Baroni leads Attain to new markets

Although Attain LLC was born in the midst of the Great Recession, the company has moved quickly beyond its start-up status.

Founded in 2009 from the ashes of BearingPoint’s sale to Deloitte, the company is eying opportunities related to energy efficiency, cybersecurity and health care.

Although agencies are not spending a great deal of money on green technology, Attain Chairman and CEO Greg Baroni characterized their energy-saving needs as “a long-term bet that we’re going to make.”

Attain is partnering with DHL on a solution that would reduce energy costs in buildings. The international package carrier started the program five or six years ago primarily in Europe to reduce the carbon footprint within its warehouses, storage facilities and aircraft, Baroni said.

The two companies plan to unveil their program aimed at government agencies within the next few months.

Rich Roberts, president of the company’s federal services sector, said the program will cover three areas — changing user behavior, streamlining processes, and making physical or structural changes to the facilities — that comply with an executive order on energy usage issued Oct. 5, 2009.

That presidential order requires all federal agencies to set a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target for 2020, increase energy efficiency, reduce fleet petroleum consumption, conserve water, reduce waste, support sustainable communities, and take advantage of federal purchasing power to promote environmentally responsible products and technologies.

Attain already has had talks with the General Services Administration and several agencies to make the solution available at federal installations, Baroni said.

“That’s one of the big areas that I think we’ve placed our bets on and see as our future growth area,” Roberts said.

Asked whether Attain also is eying the other two major growth areas in federal contracting — cybersecurity and health care — Baroni said, “You bet.”

Attain has hired several data analytics specialists who are working to improve the quality and lower the cost of health care. They are working on projects at the National Institutes of Health that will provide an integrated framework for measurable, predictable results and sustainable outcomes, Baroni said.

In addition, Attain is in discussions with a firm he can’t name until the deal is finalized about software delivery services to health care providers.

“We’re going to be talking a lot about lifetime guarantees as it relates to the delivery of software projects, again looking at sustainable outcomes that we can deliver more effectively in this market,” he said.

Since switching its name to Attain from Eclat Consulting earlier this year, the company has won a string of contracts that now brings its annual revenue to more than $50 million and a monthly run rate that is up 10 percent this year, Baroni said. The employee count has grown to 225.

“Activity seems to be at a very rapid pace for us,” he said. “But what is really dramatic is we now have a pipeline that has mushroomed from around $50 million to around north of $500 million of qualified opportunities that we’re legitimately pursuing.”

About 80 percent of the work Attain is pursuing is in the federal sector. The rest would come from academia, the company’s second focus of business.

Attain’s contracts with institutions of higher education include Carnegie Mellon University, Emory University, Old Dominion University, Rockefeller University, the University of Connecticut Health Center, University of Virginia, Yeshiva University and Johns Hopkins University.

But the Defense Department remains Attain’s biggest client. DOD accounts for about 50 percent of the work that the Vienna, Va., company is planning to bid on, Roberts said.

On the civilian side, Baroni and Roberts are eying the larger governmentwide acquisition contracts, including longer-term awards that the company probably won’t bid on until October, Roberts said. “Obviously, that’s where we want to grow a little more,” he added.

Baroni said he believes Attain will win some of those GWAC awards, but he is not counting on quick wins.

“The real issue right now is the pace of contract awards,” he said. “The contract shops seem to have a shortage of resources [and] I’d say an abundance of caution in how they’re proceeding.”

Baroni, who previously spent nearly three decades in various leadership roles at KPMG Consulting and Unisys Corp., attributed that caution primarily to the government’s expanded oversight activities and loss of experienced procurement personnel through attrition and retirement.

Those two factors likely will determine how quickly the various agencies award their contracts, he said.

Not content to wait until the procurement process becomes clearer, Attain recently hired several employees to help with capture management, but staffing is far from complete, Baroni said.

So, for the time being, the company “has an extensive reliance on consultants” to help respond to requests for proposals, he said.

“Obviously, we want to build all that in-house,” Baroni said. “But at this point, the [contract] opportunities are now. By the time you actually go through screening the right talent, bringing them on board, letting them learn about us, well, it just takes too long.”

On the upside, he added, “there is a lot of interest [and] a pent-up demand that is starting to see its way into contract shops right now."

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