OGSystems 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 Chief Growth Officer Aarish Gokaldas about OGSystems’ success and what is on the horizon.
WashingtonExec: What’s your organization’s growth plan over the next three to five years?
Gokaldas: Our growth plan is to continue dominating and innovating in our core geospatial, defense and intelligence engineering, and threat operations markets. We focus on mission-facing work almost exclusively, as that tends to be stickier, with more demanding customers and more opportunities to change the nature of analysis or the systems that produce it.
Where we aren’t doing the analysis building those systems, we only go for work where we can have an automation, a data science, or process improvement angle. We have a disciplined and targeted roadmap to extend these capabilities over the next five years, and are projecting to continue our 25 percent compound annual growth rate over this time period.
WashingtonExec: How has your business been able to grow as the federal market contracts?
Gokaldas: Past performance and customer referrals. Outside the OGS CEO’s office is a quote etched into the glass wall: “Do your job plus a little more, and the future will take care of itself.” Our company motto is “Own the Outcome,” which means take personal responsibility and find a way to improve whatever it is that you are working on.
We are coming out of an LPTA era in a couple key markets, and customers are looking for value and innovation, and when we have stats like 100 percent green on Performance Based Contracts and >99 percent staffed on SOW-based contracts, that word travels. Customers know they are getting a company that will do what they say they are going to do, will not drop any balls in transition, and will add mission innovation within 90 days.
WashingtonExec: What’s the fastest-growing component of your business?
Gokaldas: Machine learning and artificial intelligence. In every sector where we’ve had success, it has been in implementing innovation on business practices and workflows commonly accepted as “the way things have always been done.” While they are rarely written into government requirements or requests for proposals, ML and AI — and their potential to deliver process improvement and automation — lend themselves to any domain where we focus, including but not limited to geospatial, threat and intel operations and C4ISR.
WashingtonExec: What was your organization’s largest accomplishment in the last 12 to 18 months?
Gokaldas: OGSystems’ greatest achievement is solving our customers’ hardest problems and delivering mission impact in areas thought untouchable by innovation. We identified a security services client with a paper-based problem that could use the same data analysis, IT modernization and geospatial visualization capabilities we have built for our core customers in the past. We used process improvement and automation driven by our Immersive EngineeringTM framework and began immediately creating impact for our customer.
Within the first 90 days on contract, we improved the End-to-End Security Clearance Timeline by 23 percent. In Q2 FY18, our efforts paid off even more by increasing throughput capacity by an additional 27 percent in just one quarter, leading to an overall improvement of 50 percent when compared to Q3/Q4 FY17. Timely processing allows our customer to put people into the mission space, and our work directly supports the customer’s ability to do the mission and address needs of policymakers and the warfighter.
WashingtonExec: How does your organization encourage employee engagement?
Gokaldas: OGSystems’ culture is rooted in a desire to effect change and create something better. We embrace the risk of doing things differently, and it is evident as soon as you walk through our doors. Instead of putting out memos, our leadership regularly communicates through weekly videos, keeping employees informed and praising those who have gone above and beyond.
We also provide onboarding and mentoring programs to help employees establish better relationships that increase job satisfaction, clarify expectations and objectives to improve performance, and encourage commitment and employee engagement. Additionally, we regularly engage with our employees with food truck events, happy hours and team building events such as the FIT Company Challenge.
WashingtonExec: Have millennials entering the workforce changed your company’s strategic plans or corporate policies? If so, how?
Gokaldas: All OGS employees are valued and encouraged, regardless of age or tenure with the company. As an OGS employee, you can always count on leadership advocating for your ability to drive change in your projects on your very first day. We value a diverse workforce and recognize the need to evolve with it. We prioritize providing opportunities to make an impact and self-directed growth opportunities as well as consistently seeking feedback to improve our employees’ experience.
WashingtonExec: How’s your business involved in the community?
Gokaldas: OGSystems understands the importance of giving back to our community. On a yearly basis, we support multiple charitable organizations to help community members in need, and local schools to help nurture the love of science and technology.
In 2017, we donated nearly $30,000 to the American Red Cross, Samaritan’s Purse and several local charities to support victims of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. For the 2017 holiday season, we supported Our Neighbor’s Child, a nonprofit, community-based organization that is in their 26th season coordinating holiday assistance by providing holiday gifts for children in low-income families in western Fairfax County. OGSystems donated toys to 30 families in support of this charity. Additionally, the women of OGSystems group donated $300 to the Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter as well as dedicated time to its career counseling and resume writing programs.
WashingtonExec: Is your business involved in cultivating our local pipeline of young STEM professionals?
Gokaldas: OGSystems is a platinum sponsor of Sliding Doors: STEM & Dyslexia Learning Center, a school program that provides both remediation in reading and enrichment in STEM to students with dyslexia in grades one through fourth. We donated $5,000 to organize a STEM activity for their STEM-A-Palooza event in March 2017. In the past, OGSystems sponsored the Bull Run Middle School Robotics team’s travel to the VEX Robotics World Championship in California.