How does one go from meager beginnings to being CEO of a multi-million dollar firm and named as a Champion for Change by the White House?
The story of John Calhoun, Chief Executive Officer of Integrated Management Services (IMS) located in Jackson, Mississippi, is that of the classic entrepreneur overcoming hardship through intellect and a strong work ethic. His entrepreneurial drive began early when he, at the age of 12, mowed lawns with his older brothers for their business.
In February 1996, he and Rod Hill founded IMS, a full-service consulting, engineering, emergency response, management and operations firm helping public and private clients improve the environment and infrastructure. However, he was no overnight success story. Prior to starting IMS, he and Rod had two businesses that – in their words – “failed miserably”. They learned from the obstacles and stumbling blocks and successfully started IMS Engineers.
Since its inception, the firm has grown from a two person staff to more than three hundred and the multi-million dollar operation is one of the largest minority-owned engineering firms in the nation. “Our number one goal is to provide the best services possible - every opportunity we get,” said Calhoun.
In 2006, IMS was named to the prestigious Inc. 500 list as one of America’s fastest growing companies for the fourth straight year. That year, IMS ranked 449th in the nation with a 3-year sales growth of 330.1%. IMS was also named to the 2007 Inc. 5000, the first ever list of the 5,000 fastest-growing businesses in the country with a rank of 833rd and a three-year sales growth of 414.1%. IMS was also ranked 30th on the 2008 Inner City 100 Award for the fastest growing inner-city businesses in the U.S. for the fourth straight year.
IMS Engineers is a Small Business Program 8(a) graduate and holds multiple MBE certifications with state and local municipalities; and has acquired and executed contracts throughout the United States. While participating in the 8(a) program, IMS garnered several contracts to include an 8(a) Set-Aside IDIQ Construction Contract worth $281,000 to a $20 million small business set-aside contract for debris monitoring and quality assurance aervices in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
SBA’s 8(a) Program is an essential instrument that helps firms that are majority owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals gain access to government contracting and premier business development tools. Participation in the program is divided into two phases over nine years: a four-year developmental stage and a five-year transition stage.
Calhoun is a product of the Jackson Public Schools and received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Memphis State University. He received an MBA from Jackson State University - and a Ph.D. from the University of Mississippi.
Through his 8(a) certification, SBA sponsored his completion of post-doctoral executive education studies at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, the Center for Closely Held Firms of the Sellinger School of Loyola University, and the University of Texas.
Prior to founding IMS Engineers, Calhoun taught Strategic Management and Human Resources classes full-time at Jackson State University. For the past several years, he has taught graduate students in the Department of Entrepreneurship and Professional Development - in the College of Business. He has also served on multiple business and community Boards and Commissions including that of Senior Advisor to the Mayor of Jackson where he was the chief architect of the Metro Jackson Housing Partnership and the Jackson Hinds MINCAP fund, an institution that lends millions of dollars to minority businesses in the Jackson Metro Area.
Calhoun received his award as the Mississippi SBA’s 2011 Small Business Person during a ceremony in Jackson, MS on June 14, 2011. He was judged on his company's staying power, growth in number of employees, increase in sales and/or unit volume, current and past financial reports, innovations of product or service, response to adversity and contributions to aid the community.
For more information about SBA’s procurement related programs and services, contact the Mississippi District Office in Jackson at (601) 965-4378, the Gulfport Branch Office at (228) 863-4449 or visit the Mississippi SBA website at www.sba.gov/ms.
Small Business Person
John D. Calhoun, Ph.D, Chief Executive Officer
126 East Amite Street
Jackson, MS 39201