Gary Kyle is President & CEO of Persistent Agility, Inc., a title he has held since February 2012. Prior to joining, he was a Principal at Booz Allen Hamilton for two years. He has also held roles as an Independent Consultant (Booz Allen Hamilton), President & COO of Government Solutions Division (USM Business Services), and VP and Senior VP roles within various divisions of Verizon Business.
Kyle spoke with WashingtonExec about his role at Persistent Agility, what the small business prides itself in, his IT acquisition strategies, what he’s most proud of, and more.
WashingtonExec: Could you tell us more about yourself and how you landed at Persistent Agility?
Gary Kyle: I am a retired Air Force officer who proudly served this great nation. I had the privilege to serve in operational, contracting, and program management assignments while on active duty. When I retired, I was interested in pursuing a significant role in telecommunications and information technology. Verizon Federal Markets hired me as an executive to set up and lead a business development organization to revitalize their government business. I lead a talented team that drove $562M in revenue for Verizon Federal Markets, averaged 28.5% market growth, and lifted the sales organization from #23 to #2 within the Enterprise Solutions Group. After Verizon purchased MCI in Jan 2006 and formed Verizon Business Federal Government, my responsibilities included overseeing strategy development, customer issue resolution for the DoD, Department of Homeland Security, and White House accounts.
My sales team exceeded it’s $792M revenue objective, while delivering IPV6, Continuity of Operations, and telecommunications solutions to the DoD and White House. I had the opportunity to join Booz Allen Hamilton as an executive leading a geographically dispersed, 52-person team that provided cost estimating, financial management, contracting and acquisition, and program management expertise to DoD customers. We worked closely with clients to understand and resolve complex challenges on some very interesting projects. I was hand-selected by an Air Force four-star general and the Director, National Reconnaissance Office, to be a member of an Air Force “Tiger Team” project that examined the existing contracting, funding, and requirements challenges for a $72B space program.
“We defined the future acquisition strategy tenets that yield at least $863M in savings, improve mission effectiveness, and stabilize the programs’ industrial base.”
I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity and learned a great deal about consulting and professional services. I launched Persistent Agility in February 2012 because I wanted to focus my efforts and provide consultative services to the space community–and businesses in general–that were struggling with the federal procurement system. I also wanted to focus on how to effectively operate in those related markets. Because I helped these large organizations achieve outstanding results, I wanted to assist smaller organizations and companies achieve some of the same results as well.
WashingtonExec: What are some challenges and some benefits of owning a small business?
Gary Kyle: Besides the normal business start-up decisions (structure of the entity, logo, etc.), the challenges are: (1) clearly defining and establishing the corporation’s brand, (2) taking on full responsibility for marketing, business development, sales, and outstanding delivery, (3) hiring or outsourcing the expertise needed to ensure high quality financial, accounting, legal, and IT support, (4) differentiating the service offerings from other companies of all sizes who make the same claims, and (5) establishing the initial client base and growing from that point. There is a significant difference from delivering a service and running a company that delivers that same service.
The benefits include taking on client engagements that interest me, determining work hours and when to perform, obtaining appropriate compensation, and the ability to use all my expertise in a leveraged fashion to provide significant improvement for my clients.
WashingtonExec: What would you say Persistent Agility prides itself in?
Gary Kyle: High integrity, exceeding client expectations, and being a Trusted Client Adviser who strives to improve the client’s position, strategic positioning, market penetration, revenue, or business processes. We help our clients understand the federal procurement process, how to actively and effectively engage with government organizations that have a procurement need, make smart “bid/no bid” decisions, submit compelling and competitive proposals, and win more federal contracts. Our unique experience and expertise truly demystifies the government procurement process and helps move companies forward in their understanding and ability to be successful.
WashingtonExec: Can you tell us a bit more about your IT acquisition strategies? Is there one strategy that has been the most useful/helpful?
Gary Kyle: There is no specific strategy that I can recommend–it depends on the customer or client, the acquisition situation, company situation, etc. I do believe it is essential to stay involved in the direction your customers are going–their long-term strategy. Then get involved early in any upcoming procurement while it is still defined.
“This action ensures a company understands what the evolving requirements are, and has the opportunity to constructively influence those requirements with thought leadership and innovation, if possible.”
WashingtonExec: You’ve been an independent consultant and principal at Booz Allen Hamilton. How would you say this prepared you for your current role of President and CEO?
Gary Kyle: I learned how to be a professional consultant and lead very talented colleagues in consulting engagements. Clients have very important, pressing mission and business requirements. They expect the highest integrity from consultants, along with the ability to listen, identify true needs, formulate relevant and innovative solutions, and deliver outstanding results. Booz Allen Hamilton imprinted consulting excellence on me.
WashingtonExec: What is your proudest achievement?
Gary Kyle: Providing sound and innovative strategies that will save the Government over $1B, while providing more national defense capability.
WashingtonExec: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Gary Kyle: Never give up! Pursue your business with passion, integrity, and excellence. Delight your customers with the value you deliver–exceed their expectations.