TOP 100: GovCIO's path in the fast lane

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Company No. 41 was not even in the rankings three years ago. Then it acquired Salient CRGT and used that as a platform to multiply.

Revenue is often the go-to measuring stick when the word "scale" comes up in any conversation about the government services market and the companies in it.

Changes in the size and composition of a contractor's workforce also help paint a picture of how any firm transforms itself via an acquisition and looks to build off it.

GovCIO employed 500 people when it was acquired in late 2020 by the private equity firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe. GovCIO became a 2,200-employee team in 2021 through its purchase of Salient CRGT and today has 3,000 on staff.

Now for the numbers. GovCIO hits the No. 41 position for our 2024 Top 100 rankings on $911.4 million in unclassified prime tech and professional services obligations, down one spot from last year, but a marked difference from not being on the 2021 list at all.

"Some businesses are going to grow a little bit faster one year and the other one's going to be a little bit slower because it's catching up, or it's got a bunch of recompetes and you've got to weather that storm, while the other ones kind of pick each other up," said Joe Cormier, both chief operating officer and chief financial officer at GovCIO. "Fortunately, we've hit on a unique little rocket here where all the businesses are performing really well."

WCAS' purchase of GovCIO and arrival of Cormier, chief executive Jim Brabston and other senior leadership members could be considered the boarding of the rocket. That would make the acquisition and integration of Salient CRGT the launch, in essence.

Cormier told us that Salient brought with it a footing across agencies in the health care, civilian and national security corners of the market. At the time of WCAS' acquisition, a bulk of GovCIO's work was with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.

This aspect of Salient stood out prominently as GovCIO and WCAS took a closer look under the hood of the business -- access and activity on some of the government's major contract vehicles like Alliant 2 and OASIS.

That helped position GovCIO to bid on larger and more complex opportunities that could lean on the past performance of both companies.

"I think the goal was certainly to get to a billion dollars in scale over several years, we're ahead of schedule on that, we're already there," Cormier said. "When we put it together originally, it was probably a year from now that we would have expected that we could get there, but fortunately it's all worked out."

One GovCIO's major recompetes worked out to its favor and will be another platform for its continued growth. The company's largest program, a task order called SANDBAR, is a mechanism for the Defense Department and its interagency partners to acquire advanced IT solutions and related services.

Salient CRGT first won the work in 2019 at a then-$482 million ceiling over up to five years. The new order is called MAVERICK and GovCIO won that recompete in April with a much larger scope – a $2 billion ceiling over up to five years.

Cormier described SANDBAR and MAVERICK as a means for DOD and others in national security, to use rapid contracting as a way to quickly implement new technologies and intelligence capabilities.

But he also pointed out that MAVERICK also enables "really anybody in the government to utilize it."

"Customers can come to us through task orders that can be issued without competition, so it's our own vehicle that we build on," Cormier added. "All they need to do is have a statement of work and funding documents and we can work that really quickly."

SANDBAR currently has 50 different technical direction letters, or guidance documents that agencies provide contractors after award about a task in a contract's performance work statement. TDLs can often specify exact times and places for contractors to perform a task, or lay out the sequence of work for that task.

That number of TDLS almost certainly will go up for MAVERICK, given it is four times the size of its predecessor. Cormier said that in some instances, work under the SANDBAR program has moved to other sole-source contracts with the same customers.

"MAVERICK obviously gives us a super-sized version of that to do for the next several years," Cormier said.

As for where GovCIO wants to go next, hitting the $1.5 billion-annual revenue mark does not feel far away. Cormier said that path puts GovCIO in a position to consider different directions and perhaps another transformative move like with Salient CRGT.

Which means GovCIO could "frankly get larger if we want" as Cormier put it, but the desire for keeping the culture is "always going to be the balance."

"If we can do this organically, the way we have, there's no reason to disrupt that," Cormier said.

(A future episode of our WT 360 podcast will present the full conversation with Cormier)