Being Cost-Competitive in a Cost-Cutting Environment : TeraThink President and CEO Paul Lombardi Leads with Agility

Paul Lombardi, President & CEO, TeraThink

Paul Lombardi, President & CEO, TeraThink

Paul Lombardi is the President and CEO of TeraThink Corporation (TeraThink), a leading information technology and management consulting firm that provides enterprise solution management and integration services to the federal government. As President and CEO, he oversees all aspects of the organization and provides complete leadership to the firm, furnishing overall company direction.

In addition to his work at TeraThink, Lombardi is an active member in the Virginia Tech Intelligence and Defense Executive Alumni (VT-IDEA) Association and serves on the Virginia Tech Student Advisory Board. Washington Exec recently spoke with Lombardi in which he discussed the current budget climate in the federal contracting community, shared his thoughts on TeraThink’s transition into the unrestricted market and discussed his deep connection to his alma mater, Virginia Tech.

Lombardi began his career in the 1990s at a time when a variety of start-ups were just beginning to blossom into well-developed businesses. During that time, he took an opportunity to get involved in an entrepreneurial setting where he was given the opportunity to work in a federal-focused consultancy and learn how to build a company in the federal space.

“I loved the speed, agility, flexibility and opportunity to learn so much more about different aspects of business,” Lombardi recalled. “That was when I knew I was going to start my own firm one day.”

Lombardi started TeraThink as a side project in the basement of his family home in 2002. He turned his full attention to building TeraThink in 2006 when his former company was acquired. TeraThink has since been named one of the fastest growing companies in the country according to Inc. Magazine’s Inc. “500” list for the past five years, and is currently ranked #995.

Today, Lombardi must navigate an unpredictable budget climate.

Budget constraints are affecting every company in our space right now and we are no different,” Lombardi said. “We’ve seen a little bit of a lull, especially since the shutdown, however also found opportunity. Operating in this environment is definitely an exciting challenge.”

He believes it is TeraThink’s lean infrastructure and agility that have allowed the company to be cost competitive.

“Our customers have recognized this agility and it’s opened up new opportunities for the company,” Lombardi said. “For example, a defense customer needed a financial application solution implemented very quickly and there was a lot of push back from one of the agencies it was procuring from. We maneuvered effectively and identified an alternative approach to accelerate the time to launch in just three weeks, and for a fraction of the cost.”

In addition to his work at TeraThink, Lombardi is an active member in the Virginia Tech VT-IDEA program and serves on the Virginia Tech Student Advisory Board.

“Virginia Tech is a phenomenal school and I truly believe that it is cultivating the next generation of our leaders,” Lombardi stated. “This is one of the reasons why I’ve taken such a strong role in getting involved with the school. An added bonus has been meeting and building relationships with other alumni.”

VT-IDEA is a networking opportunity to learn about the innovation that is coming out of the university and to engage with some leaders from government and the surrounding contracting industry.

Lombardi has also taken an active role in the Leadership Tech Program, which grooms and prepares students to be effective in business after they graduate. As part of his involvement, Lombardi has facilitated sessions to allow students to speak and interact with the leadership team at TeraThink.

“It just blows me away at how ambitious, intelligent, energetic and professional they are at such a young age,” Lombardi said. “The students have the opportunity to learn about TeraThink and our industry, and we have access to the best and brightest that the school has to offer. It’s really been a pleasure and a mutually beneficial relationship.”

Looking forward to the future, Lombardi believes the push toward the adoption of shared service provider (SSP) environments across agencies will continue in 2014.

“There is an opportunity to gain efficiencies and reduce cost by consolidating these environments through the implementation and integration of “edge applications,” and by making better decisions through information management and analytics capability,” Lombardi said.

TeraThink will continue to prepare its transition out of the small business designation and into the unrestricted market in 2014. The company’s early investment in a scalable infrastructure has allowed it to operate as a much larger organization and successfully win contracts against many household names.

I’m very excited about what’s ahead of us and confident that we can successfully compete in unrestricted space,” Lombardi stated. “I always liked what I did, but it wasn’t until TeraThink that I truly appreciated my work. I’ve learned a great deal since the days in my basement and I can say unequivocally that I’ve enjoyed the journey.”

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