When Acentia acquired 2020 Co. in 2012, it forged a professional relationship between Todd Stottlemyer and Bob McCord that would last nearly a decade. Today, they run CNSI with a shared vision, values and mission to solve state and federal health challenges.
CNSI CEO Stottlemyer and president and Chief Operating Officer McCord first met in 2011 when Stottlemyer was CEO of Acentia. The company was looking into buying 2020 Co., where McCord was president and COO.
“Bob has a deep health care, sales, operating and technology background,” Stottlemyer said. “It was not just acquiring the company and the company’s contracts; it was also about the ability to bring Bob on board.”
By the time 2020 Co. decided to sell, Stottlemyer and McCord got to know one another, connected over mutual industry friends and effectively began working together during the merger.
“I’d certainly heard about him, because he had a great reputation, particularly in the health care space. He was viewed as a preeminent health care operating executive with both a technology and engineering background and somebody who had deep expertise and great success in the health care space, working for a number of different companies,” Stottlemyer said of McCord.
Prior to joining CNSI in 2019, McCord’s roles included president and COO of Octo Consulting and president and COO of Acentia after the acquisition. He’s held various sales, operating and delivery roles with other well-known large organizations.
Yet it was at Acentia during the integration of the two companies that strengthened McCord and Stottlemyer’s working relationship.
From Where it Started
By the time Acentia and 2020 Co. were merging, Stottlemyer had also established a strong presence in the health care industry.
Prior to joining CNSI, he was executive vice president and member of the executive leadership team for the Inova Health System, and CEO of the Inova Center for Personalized Health. When Acentia was acquired by Maximus, he served on the board of directors for Maximus Federal Services. And before Acentia, Stottlemyer held various executive and financial roles with several technology companies.
So, when it came to merging, Stottlemyer and McCord also united their expertise.
“Todd really had done a lot of M&A work and acquisitions, so he laid out the blueprint on what it takes,” McCord said.
Stottlemyer refers to the successful integration as the pair’s first teamwork achievement, noting McCord as a critical leader in driving the union.
“People think that the deal is done when the deal closes. And that’s just when the hard work begins. And I was certainly impressed with the great work that Bob did to help us integrate two companies that had different cultures, somewhat different customer sets, and different ways of doing business,” Stottlemyer said.
In addition to his leadership, McCord brought a relentless focus on execution, Stottlemyer said. This performance-driven, client- and execution-focused mentality helped shape the culture of Acentia going forward.
The company went on to complete more acquisitions, and as a result of the merger with 2020 Co., saw very little attrition through all its integrations.
“If you know Bob, it’s all about accountability and results. And it’s about getting great results for your clients,” Stottlemyer said. “And that was certainly something he brought to Acentia and, I believe, really improved the combined company considerably. “
When Stottlemyer and McCord sold the company to Maximus in 2015, it was worth “significantly more” than it was when it first merged.
A Timely Reunion
After the acquisition, McCord and Stottlemyer remained in close contact. Stottlemyer had joined CNSI in the fall of 2018, and the first person he called was McCord, who was busy at Octo Consulting and couldn’t leave.
In the spring of 2019, when Octo Consulting received an investment from private equity firm Arlington Capital Partners, Stottlemyer tried again.
“I called him and said, ‘So, what do you think about coming over to CNSI? Because I could sure use your help.’ And he said, ‘I’m taking some time off,’” Stottlemyer said. After McCord’s 6-month break in the summer, Stottlemyer called him again. This time, McCord agreed to join Stottlemyer at CNSI — after about four asks.
His role in CNSI spans operations, business development, and companywide leadership, which Stottlemyer said was critical to CNSI’s execution and standing with clients and the company’s overall growth.
“The company needed somebody that would come in and really lead as president and drive operational excellence and imbed that into the DNA of the organization,” Stottlemyer said.
The pandemic hit the U.S. only a few months after McCord joined CNSI, and Stottlemyer said his leadership, attention to business continuity and client outreach was outstanding. Plus, Stottlemyer was diagnosed with COVID-19 in March 2020, and is thankful he had a business partner and leader he could rely on while recovering.
“I’ve also been blessed with a great operational leadership team and technology team here,” McCord said. “The other folks on the executive leadership team that Todd’s brought on board have obviously helped make that very seamless.”
Ultimately, CNSI was able to go remote when it needed to, and support customers as they transitioned into a remote environment.
“It was almost flawless execution during COVID,” McCord said. “It was just amazing how the team performed.”
Setting a Shared Vision for CNSI’s Future
CNSI is predominantly a health care company. Its focus is developing and deploying technology-enabled products and for public sector health care clients.
After finishing first in a national procurement conducted by the National Association of State Procurement Officials in 2020 — a great companywide effort — Stottlemyer sees tremendous growth opportunities for CNSI in the public sector health care environment, including state Medicaid programs and health care data analytics.
“We believe we have a real wind at our back, just given the strength of our intellectual property, the strength of our products and solutions and our market-leading position coming out of this NASPO competition,” Stottlemyer said.
CNSI also launched a strategic growth team led by Verlon Johnson, a health care thought leader and former Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services executive, and advised by the company’s board of advisers.
“We’re really thinking about where we should grow, from more tactically-oriented adjacencies and growth around our current product sets, to net new markets and where we should acquire,” McCord said. “And again, as Todd likes to say, skating to where the puck is headed.”
To get there, the duo is focusing on where the health care market is going, and combining tactical and strategic growth methods, as well as increased client engagement.
This method proved true during COVID, thanks to CNSI’s highly configurable systems and software-as-a-service solutions that adapted to state clients’ and CMS’ needs.
“When I joined the company, we didn’t have all happy clients, because we weren’t engaging them and executing the way we should,” Stottlemyer said. “Since [McCord] joined the company, our client engagements are now in a very different and good place.”
That place is a strong level of trust between CNSI and its clients, which includes helping them think ahead to prepare for the next business pain points, performing exquisitely and holding quarterly client focus groups to strengthen communication and collaboration.
Unification that Resonates
Stottlemyer and McCord’s partnership pulsates throughout CNSI and helps unify employees. They believe in the same things, and feel strongly about doing right for the company’s employees and customers.
“When you have those — for lack of a better term — strong, moral guardrails, along all these things, around objectives, the details fill in and it’s easy,” McCord said.
It’s the type of partnership that provides speed, collaboration and unison, and comforts an organization through a tough time. And at the core of it all, is trust, directness and honesty.
“We don’t always agree, but Todd knows that I will tell him what I think. He knows he didn’t hire a yes man,” McCord said.
That’s an important attribute for Stottlemyer. As CEO, he can often be faced with too many people providing unvarnished point of views and opinions.
“A CEO needs somebody on their team who is going to always speak truth and feel very comfortable and confident in doing so,” he said. “I know I’m always going to get Bob’s best point of view . . . whether he agrees with me or disagrees with me and he’ll say that, and I really appreciate and respect that.”
In fact, having opposing strengths and weaknesses makes Stottlemyer and McCord better leaders, and the companies they work for stronger, too.
“He just does things in certain areas a lot better than I do. And I think I recognize that and really am grateful for that, because that makes the team stronger,” Stottlemyer said.
Outside of work, Stottlemyer, a graduate of The College of William & Mary, and McCord, a graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and self-proclaimed Hokie, are even unified in the football stands. When they attended a football game between their alma maters together and stood on the William & Mary sideline for the game, McCord wore neutral colors and Stottlemyer gracefully accepted a loss.
“[Bob has] a great sense of humor and is a great person to work with. I feel very, very blessed to be in partnership with him, both at Acentia and also here at CNSI,” Stottlemyer said.