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BAO Systems Office Testimonial

Steffen Tengesdal

Company: BAO Systems, working in the global public health and international development space. We are mostly focused on data collection and disease surveillance. We collect data on just about anything you can imagine: Ebola, HIV/AIDS, COVID, Malaria, tropical diseases. Then we put that data to use to make better decisions for organizations on how they spend their money, where they place resources, and how they commit to their missions. US government is our largest client, with donors such as The Global Fund, Gavi, and Gates Foundation. Then a lot of NGOs, Doctors Without Borders, Save the Children, etc.

Role: Principal

Office address:  House of Sweden (2900 K St NW, Suite 507)

Employees: 45 in the Georgetown office, and about 100 globally

In Georgetown since: 2016

Why Georgetown?

Where was your company located before Georgetown, and why did you decide to relocate here? 
We were in Clifton, Va., and only had three employees at the time. We moved to Georgetown as a six-person company and have grown here since. In terms of where we wanted to work location-wise, we’re a short 15- to 20-minute walk to our US government clients, we’re close to transit in terms of being able to drive into Virginia, and then the ability to draw talent from the DC area where a lot of our folks don’t have cars. We selected Georgetown because we knew where we had to be in order to hire, and be close to our clients. Close is a relative term, but 20 minutes is not bad in DC.

How do you and your employees get to work?
Usually I drive. I live in Virginia, so for me, being able to get across the bridge and not having to venture too far into DC is advantageous. For my employees, it seems that Uber has been the most common way to get to work. Others take the bus or walk.

What are the most unexpected benefits of working in Georgetown?
Some of the flexibility in lease terms tends to be one of the biggest surprises for us. There are a lot more smaller buildings and flexible lease terms than I have seen in other parts of the city, particularly when you consider the atmosphere that you’re in. There are options in other parts of the city, but you’re not close to a water setting, you’re not close to shops, so if people aren’t willing to be flexible on lease terms, those other places don’t tend to be such a desirable location. We’ve been able to expand (and contract now due to COVID) within our office space, and have seen similar businesses in Georgetown be able do the same.

What are the benefits of your office space?
I think the walkability of where we are [along the waterfront]. It’s such an easy option for lunch, being able to take a stroll during the day, being close to trails, having nice scenery out the window, being able to look at the Potomac and across the river, and up to the bridge and the Kennedy Center. It’s really spectacular.

Out-of-Office Favorites

Coffee Shop: Baked & Wired

Lunch Spot: If it’s a business lunch with a nicer setting, Fiola Mare is one of my favorites. In terms of flexibility, Farmers Fishers Bakers has something for everybody.

Happy Hour: Sequoia

Walking Spot to Clear Your Head: Taking a stroll along the Potomac. Being able to get outside and take in some scenery that’s different than staring at a screen for a while is always a nice way to be able to focus and think of new ideas. I tend to walk and clear my head a lot. I like the fact that there are a lot of different options nearby. I can go in many different directions and see a variety of architecture – whether it’s the Potomac, or crossing the bridge into Virginia to walk around Roosevelt Island and making a five-mile loop that way.

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