On Sept. 4, the finalists for this year’s Greater Washington Government Contractor Awards were announced and WashingtonExec is bringing you its annual series with the nominees.
The winners will be unveiled on Nov. 13 at The Ritz Carlton in Tysons Corner by the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce and the Professional Services Council. With more than 1,000 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.
Our next interview is with NetCentrics Corp. Founder, President and CEO Bob Dougherty. NetCentrics Corp. is a finalist in the “Contractor of the Year” $25 million to $75 million category.
WashingtonExec: How would you describe your business strategy over the past 3-5 years, and what is your organization’s plan for growth over the next 3-5 years?
Bob Dougherty: NetCentrics’ business strategy during the past 3-5 years has been to place an emphasis on our small business prime contracts and our IDIQ’s. We developed great relationships with our customers and business partners and honor our word and agreements to maintain those relationships. Internally, we built a strong foundation of people and management processes. We hire the best and bring them into our culture focused on high performance and on taking care of our people. We use the rigor of industry standards such as ISO 9001, ISO 20000 and CMMI Level 3 to validate our processes and continue to improve.
As we move forward and graduate from small business into the large business full and open competitions, our growth plan centers on leveraging these strengths with additional capabilities offered by our new parent company, Haystax Technology. Acquisition into Haystax provides a tremendous advantage in our size and capabilities to compete, and offer latest technologies in cloud computing, data analytics and cyber security to position our company for greater success.
NetCentrics is committed to applying creative thinking, imaginative engineering, innovative technology and thoughtful leadership to improve the quality of life. We donate. We get involved.
WashingtonExec: How has your business been able to grow as the federal market contracts?
Bob Dougherty: Our growth has come from winning significant IDIQ contracts and winning task orders on those contracts. We perform well on those tasks which positions us to win additional tasks and develop more opportunities. We also train our staff to help identify and grow opportunities. Growth comes in winning big contracts, as well as growing the ones we have.
WashingtonExec: What is the fastest growing component of your business?
Bob Dougherty: Government contracting IT, specifically cyber security services, continue to be the fastest growing component of our business.
WashingtonExec: What was your organization’s largest accomplishment in the last 12-18 months?
Bob Dougherty: Within the government contracting space, we have had several significant wins and performance improvements on the NIEITS and Coast Guard Cyber Security contracts. Internally, continuing to stay true to our core values, which takes a concentrated effort as our company grows, but is what makes us different from many of the other government contractors around the Beltway.
WashingtonExec: Given the current state of the federal contracting market, how has your organization’s marketing approach to customers, employees and future customers changed?
Bob Dougherty: We focus on two basic elements at all times: performance excellence and relationships. We strive to demonstrate performance excellence at all levels, contract execution, program management, corporate services (HR, IT, contracts, finance, etc.) and relationships with our customers, vendors, partners and employees. We train our staff how to develop relationships with their customers and require a monthly demonstration of these efforts to insure it maintains focus. We are careful on our selection of vendors and partners and treat them as the valuable extension of our business that they are.
The most important relationship we invest in for our future success is our employees. We firmly believe that if we take care of our staff, they will take care of our customers, and we will all benefit. We work at both performance excellence and relationships on a continual basis to insure we are not just saying it, but we are living it.
WashingtonExec: What are the largest challenges that you predict your business will face in the next 5 years?
Bob Dougherty: We have joined many other companies who have grown out of the small business category into the large business one. It’s a tough market out there; competition is greater, and competitors are well established. In addition, smaller opportunities that larger companies would have passed on in the past, are no longer too small. In a world of shrinking budgets and reduced opportunities, we are running into competitors who weren’t there before. Additionally, security threats will continue to increase and evolve. We will need to maintain our ability to hire the best and brightest and continue to maintain our lead in cyber security.
WashingtonExec: How does your organization maintain engagement with all levels of employees?
Bob Dougherty: We truly treat our employees like family from their first day to their last, if they leave us. We have a full day of orientation on their first day and immediately bring them into the fold. Then monthly, our executive team invites them to an orientation focused on how NetCentrics evolved which sets the backdrop on our Core Values which we live by.
This is where our employees will hear from the founders, “If your son or daughter has a ball game – be there. Work with your manager to get the time.” We build our company programs, policies and procedures around these Core Values and focus on the employee. We acknowledge the important events in their lives with a handwritten note from the President on a birthday card, or a congratulatory note and $500 check for the birth or adoption of a child, or a marriage or commitment ceremony. Daily, we send an email to the company celebrating individual anniversaries and birthdays. We hold events such as picnics, holiday parties and charity events that include our employee’s families.
We focus on communication by holding quarterly “All Hands” meetings that are themed and highlight our staff and their accomplishments on different contracts and allow the organization to provide information across the company. We also use our version of Pinterest — called Slate — which allows individuals to share information or post fun things for all to see. We have Circles of Interest to bring individuals together around a common interest such as charity involvement (Our Goody Two Shoes), cyber security (Our Cyber Savers), rewards and recognition (Our Rock Stars), microcontrollers (uCon) etc.
We make a concentrated effort to provide our staff with quality competitive benefits and continually look to make improvements. We promote innovation and encourage learning. We have tuition and training assistance, monthly lunch and learns and are currently tweaking how we use our “Accelerator” – a place where staff can work on ideas and innovate with resources and support for a period of time. We make NetCentrics the place our employees want to work.
WashingtonExec: Have millennials entering the workforce changed your corporate policies? If so, how?
Bob Dougherty: NetCentrics’ core values are already in-line with the millennial worldview. For example, millennials value their family and personal time, as does NetCentrics. NetCentrics encourages their staff to do things right for their customers, staff and families. Millennials have a low tolerance for poor work conditions – NetCentrics does what they can to create positive work environments by not tolerating politics and expecting that the staff respect each other and their customers. Additionally, NetCentrics places high value on continual improvement; millennials do as well. Millennials’ desire to feel challenged and like that they are growing and contributing – and we give them those opportunities.
NetCentrics as a company uses the term “family” to describe their workforce. Millennials are looking for a family-feel at work, and NetCentrics does just that.
WashingtonExec: How is your business involved in the community?
Bob Dougherty: NetCentrics is committed to applying creative thinking, imaginative engineering, innovative technology and thoughtful leadership to improve the quality of life. We donate. We get involved. This commitment has led to 11 years of working with The V Foundation for Cancer Research, and our second year of working with The ESPY Celebrity Golf Classic donating thousands of hours, customized software, training and services to help in the planning and execution of the individual events.
We’ve done multiple food drives for local food pantry’s and to address specific needs, such as Easter baskets of food for homebound elderly. We have collected backpacks and schools supplies for local schools and dressed children for their first day of school.
Our teams have participated in activities to support Relay for Life, Able Forces, Shootout for Soldiers, Luke’s Wings, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, SOME, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, American Cancer Society and several others.
In addition, our leadership is active in Women’s Veteran’s Interactive. Our most recent event was a companywide management ALS challenge which had 31 participants and resulted in a donation of more than $3,500.