Semi-Retired Joe Martore Reflects on Career, CALIBRE, Growth

Joe Martore, CALIBRE

Joe Martore, CALIBRE

Former CALIBRE CEO Joe Martore left a string of accolades and a generation of up-and-coming leaders in the wake of his nearly 40 years in government contracting.

Now semi-retired, Martore recently spoke with WashingtonExec about the growth of CALIBRE during his tenure as well as his current focus on board and volunteer work, and the woman-owned company through which he provides consulting services. 

He also currently chairs CALIBRE’s board of directors.

From SMI to CALIBRE

Martore came to CALIBRE by way of Strategic Management Initiatives, a company he co-founded after several years in federal government and commercial nuclear utility consulting. After SMI was twice named to the Inc 500 list of fastest-growing privately held companies, Martore and his business partner began considering their next steps.

“While we were not looking to sell the company, we did receive some offers,” he said. “We began to talk with CALIBRE and quickly recognized that CALIBRE operated with a set of values and a culture that were very similar to what we fostered at SMI.”

SMI soon joined CALIBRE as a separate division, bringing along the entire management team and staff. Three years later, Martore was tapped as chief operations officer, then president of CALIBRE. When the previous CEO retired, Martore was promoted to CEO.

During his 15 years with CALIBRE, he saw the company grow fourfold and increase its share value nearly eightfold. When he joined in 2004, CALIBRE focused almost exclusively on serving the Defense Department. CALIBRE provided critical logistics and cost information to combatant commanders across the globe.

Under Martore’s leadership, CALIBRE expanded its clientele to include multiple federal civil agencies, commercial business and the intelligence community. The company began offering not only logistics and financial management services, but also environmental and engineering programs, healthcare analytics, management consulting and technology tools and solutions. 

“We have been at the forefront of training the nation’s soldiers (both in the classroom and in the field) as they prepare to successfully deploy and execute their critical missions,” Martore said. The company has helped the Air Force save over $1.4 billion and the Army save $639 million through management of performance-based environmental remediation contracts, he said. 

At the National Institutes of Health, CALIBRE has supported the scientific research mission with digital transformation solutions that optimize productivity of the workforce and improve the quality of research data, he said.

Employee-Owned

As CALIBRE grew and expanded, it also began winning industry awards. Twice, it was named GovCon Company of the Year, three times selected by Fortune Magazine as one of the Best Medium Sized Companies in the U.S. and several times named one of the Best Large Companies in Virginia by Virginia Business Magazine. Martore was also twice named GovCon Executive of the Year.

CALIBRE is a 100% employee-owned company with an employee stock ownership plan that has created 53 millionaires of its employees and disbursed more than $188 million to former employees to buy back their shares.

“CALIBRE’s achievements are truly a result of its employee-owners,” Martore said. “The employee-owner culture drives innovative solutions that solve the mission critical challenges of our clients and fosters employee engagement and empowerment. As a result, we have a host of enthusiastic clients who value our work, companies who want to partner with us, and industry peers who respect how we take care of our employees and give back to local communities.”

CALIBRE University was established 12 years ago and includes courses in leadership development, financial management, project management and contracts management. The aim is to support employees in becoming entrepreneurs of a sort within the company.

Veteran-Friendly

The company has also earned a reputation as an employer of choice for military veterans and supports several military causes.

CALIBRE has partnered with Homes for Our Troops to help build six specially designed mortgage-free homes for wounded warriors, and also partners with Easterseals to serve active duty military, veterans and their families with thousands of professional job placements, job coaching and child services. Easterseals also provides quality care for children with disabilities and special needs so they can learn in an inclusive environment and maximize their independence and contributions to society. 

“Since CALIBRE has traditionally supported the U.S. military and 40% of our employees are veterans, it was natural to seek out veterans causes, especially since these individuals sacrificed so much for our nation,” Martore said.

CALIBRE has received numerous recognitions for those efforts:

  • Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Veteran and Military Advocate
  • DOD Nunn-Perry Award (given for mentoring a veteran-owned small business that increased its revenue more than 3,000% during the agreement with CALIBRE)
  • Designated a 5-star company by Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a DOD agency that recognizes employers who demonstrate support to the National Guard and Military Reserve.
  • Named a Distinguished Corporate Member of the Year by the America Society of Military Comptrollers for its work helping the Army realize significant savings while receiving complex support

CALIBRE also supports the local Franconia Elementary School through scholarships, teacher training and computer donations.

Life in Semi-Retirement

Martore said he has been fortunate to work with several mentors who helped him develop business and leadership skills and who prepared him to grow several companies and mentor a next generation of business leaders.

“It has been rewarding to see the professional progress of others and the difference we have been able to make with the success of a diverse group of clients like Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, the Department of Energy nuclear weapons complex and the Army Base Realignment and Closure Program,” he said.

In addition to chairing the board of directors for CALIBRE, Martore serves on advisory boards of several consulting firms. He also serves on the board of Easterseals of DC-MD-VA; the George Mason University Business School Dean’s Advisory Board; and the MIT Institute for Data, Systems and Society External Advisory Council. Through MIT, he endowed a teaching award and humanitarian logistics fund that has assisted citizens in response to disasters, such as Hurricane Sandy.

Martore and his wife have endowed scholarships for young children to attend the Easterseals D.C. Child Development Center autism program. They have been a part of fundraising efforts for the new state-of-the-art playground for the school.

He also speaks at George Mason University Business School and the Veteran Institute for Procurement on subjects such as strategic planning and executive leadership.

“In addition, my wife and son recently started a woman-owned small business, through which I am able to provide consulting advice to companies,” he said.

In their spare time, Martore and his wife, Gracia, a former CEO of Fortune 500 company TEGNA, Inc., have had more time to devote to other pursuits as well.

“Being semi-retired, Gracia and I have been able to continue to pursue our interest in international travel, especially to our grandparents’ country of Italy,” he said. “We have also been able to resurrect a long-lost pursuit of a golf game.”

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