I.C.E. News Release

FEBRUARY 5, 2014

2 Tampa government consulting companies become IMAGE members

IMAGE program ensures legal, authorized workforce

TAMPA, Fla. Ė With the Department of Defense as one of their primary clients, two Tampa-based consulting companies realized the importance of protecting the security of our nation. Thatís why Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting Inc. and EKS Group LLC have become the latest employers to be certified by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) employment compliance program called IMAGE.

IMAGE stands for ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers. As part of this agreement, both companies have pledged to maintain a secure and stable workforce and to curtail the employment of unauthorized workers through outreach and education. To qualify for IMAGE certification, companies must perform the following requirements:

  • Enroll in the E-Verify program within 60 days,
  • Establish a written hiring and employment eligibility verification policy that includes internal Form I-9 audits at least once per year and
  • Submit to a Form I-9 inspection.

"Both companies provide consulting services to a variety of government agencies, including the Department of Defense," said Susan McCormick, special agent in charge of ICEís Homeland Security Investigations in Tampa. "Ensuring their workforces are legally authorized to work in this country is a natural next step in protecting the security of this nation."

Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting Inc. provides consulting, training, information technology and engineering solutions to federal agencies, primarily the Department of Defense. The company has 20 locations worldwide, where they interface daily with government personnel on technical, programmatic and operational issues.

"As a federal government contractor that works predominately with the Department of Defense, VATC is honored to partner with the Department of Homeland Security in its efforts to protect and serve our country and its national infrastructure," said Jim Kotlyn, Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting Inc.ís chief operating officer.

EKS Group LLC provides clients expertise on intelligence operations, law enforcement, counterintelligence, national security and foreign affairs. Company representatives are often called upon to provide mobile training teams to coach, mentor and instruct Department of Defense operational teams across the globe.

"EKS is proud to be a part of this important ICE program. It has insured we are 100 percent compliant with the law, helping us achieve greater efficiencies," said Adrian Martinez, EKS Group LLCís managing partner.

Together, Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting Inc. and EKS Group LLC employ nearly 500 people. Both are headquartered in Tampa.

With the addition of these two companies, 18 Florida companies with more than 17,600 employees participate in the IMAGE program.

Gravity-Ratterman LLC, Ramcon LLC and Pelican Bay LTD Inc. are some of the most recent employers to be certified by the IMAGE program.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) E-Verify employment eligibility verification program enables employers to verify that newly hired employees are eligible to work in the United States. This Internet-based system is available throughout the nation and is free to employers. It provides an automated link to the Social Security Administration database and DHS immigration records.

Companies interested in more information about the IMAGE program can call 813-357-7137 or visit ICE.gov/image.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security.

ICE is a 21st century law enforcement agency with broad responsibilities for a number of key homeland security priorities. For more information, visit www.ICE.gov. To report suspicious activity, call 1-866-347-2423 or complete our tip form .