DynCorp cracks top 20 with $3B in prime contracts

Company sees intell, development work as new opportunities

It’s been a busy year for DynCorp International. In the past 16 months, the company has been bought by a private equity firm, made two acquisitions of its own and won at least four new major contracts.

At the same time, it is maintaining critical U.S. aircraft fleets, running counter-drug operations in Colombia, training law enforcement agents and shuttling dignitaries throughout Iraq, and maintaining military bases and working with police and Ministry of the Interior personnel in Afghanistan.

The company’s success helped it reach the No. 12 spot on the 2011 Top 100 with $3 billion in prime contracts.

The company continues to look toward its future. Specifically, it’s seeking to break into the intelligence and international development spheres, President Steven Schorer said.

“We’re interested in moving into the intelligence arena to see if we could transplant our capabilities there,” Schorer said. “And we’re looking to move from conflict to stabilization and development. We’re trying to help countries coming out of a conflict environment.”

Schorer has reason to be confident: The company is funded in part by a record Defense Department budget and a growing State Department budget. The military drawdown in Iraq is bringing significant business for DynCorp, and according to Schorer, as DOD budgets go down, State Department budgets go up.

“We position ourselves for transition,” he said. “We have to watch the whole life cycle of conflict to see where we’re going to play and who we’re going to play with.”

The renewed focus on partnerships is one of the benefits emerging from DynCorp’s recent transition to a privately held company, Schorer said. New York-based private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management bought DynCorp in July 2010, and he said it’s had a positive effect on the company.

“The private-equity purchase allows management to have a longer view,” Schorer said. “We were living quarter to quarter.… Now we can move into a space we couldn’t have previously played in. Sometimes it takes an inflection like a sale to make management take a new look at people and talents and see how to mold a world-class team moving forward. Now we’re focused on partnerships and moving toward a more global context.”

DynCorp recently acquired two companies. Casals and Associates, based in Alexandria, Va., will help the company in its international development endeavors, and Phoenix Consulting Group, which has offices in Virginia and Arizona, brings expertise in training and management consulting.

Beyond international development and training services, DynCorp also focuses on aviation, which is where the roots of the organization lie. The company was established in the 1950s from two aviation-focused companies, and aviation remains a major part of the business.

“It started out as a predominately aviation services company, and that heritage still exists today,” Schorer said. “That legacy lives on.”

The company is responsible for a large piece of aviation maintenance and support for military bases worldwide and provides naval aviation operations and maintenance at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland, Schorer said.

“We’re also known for our work with the presidential fleet,” he added. “There are now about 28 airplanes at Andrews Air Force Base that support the president’s Cabinet, and we support that fleet 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”

DynCorp also operates a counter-drug fleet in South America and runs a small airline in Iraq that moves dignitaries and officials throughout the country. That capability is being replicated in Afghanistan, Schorer said. The company has a considerable presence in forward locations, and he noted that DynCorp has more than 14,000 people in the theater of operations, a majority of whom have deployed in the past 16 months.

“It’s been an interesting and tough year,” Schorer said. “We had to make hard decisions about people, investments, our construct. But the market is changing so quickly, we have to be nimble and quick.… We have to be ahead of the curve.”

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