David Wolf, a member of the Blackwatch International ownership team and senior vice president of operations, is driving the company to significant growth while taking aim at some of the most pressing mission-critical government challenges.
We caught up with Wolf to talk about the emerging federal needs and about his plans for growing the firm.
Tell us a bit about Blackwatch.
As a small business, we have several significant differentiators. The majority of our programs are prime contracts, and we have a targeted focus across three mission-critical domains that serve the needs of our country: information technology, engineering and manufacturing.
We support our federal clients in their most mission-critical challenges. We provide manufacturing and engineering services for advanced semiconductor solutions, wafer processing and microelectronics-based activities for the Defense Department’s only semiconductor foundry. We have artificial intelligence and machine learning proprietary and patented technology, OneVision, for real-time data aggregation, correlation, and exploitation applicable to virtually any high-stakes situational awareness challenge.
We provide information technology solutions to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that helps protect the strength and vitality of the economy, new ideas and investments. We are helping NASA with the development and validation of new aeronautical engineering technologies, enabling future space and science missions.
What’s the biggest challenge your government clients face?
We live in an increasingly complex and connected world. The threat matrix grows more complex each day, and the bad actors, which can include nations like China and Russia, are becoming extremely sophisticated.
The government is facing many rapidly shifting challenges including new threat vectors in cybersecurity, the potential for bad actors to leverage AI for nefarious reasons, zero trust within quantum computing, the importance of trusted sources for mission-critical materials vital to the operation of the national economy, and the impact of globalization on a timely and secure supply chain.
Our teams have their finger on the pulse of changing requirements as they evolve to overcome these dynamic challenges. We are constantly assessing the impact of new technologies, techniques, best practices and performance thresholds and how they can be applied to protect the government and critical infrastructure while accelerating time to value.
What’s your role in all this?
My role is listening to my customers, understanding their needs and ensuring that we develop solutions to solve their most critical challenges. My focus is making sure that I provide the right people, in the right place, at the right time.
I work with clients that are aligned with critical national security objectives. I develop a strong customer intimacy and complete transparency with federal stakeholders to ensure my teams are doing everything they need to do, especially when it comes to elements that contribute to national defense, critical infrastructure and the nation’s economy.
What’s the growth strategy?
We look for technology and engineering customers with tip-of-the-spear missions like space flight operations, microelectronics-based military and intelligence community systems and the national economy, where we have an opportunity to understand their biggest challenges and have the ability to quickly impact their ability to achieve their performance measures of success.
As an example, from a microchip perspective, we are currently focused on the DOD because they have various departments, agencies and activities with a high priority on the secure manufacturing of integrated circuits.
Based on my long history supporting law enforcement agencies, we are leveraging our current support expertise into justice, homeland and civilian agencies with similar needs, in some cases for semiconductors, in other cases simply for secure supply chain within their laboratories and research facilities.
I’m surprised to see federal civilian on your list.
I have an extensive background supporting federal civilian and law enforcement agencies. As an example, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office fosters innovation, competitiveness and economic growth, and I am proud to have them as one of our largest customers. We support their infrastructure, as they drive innovation, entrepreneurship and protect the ingenuity of American inventors and entrepreneurs.
I graduated from the FBI Citizens Academy and spent nearly 10 years supporting critical FBI as well as DHS programs. While Blackwatch does not have any current contracts with the DOJ or DHS, they are both growth areas for us, just based on my firsthand experience.
Federal Civilian covers critical infrastructure and if you look at much of what has happened with AI and its impact not only on cybersecurity, but on security as a whole, critical infrastructure is a paramount concern. From the energy grid to the food supply, to oil and gas pipelines, banking, telecommunications and hospital systems, IT and microelectronics play a role in the safety and security of our country.
Blackwatch has partnered with our government stakeholder to thwart these threats and the lessons we learn are valuable across our government customer base.
What’s your biggest business challenge, and how are you tackling it?
People now expect to work remote. With the return of onsite work, I need to find extremely talented people with clearances who are willing to come onsite. Luckily, we have an excellent recruiting team. Our targeted focus on the most mission-critical challenges that are tip-of-the-spear initiatives tends to be exciting work that requires creativity and innovation. Those types of projects draw people who seek new and exciting challenges for mission success.
We’ve put together an extremely skilled team of people with the experience of large organizations, and are excited to do that work in a small-business environment. This big-business sophistication fused with small-company agility has contributed to significant success. We’ve won several prime contracts totaling over $165 million within the last six months.
On a personal note, what makes this work meaningful and rewarding for you?
I’ve been involved in government consulting for almost 30 years, and for me, personally, it comes back to the mission and the people you work with.
I truly love solving my customers’ most mission-critical challenges. Starting with a significant and high-priority need and helping them to achieve that mission objective is serious work, and I thoroughly enjoy it. I love developing a positive and transparent relationship with my customers and providing great opportunities for employees. If you do both of those right, there is no better reward.