Invictus Named 2018 GovCon Award Finalist

Jim Kelly

Invictus International Consulting 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 up to $25 million. The winners will be announced at an awards program Nov. 5.

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

Kelly: Invictus specializes in information assurance, cybersecurity services and intelligence analysis for the national security, intelligence and homeland security communities, but our fastest-growing component of our business is cybersecurity. Invictus is competing in an overly crowded cybersecurity marketplace, but in just four years we have disrupted the government landscape and supported several commercial clients.

Within just four short years, Invictus has pivoted to be an award-winning prime contractor for a major intelligence agency, listed on the 2018 Cybersecurity 500 List for being one of the world’s hottest and most innovative companies to watch, and one of five companies awarded a $950 million cybersecurity IDIQ. Invictus currently leads two major United States government contracts with over 20 industry leading cybersecurity partners. We have provided cybersecurity services to clients at the Federal Aviation Administration, Coast Guard, Air Force, Marine Corps, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Department of Education and a major U.S. intelligence agency with cybersecurity engineers supporting work in nine different states and two countries.

For commercial clients, Invictus has conducted security assessments for Wall Street-based investment firms and supported a major Houston-based oil company with penetration testing services. More recently, a New York-based manufacturing firm hired Invictus to identify nontraditional security controls to better align with U.S. government Risk Management Framework guidance. Invictus is on track to be a half-a-billion-dollar company in the next five years based on our business model, pipeline and ability to attract top cyber talent.

WashingtonExec: What was your organization’s largest accomplishment in the last 12 to 18 months?

Kelly: Invictus was one of five companies recently awarded a $950 million shared ceiling IDIQ Agile Cyber Technology 2 Contract for cyber research and development with the Air Force Research Laboratory through its product centers and the operational community.  

We brought together an unmatched team of experts from the intelligence community, commercial cyber market, academia and industrial control systems whose capabilities span operational cyber capability development, active cyber defense technologies, penetration testing, modeling and simulation at a speed and scale that has not yet been realized, and a virtual and live cyber training ground that includes a town in Playas, New Mexico. This is a holistic, cradle-grave, innovative approach to securing our most important assets and infrastructure.

Invictus proposed a new and innovative R&D model/framework for developing and testing cyber capabilities through this USAF contract for customers across the U.S. government and is currently supporting the Marine Corps and Army on this vehicle. This contract vehicle is unique in that it can be rapidly scaled within two weeks of award. It is unheard of for a company of Invictus’ size and tenure to accomplish this.

WashingtonExec: We have seen many large M&A transitions this year. Do you anticipate this will continue in the future?

Kelly: Absolutely. With the current conditions in the corporate world, we anticipate an acceleration in M&A activities. Companies are merging/acquiring to stay ahead of the competition and increase their market share. Companies like Invictus represent a significant penetration of what larger companies consider small business “white space” in their business pipelines. Combined with unique market and customer penetration, small companies like Invictus create unique opportunities for larger companies to gain immediate client access and unique past performance references to compete for larger contracts and expand their market share. This trend among the federal contracting space will continue to rise as mid-size companies who try to compete for awards against the large corporations tend to lean towards the mergers to gain resources and talent for their bids.

WashingtonExec: How is your business involved in the community?

Kelly: Invictus has supported several local and veteran charities and nonprofit organizations.

This year, Invictus had our employees nominate and vote on several charities for an end of year contribution of $25,000. The Invictus family chose to contribute to Mission 22 — a nonprofit organization that is bringing awareness for the 22 veterans a day who take their own life after battling PTSD and other problems that may occur from serving our country. Invictus has financially contributed to other veteran charities in prior years as well and contributes to several other organizations with time and/or money with several examples cited below:

  • Several Invictus employees have volunteered as mentors at a local Boys and Girls Club.
  • Invictus assisted with the reopening of the Charles Houston Recreation Center’s Teen Center in Alexandria, Virginia.
  • Supported Dog Tag, Inc.’s Mock Interview Day at Georgetown University where military veterans practiced interviewing for civilian jobs.
  • Act as a community partner of the Air Force Association to support their CyberPatriot program, which inspires K-12 students to pursue careers in cybersecurity and other STEM fields.
  • Assisting military and government professionals transitioning to civilian life. Invictus’ CEO has assisted with official government transition courses at Bolling AFB for over a decade.
  • Mentoring transitioning service members.

Jim Kelly, Invictus’ CEO, is also very involved in his local parish, donating $100,000 a year to the Catholic church for annual appeals, maintenance and priest education; as well as contributing to the Naval Academy Foundation since 2011. This foundation promotes the values of integrity, honor, loyalty and professionalism and is committed to developing future graduates through exceptional leadership programs (such as the Gettysburg Experience) as well as promoting academic and athletic standards of excellence.

WashingtonExec: Is your business involved in cultivating our local pipeline of young STEM professionals?

Kelly: Invictus has been investing in our future cyber leaders since its founding. Invictus’ Chief Operating Officer Jamie Navarro leads the Air Force Association’s CyberPatriot Vermont program and commits considerable time to organizing, hosting and leading training, competitions and speakers. CyberPatriot is a national youth cyber education program created to motivate students toward careers in cybersecurity and other science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. The program features the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition for high school and middle school students, cyber camps, and an elementary school cyber education initiative.

Invictus has also established an internship program where college students can apply their skills in cyber or business to enhance their technical abilities and learn how to support cyber missions through focused business practices, such as recruiting, contract management, and business development. Invictus has partnerships with Northeastern University, New Mexico Tech and Champlain College and is currently establishing internship partnership with the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and Louisiana Tech. Invictus believes in investing in the future cyber leaders of America and is committed to investing in STEM programs.

WashingtonExec: How has your business been able to grow as the federal market contracts?

Kelly: Invictus’ service offerings center on cybersecurity and information assurance — the demand for which is greater today than ever before. Invictus has established a track record as a business leader in Risk Management Framework and information assurance policy and governance. With contracts in the intelligence community, FAA and the Coast Guard, Invictus has established a model that it is beginning to replicate across federal government customers.  

Invictus has become a uniquely capable small company with a top-level security clearance and a sponsored secure facility, or SCIF, in our new office spaces. We have also delivered unmatched results. For example, Invictus cut in half the time it takes for programs and new technology to be connected to secure networks. We also resolved 100 percent of previously identified Federal Information Security Management Act vulnerabilities — the first time in 12 years this agency has had no identified vulnerabilities. The level of expertise provided has enabled the agency and its 20,000-user enterprise across the globe to now focus on enhanced cyber security and tackling more advanced threats.

The threats to industrial control systems (the backbone of America’s infrastructure) and government networks continues to grow and have become ever more pervasive. Invictus has continued to grow despite operating in a highly crowded, volatile, ever-changing and continuously evolving industry due to a variety of factors — recruiting top talent, remaining agile while scaling to meet security requirements, and developing innovative approaches to address cyber challenges.

From day one, Invictus has attracted some of the most talented in its industry. This has included two former CIOs of large agencies, penetration teams with some of the best hackers available, and senior cyber experts that formed USCYBERCOM or had major roles in commercial companies. Our combination of personnel with intelligence, IA/cybersecurity, and consulting experience with individuals who have extensive military/defense backgrounds creates a unique value proposition for clients. As a result, these remarkable individuals and their skill sets have made Invictus extremely successful.

Remaining competitive in this marketplace requires a multifaceted approach to providing innovative solutions to the most complex security issues. Invictus has done this by bringing together an unmatched team of experts from the intelligence community, academia and industrial control systems whose capabilities span penetration testing, research and development, scaled modeling and simulations, and real-world cyber exercises and training.  This is a holistic, cradle-grave, innovative approach to securing our most important assets and infrastructure.

WashingtonExec: What is your organization’s growth plan over the next three to five years?

Kelly: Invictus’ growth goals continue to be exponential as we expand our RMF Framework to other customers, rapidly grow into the cyber operations research and development market with our ACT2 contract and further expand into intelligence analysis with the Solutions for Intelligence Analysis 3 contract — a 10-year, $17.2 billion contract supporting defense intelligence clients globally.

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

Kelly: When Invictus first started, the government contracting marketplace was focused on Low Price Technically Acceptable awards — an acquisition strategy that does not meet the growing and complex cybersecurity threats. Invictus has had to carefully select contract vehicles and clients where top talent and best value acquisition strategies were paramount to protecting this nation. It has been very challenging and a constantly changing environment, but our approach has adapted as different clients have a wide variety of acquisition challenges to meet their goals and objectives to accomplish their mission. As we expand, our management of employees and supporting career growth has also had to adapt and grow.  We have been able to build partnerships with companies like AWS and Dell, support career development training for employees and have even been able to support the relocation of several employees to other areas of the country and world when their personal goals aligned with our customer requirements.

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