AbleVets LLC is among the finalists for the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce and Professional Services Council’s annual Greater Washington Government Contractor Awards in the Contractor of the Year category for companies between $25 million and $75 million. The winners will be announced at an awards program Nov. 5.
WashingtonExec spoke with CEO Dr. Wyatt Smith about the AbleVets’ growth and accomplishments, employee engagement, and the larger GovCon marketplace.
WashingtonExec: What was your organization’s largest accomplishment in the last 12 to 18 months?
Smith: AbleVets’ biggest accomplishment is helping the government transform the way veteran healthcare is coordinated, secured and delivered. Our efforts to optimize Department of Veterans Affairs mobile apps have helped expand veteran healthcare access with online transactions now up over 4,000 percent since we started on the project.
We’ve also led development efforts for VA applications that provide integrated views of health data from disparate systems across VA, Defense Department and others. We’re helping to optimize VA’s contact centers by incorporating a human-centered design that will transform the veteran experience. Our enterprise cybersecurity services help VA better safeguard its networks, systems and the information they contain.
Adding to these efforts, Cerner recently selected AbleVets as a core small business partner in the creation of a longitudinal electronic health record for veterans. Our team will be contributing technical and program management capabilities in support of this important and imperative effort.
WashingtonExec: Given today’s government contracting marketplace, how has your organization’s approach to customers, employees and future customers changed?
Smith: Rapid and expansive change is the norm in today’s marketplace. The AbleVets approach is characterized by the ability to perceive change and apply new thinking, creative approaches and advanced technologies to solve clients’ problems. We do so by hiring great talent, individuals who are thought leaders in their field, serve as trusted advisers to our clients and keep AbleVets at the forefront of the industry and innovation. Our continuous delivery pipeline is a prime example, allowing us to deliver new software features to users as quickly, reliably, securely and efficiently as possible. In this environment of change, two aspects of the AbleVets approach remain unchanged: our client-centric way of working and our deep-rooted commitment to the health and security of veterans and servicemembers.
WashingtonExec: How has your business been able to grow as the federal market contracts?
Smith: While our business focus on health care access and delivery for veterans is a government priority, we like to think our growth is a direct result of our client-centric approach characterized by needs identification and quality solution development on time and within budget. We pride ourselves on tackling some of the most complex project efforts within VA and solving them in ways that exceed customers’ expectations. In so doing, we’ve established a reputation for excellence that yields repeat customers and creates new business opportunities.
WashingtonExec: What’s the fastest-growing component of your business?
Smith: We’ve seen the largest growth in cybersecurity, which plays a major role in health care systems development, integration and modernization. However, software engineering, a core capability, and electronic health record modernization are not far behind.
WashingtonExec: How does your organization maintain engagement with all levels of employees?
Smith: Our culture emphasizes service, quality and continual learning. As a fast-growing company, we foster an inclusive, entrepreneurial environment where employees are emboldened to ideate freely and make positive changes. Our CEO hosts frequent sessions with small groups of employees to discuss areas where AbleVets can improve; then he acts on good suggestions. The entire executive team practices an open-door policy that assures accessibility, whether to share new ideas or concerns.
Employees are empowered to teach, train, test and lead efforts such as sandbox environments that allow developers to experiment with new technologies and ideas; “Communities of Interest” discussions on business, technology and social trends; and employee resource groups that promote professional development and community outreach efforts.
Our culture of service also engages employees in numerous opportunities to give back to the veteran community and next-generation technologists, from leading clothing drives to coaching school-age coding clubs. These efforts, combined with formal and informal channels such as all-hands, global manager calls, local lunches, socials and family fun days, help engage and align employees to our veteran mission.