Whitney Bradley & Brown puts focus on workforce

Company's growth tied to outstanding employees

Every company claims to have outstanding employees, but effective staffing clearly is a competitive differentiator for technical and management consulting firm Whitney, Bradley & Brown Inc.

The Reston, Va., firm, founded in 1981, hires only senior military, government and commercial leaders with at least 20 years of managerial, operational or budgetary experience for its consulting team.

“One of the things we tell people is that we don’t have what we call spin-up time,” said Donald Bouchoux, senior vice president and chief operating officer at WBB, who, among other things, previously was a commander of a Navy F-14 Tomcat squadron.

Bouchoux said the company can tell clients, “You don’t have to educate us about your problem: We know what your problems are and, as a result, we can help you start solving them immediately.”

That type of can-do spirit and capability has enabled WBB to transition successfully from a small to midsize company and earn recognition as the 2009 Greater Washington Contractor of the Year in the $75 million to $300 million annual revenue category.

Bouchoux said he expects the firm will take in about $85 million in revenue this year, a 9 percent increase compared to 2008 gross revenues, and will be just shy of $100 million in 2010.

WBB, which is led by William McMullen, a 27-year Marine Corps veteran, specializes in business analysis, requirements management, decision management, acquisition support, operations analysis and manpower requirements and workforce planning.

Bouchoux said an example of what WBB does best can be seen in its work with the Marine Corps and Navy to integrate the acquisition and funding of their tactical aircraft programs. WBB not only helped officials wade through a complex, seemingly intractable problem but also came up with recommendations that resulted in savings of $30 billion.

The firm also helped the Air Force transform its security forces, the Navy develop its Littoral Combat Ship concept of operations, and NASA develop, document and execute the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate.

Existing clients account for more than 70 percent of WBB’s work. One reason for those consistent follow-on assignments is the company’s application of “reach-back,” Bouchoux said.

For example, if a WBB accounting specialist is working on a government contract and a question comes up about test and evaluation, the accountant can reach back to WBB’s consultants at the home office to help solve the problem, he said.

“The idea is the client is not just getting the consultant who’s assigned to personally work a contract — they’re getting that person plus all these other people and all these other experiences that will help an agency answer those questions and issues they didn’t anticipate when they first wrote their requirements,” Bouchoux added.

Although WBB has an excellent history with Defense Department agencies and services, Bouchoux said its biggest contract wins the past year have come from the civilian sector.

The firm recently won a contract to help the Secret Service acquire, update and modernize its communications systems. And WBB is also supporting the Veterans Health Administration implement electronic health records.

In 2010, WBB will focus on pursuing more opportunities in the homeland defense market, which will help fuel WBB’s continued growth, Bouchoux said.

Meanwhile, the employee-owned company’s short-term goal is to grow consistently at a 10 to 15 percent annual rate. Its long-term goal is to reach $300 million in annual revenue and move up to midtier status.

“The big challenge for us is to continue to grow while keeping our standards and quality of work high, successfully integrating new employees and sustaining the character of the company,” Bouchoux said.

Return to list of GovCon winners.

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