E3 Federal Solutions 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 $75 million and $300 million. The winners will be announced at an awards program Nov. 5.
WashingtonExec spoke with founder and CEO Everett Johnson about E3’s biggest recent achievement, the company’s approach to employee engagement and millennials, and how the business has been able to grow.
WashingtonExec: What is your organization’s growth plan over the next three to five years?
Johnson: E3’s plan is to double in size within the next five years. We will continue expanding into technical support areas within the Department of Defense, specifically our systems engineering and technical assistance services, by focusing on the areas of research and development and science and technology. We also plan to drive efficiencies in our program management support services as we further develop our data-driven decision-making and data visualization capabilities, which enable our clients to achieve operational excellence.
WashingtonExec: How has your business been able to grow as the federal market contracts?
Johnson: E3 is very consistent and disciplined in our business development and capture process. We have put a lot of focus on effectively leveraging resources and are structured in where we decide to pursue new business to maximize our chance of winning. Our approach is systematic and rigorous, but we are also flexible and willing to adapt to the changing marketplace. Our business development and capture process, along with consistent delivery excellence, has really helped us do well in a challenging market.
WashingtonExec: What is the fastest-growing component of your business?
Johnson: Our defense market has been the fastest between organic growth and new business. In just five years, our revenue more than quadrupled within the defense division, which also includes about 40 percent of our current workforce. Our work at the Department of Defense also led to the establishment of E3’s Systems Engineering and Technical Assistance solution offering, which covers a wide range of technical and support capabilities. This has allowed E3 to leverage subject matter expertise in both the defense and homeland security markets while expanding our ability to contribute to national security missions across multiple agencies.
WashingtonExec: What was your organization’s largest accomplishment in the last 12 to 18 months?
Johnson: This one is easy — winning the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Technical and Analytical Support Services as one of seven awardees was a huge accomplishment for E3. This is a completely unrestricted IDIQ valued at $850 million where we were the only non-incumbent company to win. It really showed us that we can compete effectively in the unrestricted environment with very formidable competitors and established us a strong up-and-coming mid-tier firm. We’re looking forward to winning work on the task orders as they are released, but this IDIQ win was a really big deal for E3.
WashingtonExec: Given today’s government contracting marketplace, how has your organization’s approach to customers, employees and future customers changed?
Johnson: To a large degree, our approach to customers, employees and future customers hasn’t changed much, but we’ve been able to successfully maintain a relentless focus on connecting and supporting our employees as they develop the skills, capabilities and tools that actually matter to our clients. We empower our employees to solve our customers’ challenges while improving efficiency, saving money, streamlining processes and more. Our goal is to make a real difference to our clients and to add real value. Our belief is that clients want their challenges to be solved in a meaningful way, and for E3, we’ve been able to be successful in a competitive marketplace by taking that approach.
WashingtonExec: How does your organization encourage employee engagement?
Johnson: We focus on cultivating the “E3 family” by getting to know employees at all levels of the organization. We host networking events at various locations, get senior executives out to project sites, and host trainings to share knowledge across the company. In addition to that, we give people a way to engage across projects and technical areas to learn skills in a way you can’t at other companies. We want to encourage people to have a career at E3, and although it’s challenging at times, we are working toward fostering that environment where people can be involved in growing in the business. That sets us apart from other employers.
WashingtonExec: Have millennials entering the workforce changed your company’s strategic plans or corporate policies? If so, how?
Johnson: Millennials haven’t changed our actual strategic priorities, but they have changed how we execute them. They’ve made us more collaborative in how we approach things and solve problems, how quickly we promote employees, and how we give employees opportunities to stretch into new areas. Also, millennials have really changed how we let people work — we encourage remote work whenever it’s possible, which allows employees to have more flexibility as we leverage technology (such as Skype).
WashingtonExec: How is your business involved in the community?
Johnson: Shortly after E3 was established in 2004, an employee-run philanthropic program was established called E3 Cares. Over the years, the list of philanthropic programs E3 supports continues growing; employees have volunteered to support several organizations, including: the Virginia Special Olympics with the Dulles Plane Pull and the Polar Plunge Festival; the Children’s National Medical Center’s Adopt-a-Family Program; the Honor Flight Network as they welcome veterans who are flying into D.C. to visit war memorials; National Wreaths Across America at various cemeteries across the U.S.; and much more. This program has been hugely successful at E3 and is something that sets us apart from the rest.