Richard A. Montoni is the Chief Executive Officer, President and Director of MAXIMUS, a company that aids the government achieve their goals by providing certain essential services, with a mission of Helping Government Serve the People.
Last week, Montoni won Executive of the Year in the greater than $300 million division at the 10th Annual Government Contrating Awards. The awards were hosted at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. by the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce, Professional Services Council (PSC) and WashingtonTechnology magazine.
Montoni previously served as Chief Financial Officer, Director, and Executive Vice President for CIBER, and was an audit partner with KPMG for close to 20 years. He has a B.S. in economics from Boston University and an M.A. in accounting from Northeastern University.
Read on below to learn more about what makes his company unique, doing “more with less,” top talent, what you may not know about him, and more.
MAXIMUS was also nominated as Contractor of the Year in the greater than $300 million division at this year’s awards.
WashingtonExec: What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Richard A. Montoni: As a young professional, I was dealing with a particularly challenging business issue and a valued mentor gave me this advice: “begin with the end in mind, and work backwards.” When faced with tough decisions today, I continue to find this principle helpful. By starting with the end result in mind, you can give thoughtful consideration of the alternative end points, weighing the pros and cons, the financial and non-financial impacts, and the viability of each outcome. Once you’ve set your end point priorities, the team can work together and focus on the roadmap to achieve that desired end result.
WashingtonExec: What is something most people might not know about you?
Richard A. Montoni: Most people don’t know that I’ve had around 14 different jobs. In fact, one of my first jobs was as an assistant to the baker at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Massachusetts. But each job served as a stepping stone and I picked up many lessons learned along the way. Essentially, all those jobs served as the many rungs that form that career ladder we’re always talking about climbing.
WashingtonExec: What book do you recommend to young executives?
Richard A. Montoni: A must-read for young executives is “Strategy Market Management” by David Aaker. Although it’s a pure technical business book, it provides a helpful foundation that executives of all ages can use when helping an enterprise consider new and maturing markets.
I believe managers who can “set the course for the future” are the ones who add great value to an organization.”
WashingtonExec: How do you differentiate your company from its competitors? What is unique about your approach?
Richard A. Montoni: MAXIMUS is one of the largest publicly traded companies that provide business process services specifically to government customers. While many of our competitors offer business process services, we remain dedicated to assisting governments with the delivery of high-quality and cost-effective BPO services to the beneficiaries of critical health and human services public programs.
With this single focus on government, MAXIMUS brings program expertise and our proven ability to deliver defined, measurable outcomes and practical and effective services to our clients. We leverage a blend of people, process and technology to serve diverse beneficiary populations in high-profile, complex health and human services programs. Many of our employees possess substantial subject matter expertise in areas that are critical to the successful design, implementation, administration and operation of these programs. We apply private sector business process management methodology and innovative technology solutions to create more efficient and effective public programs.
WashingtonExec: How have you grown the company as the government asks the private sector to “do more with less?”
Richard A. Montoni: Rising debt, a stagnant economy and ever shrinking budgets are putting pressure on government agencies at all levels to cut costs while still maintaining high levels of service. At MAXIMUS, we are keenly aware of this challenge and we believe that helping governments “do more with less” is an area where we bring tremendous value.
Government programs are becoming increasingly dynamic and often require rapid scaling of resources. MAXIMUS applies our award-winning business process management expertise and innovation to help governments become more agile as they achieve their programmatic goals in a consumer-friendly, yet cost-effective manner. We deliver on the program outcomes that matter to our clients, whether it’s connecting job seekers to sustained employment or providing independent choice counseling so families can choose the best managed care plan to meet their needs.
Governments around the world continue to turn to MAXIMUS to improve cost effectiveness, program efficiency and overall program to help them meet their challenges. This increase in demand for our services helps us grow as a Company.
WashingtonExec: What is the fastest growing component of your business?
Richard A. Montoni: MAXIMUS is at the forefront of several exciting growth opportunities, both here in the U.S. and abroad. As the nation’s largest Medicaid and CHIP administrator, we are uniquely qualified to assist states with the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, including the operations of their Health Insurance Exchanges (HIX). In fact, MAXIMUS recently won our first HIX contract to design and build an exchange for the State of Minnesota.
Around the world, we continue to see demand for our core services. MAXIMUS is serving job seekers in the United States, Australia, Canada, as well as the United Kingdom where the country launched the Work Programme, one of its most ambitious welfare reform initiatives to date. And we recently expanded our employment services offerings to a new geography, Saudi Arabia, where we are operating a pilot program to help get Saudis back to work.
We continue to look for opportunities to expand our global footprint, whether it’s a new geography or an expansion of our current portfolio within an existing geography.”
We’re seeing a universal concern of rising social demands compounded with unsustainable programs and tough fiscal environments for governments around the world.
WashingtonExec: Obtaining top talent in government contracting is fierce -how is your company able to not only recruit top talent, but also retain it? What is your corporate culture? How do you maintain satisfied employees?
Richard A. Montoni: Our people are clearly our greatest asset. Our employees have been and will continue to be the lifeblood of MAXIMUS. They are compassionate, hard-working, experienced and knowledgeable. It is our people that deliver day in and day out the critical services to our clients that make a difference in the lives of many and make MAXIMUS a firm of choice among government agencies.
To recruit and retain top talent, we remain dedicated to providing them with an engaging and supportive work environment and meaningful jobs that contribute to our goals as a Company. I think the common thread among our employees is a commitment to and a passion for helping their fellow citizens – something that’s reflected in our corporate mission is Helping Government Serve the People. ® We strive to foster a culture that values and recognizes the contributions of our employees because that’s what often sparks innovation, develops leadership, and drives exceptional performance.
WashingtonExec: How has the government contracting industry changed since you entered the sector?
Richard A. Montoni: We are witnessing one of the most difficult times for government since MAXIMUS entered the contracting industry in 1975. Governments must deliver critical services to a diverse group of citizens within a very challenging fiscal environment. This has led more and more government agencies and departments turning to public-private partnerships for a wide variety of public services.
A recent example is in Illinois, where the general assembly and the governor needed to make $1.6 billion in cuts to state programs. To help achieve this, the state hired MAXIMUS to assist with Medicaid eligibility verification to identify recipients who are receiving health care coverage through the program, but no longer meet the financial eligibility requirements. Illinois is just one state that’s looking for ways to achieve cost savings while ensuring accountability.
WashingtonExec: Does your company have a Bring Your Own Device Policy (BYOD)? What has been your largest challenge with this policy? How is the “mobile workforce” changing the way you conduct business within your company and with the federal government?
Richard A. Montoni: MAXIMUS does allow many of our employees to bring their own mobile phones and we have the necessary security infrastructure and policies in place to protect confidential information. However, the vast majority of our technology is Company-procured.
WashingtonExec: How is your company involved in the community?
Richard A. Montoni: All of us at MAXIMUS recognize the importance of giving back to the communities in which we live and work. The nature of our business is to support a variety of populations in need, yet our employees find many additional ways to deepen their commitment to their local communities. From participating in charity races to collecting food for those in need to delivering meals to low-income seniors, MAXIMUS employees conduct a variety of local charity events and service projects on a regular basis.
At the corporate level, the MAXIMUS Board of Directors created the MAXIMUS Foundation in 2000 to support local organizations and programs that promote personal growth and community development. The Foundation is a non-profit charitable organization that is funded by charitable gifts from the employees of MAXIMUS and supplemented by grants from the Company. Since 2000, the Foundation has issued more than $2 million in grants. By providing financial support for non-profit organizations and charities that share our commitment in helping disadvantaged populations and underserved communities, the Foundation is a natural extension of the Company.