“In 2012, the government shut down hit, and that is tough on a small business because you don’t get paid but you half to retain your employees. It was a hard thing to go through. Myself, my partner and CEO decided to take pay cuts in order to weather the storm.”
Arria Hines is CEO and President of Allegheny Science & Technology (AST) but proudly wears many other hats: award-winning entrepreneur, successful businesswoman, trusted advisor, valued mentor and native West Virginian.
She is recognized as a leader in her home state and in areas throughout AST’s geographic business footprint. Arria’s desire to counsel, support and give back to small businesses and communities has resulted in a much deserved reputation as a highly effective and collaborative leader in today’s complex and rapidly evolving business and civic climate.
AST was founded in 2009 and has since turned into one of the fastest growing privately held companies in America.
“We are a women-owned energy and technology consulting firm, and we specialize in applied science and technology, data and decision analytics,” Hines said. “A big part of what we do is mission support and assurance for our customers.”
Hines discussed with Jim Matuga on The Positively West Virginia Podcast her worst business moment and what she took away from that, why she loves working in West Virginia, her advice to young entrepreneurs and how business owners can start leading a company through mentorship.
What was your worst business experience as an entrepreneur?
Hines, her partner and CEO decided to take pay cuts due to the 2012 government shutdown. As she talked about it, the government shut down was hard on small businesses because they weren’t getting paid but still had to retain their employees.
Tell us the one take away you got from that experience
“There is always a path; you just have to figure out what it is,” Hines said. “There is always an option.”
What is the best thing about being in business in West Virginia?
Hines spoke about two reasons why she loves working in West Virginia: the people and the other businesses.
“The people, the loyalty and commitment. They really support your team and become a part of your team,” Hines said.
“I have found that the other businesses (we’ve partnered with KeyLogic and other businesses in West Virginia) really mentor each other. We’re in a small area, and you kind of know everyone. I am a firm believer that you treat people right and you do business the right way.”
Hines is a successful business woman and owns a successful business. Under Hine’s leadership, AST was named to the Inc. 500/5000 in August 2018 for the fifth consecutive year. The Inc. 5000 is an expansion of the Inc. 500, which ranks the country’s top 5000 fastest-growing private companies.
In August 2018, AST was named to the Washington Fast50 for the fifth straight year, a ranking of the 50 fastest growing small businesses in the government market, according to Washington Technology.
Because of her company’s success, Hines receives a lot of questions from young entrepreneurs and business owners, and she always gives them this advice first:
“First, I tell them you can do it. It is not easy. Starting a company is easy; building it is hard. You have to be committed and true to yourself.”
“The key thing for me when someone is talking about building a business is: don’t let the fear control you. You control the fear because that is going to keep you moving forward.”
“Many times, I talk to young people who are just starting out, and they come to me and ask ‘how did you do it,’ and the big thing I tell them is you have to believe. You have to believe in your dream before you can sell it to someone else.”
Hines was a guest on The Positively West Virginia Podcast. Listen to her full podcast here.
PWV QUICK BITS | LEADING A COMPANY THROUGH MENTORSHIP
- RECOMMENDED BOOK: Made to Stick and Outliers
- RECOMMENDED RESOURCES: Mind Map and OneNote
- PIECE OF ADVICE: “Many times, I talk to young people who are just starting out, and they come to me and ask ‘how did you do it,’ and the big thing I tell them is you have to believe. You have to believe in your dream before you can sell it to someone else.”