Q&A with Deltek CEO Michael Corkery on Maintaining Growth, SAAS & the New York Giants

Mike Corkery, Deltek

Deltek CEO Michael Corkery, leads 1,600 employees that serve the company’s 16,000 customers across 80 countries. Since joining Deltek in January 2010, Corkery’s roles have included working as the company’s CFO and acting CEO before officially holding the CEO title. He also held positions as CFO and Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at ICO Global Communications and several senior financial and operational executive positions. Corkery holds a B.S. in Accounting from St. Bonaventure University.

Corkery spoke to WashingtonExec about his vision for Deltek and why he joined the company, maintaining growth, what the next big tech trend to hit federal IT might be, his mentors, and more.

WashingtonExec:  Could you tell us a little bit about your plans for Deltek this year and beyond?

Michael Corkery: Our plans moving forward are very similar to our strategy over the last three years – since I’ve been here that has proven to be quite successful.  We are excited about the new partnership with Thoma Bravo, our new private equity sponsor who bought the company in late 2012. We will also continue to enhance our product portfolio both through our very vibrant product development engine internally, as well as through acquisition. We look to continue to be very active from an acquisition perspective in order to further deliver the innovative solutions that will improve our customer’s businesses.  That’s really what drives our plans for the future.

WashingtonExec:  How do you all plan on staying ahead of this potential flat budget environment and keep pace with your current growth trajectory?

Michael Corkery: Sequestration should be a concern for the entire government ecosystem – its effects could be very wide-ranging depending on how it plays out.  However, what’s notable about the current environment is that in some ways, it’s actually bringing companies to us.  Our tools help people win more business, run their business more effectively, maintain compliance, and deliver greater visibility into their financial performance. As contractors win business, today they have to execute the project flawlessly with the contracting environment such as it is with margins being a little bit tighter.
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“With the current audit environment, the DCAA is very active, compliance is very important and financial performance is critical, so companies need our back office tools to keep moving forward. We had a strong Q4 and are off to a good start in 2013.”

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WashingtonExec:  What do you think is the next big technology trend to hit federal IT?

Michael Corkery: I think we are in the midst of that trend right now, and it’s called the Cloud or Software as a Service (SAAS) which has been ongoing for a while. Our cloud offerings have been tremendously successful in the short period of time we have offered them.  I think that will continue.  I think the continued movement to the cloud and leveraging SAAS as a delivery mechanism is something that will extend more broadly than we’ve seen it even in the last 18 to 24 months.  The Government is on the Cloud wave too.

WashingtonExec: You started at Deltek about three years ago.  What drew you to the company?  How do you plan on maintaining the kind of corporate culture that’s currently there?  Are you changing anything?

Michael Corkery: It’s not about changing anything dramatically. I think it’s about maintaining our “customer first” culture. We’ve got a terrific culture that’s been a huge focus of the leadership team and of the entire employee base. We continue to develop and maintain it.  It’s a very vibrant, play to win culture that makes Deltek a really fun place to be. My objective is to make sure that we maintain that as we move forward.

WashingtonExec:  Who have served as your mentors throughout your career?

Michael Corkery: When I was named CEO, I told Kevin Parker, our previous CEO,  that I have learned from the best.  I would put Kevin at the top of my list of personal mentors.  I came here to work for Kevin and without spending three years with Kevin and watching him run this business, there would be a huge gap in my career.
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“I had the opportunity to continue the mission and strategy that [Kevin Parker] set the company on.  Using the great lessons I learned from Kevin is something that I take very seriously.”

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WashingtonExec:  What is something that most people might not know about you?

Michael Corkery: It’s very difficult being a diehard New York Giants fan living in Redskins Country, but, I am a diehard Giants fan.

WashingtonExec:  What was your first job?

Michael Corkery: I worked for the Parks & Recreation’s department in my hometown.  I refereed every kid’s game that you can imagine – soccer to flag football to basketball and also was a baseball umpire.  When I wasn’t refereeing a game, I filled in by painting every building and trash can that awful dark shade of green every summer as well. I did that for three summers when I was in high school.

WashingtonExec:  Do you think it made you the person you are today?

Michael Corkery: That job made me take my college education seriously because some of the guys that I worked with were guys that decided not to take their college education seriously and they were still doing that full time.  I decided that that wasn’t something that I wanted to be doing fifteen years from now.  It helped motivate me to make sure that I focused on what I needed to focus on when I got to college.

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