Bill Milligan has always been interested in numbers, even when he was a child. The interest, he said, came from his father, who was a statistician.
“I focused on finance and economics when I went to college and picked up accounting, which had a strong job market,” he said.
That led to a 30-year career in financial management, including 20 years as chief financial officer for some rapidly growing companies. Most recently, he was with cyber and IT solutions company Capstone Corp., which focuses on military and federal defense clients.
Currently, Milligan is working as a financial and management consultant to small- and mid-sized government contractors as chief financial officer services.
“My services focus on competitive pricing, financial planning and analysis, budgeting and forecasting, and mergers and acquisitions,” he said.
Milligan has been in his current role since 2015. Before that, he spent time as a chief financial officer for various companies from 1990 to 2015. He feels his greatest career accomplishments have been the sale of MRJ Technology Solutions to Veridian Corp. in 2000 and the sale of High Performance Technologies to Dynamics Resource Corp. in 2012.
“Although the sales were huge accomplishments, the real story is about the teamwork in growing MRJ organically from $27 million to $150 million and from growing HPTi from $22 million to $108 million,” he said.
Much of Milligan’s career has focused on government contracting business, and he spent about 10 years each working at MRJ and HPTi. Milligan attributes his successes with MRJ and HPTi to a couple of strategies.
“It’s competitive procurements, so I spent a lot of my time focusing on pricing and trying to figure out how to win—and it turned out we did pretty well at doing that,” he said. “It takes the right price, but it also takes the right approach.
“You have to learn how to win those contracts. Some people focus on price, which I don’t think makes sense, and some people focus more on the processes and the performance areas. But it really takes all of those things together to get a winning bid. You don’t win them all, but the more you win, the better you do.”
Milligan said his career shift has allowed him to continue working with “exciting teams focused on solving important problems.”
“I do miss the daily interactions, as consulting can be intermittent,” he added.
At some point, he would still like to join a company as chief financial officer “to help grow one last company.”
Milligan said he moved to his current role to at least temporarily take a step back.
“I wanted to spend more time with my wife traveling nationally to see all 50 states, and internationally,” he said. “At the same time, I feel too young to not work. I felt consulting was the best approach.”
Recently, he and his wife have traveled to Savannah, Georgia; Charleston, South Carolina; Nashville, Tennessee; and Miami, Florida. They have two grown children who live in Philadelphia and San Francisco, respectively.
A former lacrosse player, Milligan spends a significant portion of his spare time refereeing local games.
“I was not the most accomplished player and spent a lot of time on the bench,” he said. “The important part was that I learned a lot listening to the coaches. When I moved to Virginia, there were not a lot of coaches familiar with the game. I coached youth league for 10 years.
“I became a referee 15 years ago with the understanding that I use my ref pay to pay for grass cutting. I would much rather referee a game than cut my grass.”
He also enjoys reading.
“I am a big fan of David Baldacci, a Virginia native and author,” he said. “I counted 13 of his books in my bookcase. He focuses on spy and intelligent agency stories. My favorite is ‘The Escape.’”
What’s something about him most people don’t know?
“My wife and I were born in the same hospital, baptized by the same priest, and have lived in the DMV our entire lives,” Milligan said.