A Conversation with 2018 GovCon Awards Finalist Doug Duenkel

Knight Point Systems, LLC is among the finalists for the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce and Professional Service Council’s annual GovCon Awards in the $75 million to $300 million category. The winners will be announced at the awards program Nov. 5. 

WashingtonExec spoke with Knight Point President and Chief Operating Officer Douglas Duenkel about the company’s growth, community involvement and plans for the future.

WashingtonExec: What’s your organization’s growth plan over the next 3-5 years?

Douglas Duenkel, COO of KnightPoint

Doug Duenkel, Knight Point Systems

Duenkel: To answer that question, I actually need to go back in time a bit. In 2012, Knight Point embarked on a 10-year growth plan called “10X.” At the time, the company revenues were $40 million, and the goal was to grow 10 times in 10 years to over $400 million by 2022.

Our belief was that growing two times was significantly harder than growing 10 times. The reason for that is our belief that growing twice as much generally means working twice as hard. Growing 10 times requires you to reevaluate everything — and that’s what we do for our strategic planning. Growing 10 times means thinking backward and recognizing what you would have to do meet significantly escalating revenue numbers. You’ll think about how to become more efficient, what will be impacting the landscape years from now, and how to best use your unique resources.

A number of important Knight Point efforts have come out of this, including our Horizon platform in 2014, our pension and profit-sharing plan in 2015, and our Knight Point Academy for training in 2018. It’s a lofty goal, and 27 percent compound annual growth rate means big numbers each year in terms of growth, but we are on track and executing.

WashingtonExec: What’s the fastest-growing component of your business?

Duenkel: It would be difficult to give a definitive answer on this as most of the solutions we provide are interrelated. You see, our platform offering, Horizon, is an end-to-end digital services solution. We focus on modernizing technology, protecting critical resources, and transforming the experience. All of those end-to-end services support our customer, whether they are using traditional architectures or moving to the cloud.

We’ve been very blessed to have large contracts awarded for cybersecurity, data center services and application development — all of those part of massive cloud architectures. And that’s an important point, you need to build apps to get to the cloud, provide infrastructure services to manage them, and then protect them from data breach. We intertrain our employees on all of these technologies, which provides us with incredible resources for the government at the right time.

WashingtonExec: Given today’s government contracting marketplace, how has your organization’s approach to customers, employees and future customers changed?

Duenkel: Knight Point’s overall approach to our customers and employees has not changed. We are very aware of the seriousness of our business and that it is composed of people providing solutions to meet business needs. As we state in our Quality Management System, we’re committed to exceeding customer expectations through flawless execution, dedication to excellence, and focus on continual improvement. It’s truly the reason that we’ve had 13 years of uninterrupted growth.

What has changed in the last few years is our belief that everything we deliver comes from the customer’s mission. We’ve changed our organizational structure to adhere to that. Although our core competencies are very, very strong, it’s how you can use those competencies to meet the mission. That intersection is providing us with better opportunities to support the government.

WashingtonExec: How’s your business involved in the community?

Duenkel: We started Knight Point because we wanted a place where people felt that they were part of something special; something bigger than themselves. As a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Company that opened its door during the height of our nation’s efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, our focus has been on giving back to the veteran community because that is where our CEO had the most passion. We have supported the Semper Fi Fund, Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, sponsored outings for patients at Walter Reed, the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team, the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund, and the Folded Flag Foundation just to name a few.

We also knew that as we expanded outside of the D.C. area, we needed to be involved in our communities and started a philanthropic program where individual programs could present plans to “give back” and the home office would fund their efforts. We have supported the Ronald McDonald House in Salt Lake City through our group in Ogden, supported vision-saving surgery for a security guard in Stennis, Mississippi, and most recently an outing for our folks in Chesapeake, Virginia, to buy, wrap, and deliver gifts for Christmas for underprivileged children in their area.

If you can’t already tell, this is a passion for our company and the folks who started it. We build our corporate social responsibility into the fabric of our organization and highlight those efforts on an ongoing basis through inclusion in quarterly meetings and our quarterly newsletter. One of our initiatives is the recognition of a Knight Point Systems volunteer of the quarter. But that’s a boring name, so we called this the Knight in Shining Armor award.

We have so many folks at Knight Point Systems that are doing great things; we wanted to be able to share that news across the organization and highlight the great things that folks are doing in their communities to enhance the lives of others and give back. This program runs in conjunction with our quarterly all hands meetings and is announced along with our other corporate awards for performance, “Standing Ovation” and “4C Award” winners. The difference in this program is that a $500 check is sent to the charity that the winner of the Knight in Shining Armor award serves.

We even build social responsibility into our holiday celebrations every year. Hero Dogs is a Maryland nonprofit that improves quality of life for our nation’s heroes by raising, training and placing service dogs and highly skilled canines free of charge with lifetime support of the partnerships. For the last three years, we have had Jack and Boomer, dogs that KPS sponsored, sell raffle tickets for prizes at our holiday gala — the amount they sold we then matched for a total donation on over $7,000 dollars at our last event.

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