with a flexible internship program along with routine engagements to support furthering their education and professional development. Similarly, we worked with University of South Florida’s Veteran Success Program, establishing a pipeline for veteran students looking to collaborate with SPATHE SME’s (most of which are retired veterans) on real projects that not only support SPATHE, but contribute to the growth of their careers.

Growing Military Outreach and Assistance Efforts

In keeping in the theme of Military support, our commitment to supporting and empowering military veterans took significant strides forward in the past year, as we witnessed remarkable growth in our military outreach and support initiatives. The expansion of our military fellowship program, a comprehensive internship designed to ease the transition from military to civilian life, was a pivotal achievement. Our commitment extended to Fayetteville, NC, where we established multiple internships, fostering opportunities for transitioning military personnel.

Additionally, our Director of Contracts and esteemed military veteran, Terry Whited, has been at the forefront of imparting valuable knowledge to transitioning military personnel. She has been actively involved in teaching at the Small Business Administration (SBA)’s Boots to Business seminar, offering crucial insights into government contracting for current transitioning military members. Our efforts were not only recognized through the prestigious HireVets Award mentioned earlier, but also acknowledged by the Program Management Institute (PMI) of Tampa Bay, underscoring our position as a leading organization in the realm of military outreach and support. These accomplishments reinforce our steadfast commitment to providing invaluable resources and opportunities for our military community, ensuring their successful integration into civilian life. In total, SPATHE hired 41 Veterans and assisted 12 transitioning military with landing jobs post-retirement.

Developing the Next Generation of Talent

In the spirit of community engagement and nurturing the leaders of tomorrow, our company has remained steadfast in its commitment to fostering the development of today’s youth throughout the past year. We took meaningful strides to bridge the gap between education and professional opportunities including actively supporting AFCEA Central Florida’s Cyber Launch Competition which created a platform for students to showcase their Cybersecurity talents and opening doors for potential internships within SPATHE.

Additionally, recognizing the pivotal role teachers play in shaping young minds, we extended our support to Hillsborough County Public Schools through a generous donation, demonstrating our dedication to the overall improvement of educational resources. Beyond the classroom, our involvement in Pizzo Elementary’s school’s veteran’s day parade was a testament to our commitment to holistic education. SPATHE leadership took part in the event, sharing insights and experiences, thus inspiring and educating young minds about the noble service one conducts in the military. As we reflect on the year gone by, our efforts in nurturing the potential of the youth underscore our belief in creating a positive impact that extends far beyond our immediate business goals.

Maintaining a Healthy and Flexible Work-Life Balance

Our commitment to the well-being of our employees remained a top priority throughout 2023. Recognizing the evolving needs and demands of the modern workforce, we took intentional steps to cultivate a healthy work-life balance within our company. Embracing flexibility as a cornerstone, we continued with our hybrid work schedule that empowers our team members to navigate their professional and personal responsibilities seamlessly. This flexible approach ensures that our employees can prioritize their well-being, allowing for a harmonious integration of work and life. By fostering an environment where individuals can thrive both personally and professionally, we aim to not only enhance job satisfaction but also promote a sustainable and resilient workforce. As we look back on the year, our commitment to a balanced and adaptable work culture reflects our dedication to the holistic success and fulfillment of every member of our team.


“At SPATHE, Work-Life balance is about empowering our people to take charge of their own well-being by taking care of themselves and developing interests outside of work – spending time with family, hobbies, and mental-physical-emotional health (sleep, exercise, balanced nutrition, and relaxation) help us all become more well-rounded and productive people. This in turn helps employees add value to the SPATHE team and mission.”

Mark Clifton
SPATHE President and Managing Partner


Looking Into the Future

As we reflect on the accomplishments and milestones of the past year, we cannot help but feel an overwhelming sense of optimism and excitement for the future that lies ahead. 2024 holds the promise of new challenges, growth opportunities, and groundbreaking achievements for our company. With a strategic vision and a dedicated team, we are poised to embark on a journey filled with innovation, collaboration, and success. Here is to a future filled with endless possibilities, collective triumphs, and the unwavering spirit that defines SPATHE!

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