WashingtonExec Series: Want To Be GovCon Executive Of The Year?
The finalists for this year’s Greater Washington Government Contractor Awards were announced in September and WashingtonExec is bringing you its annual series with the nominees.
The winners will be unveiled on November 7th at The Ritz Carlton in Tysons Corner by the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce (FCCC), the Professional Services Council (PSC) and Washington Technology magazine. With over 900 business and public sector leaders attending the event, our series will keep you up-to-date about all the finalists for this year–who they are, what they do, and why they are worthy of winning.
Today’s interview is with Sid Fuchs, President and CEO of MacAulay-Brown, Inc. (MacB). Fuchs is nominated for “Executive of the Year” and MacB is nominated for “Contractor of the Year”. Both nominations are for the greater than $300 million category.
WashingtonExec: As a leader in the community, how have you approached the Government shutdown?
Sid Fuchs: To be perfectly honest, we began preparing for the storm a few years ago. We could see the trend lines due to LPTA, Small Business set asides, sequestration, etc. The shutdown, while not a complete surprise, created downward pressure and uncertainty in an already chaotic market. As we prepared for the shutdown, we were in constant contact with our customers and were fortunate to have almost all MacB positions deemed essential. Our main goal during the shutdown was to take care of any impacted employees and communicate frequently on what resources and options were available.
WashingtonExec: What is your 2014 market outlook for the federal contracting community? Where are you seeing areas for growth?
Sid Fuchs: As I speak to my peers in the defense contracting community, I’m hearing a consistent theme: 2014 is anything but predictable. Uncertainty looms as sequestration cuts continue and the Continuing Resolution and debt ceiling extensions remain unresolved. However, this does not mean there are not areas for growth. Programs that focus on mission critical requirements especially in the Intelligence, Special Operations and Homeland Security communities will continue to thrive. Contractors who are flexible, work in markets with high barriers to entry, and are able to provide more with less will be the most successful in this environment.
“To be perfectly honest, we began preparing for the storm a few years ago. We could see the trend lines due to LPTA, Small Business set asides, sequestration, etc. The shutdown, while not a complete surprise, created downward pressure and uncertainty in an already chaotic market.”
WashingtonExec: How does your company identify and then cultivate high-potential employees to become leaders in your organization?
Sid Fuchs: Leadership training is a priority at MacB. I am personally involved in the mentorship of the senior staff and management team, focusing on relationship building, business strategy and results. We hold a formal leadership conference, every 18 months to focus the team on strategic growth and leadership. I also hold quarterly conference calls with all managers to relay metrics, analyze our situation, and dialogue with them on corrective measures. The lessons learned from the on-going mentoring and the conference are passed on to direct reports through formal and informal leadership development sessions. I believe in a “train the trainer” model, so I require that my direct reports include mentoring of their employees as part of their responsibilities.
WashingtonExec: What trends are you seeing that are important to your customers?
Sid Fuchs: Despite the current fiscal environment and uncertainty, our customers still have a mission to complete. They are looking for partners who are responsive, flexible and able to provide the innovation that not only meet their current challenges, but also future needs. They are, of course, sensitive to budget pressures and are looking for contractors who can utilize a number of contract vehicles to support their needs. Regardless of the budget situation, the missions continue and we must be able to respond quickly and appropriately.
WashingtonExec: What is your company’s biggest accomplishment in the last 12-18 months?
Sid Fuchs: In the past year and a half, we have had many successes that we can point to – acquisitions, contract wins, internal promotions, new facilities in key markets, acquiring talent, awards and certifications. I like to think in terms of a body of work, a portfolio if you will, instead of individual items. We are clearly a much more focused, healthy, and assertive company than we were a few years ago, and the results support that claim.
“I believe in a “train the trainer” model, so I require that my direct reports include mentoring of their employees as part of their responsibilities.”
WashingtonExec: How is your company involved in the community?
Sid Fuchs: Service is engrained in the culture at MacB. Throughout the organization, our employees look for ways to give back to the community. Much of our focus is on supporting the men and women who have been wounded in Iraq, Afghanistan or as part of the Global War on Terrorism. Through the Wounded Warrior Foundation, Special Operations Warrior Foundation, CIA Memorial Foundation and Operation Second Chance, we donate time and money to provide much needed medical devices, counseling services and scholarships for children who have lost a parent. In addition, we support the following organizations through volunteer work, sponsorships or monetary contributions: American Heart Association, Hurricane Sandy Relief Effort, Blue Star Mothers, Special Olympics, Make-A-Wish Foundation, local food and clothing drives in the Dayton and Washington, D.C. areas and other local charities.