Arlington Capital brings veteran team to new federal player

Thomas Sechler, formerly of BAE Systems, builds a new team at Iron Data to grow its federal business.

When Arlington Capital Partners began to recruit him to be the new CEO of Iron Data, Thomas Sechler, a former BAE Systems executive, started doing his due diligence.

It didn’t take him long to discover enough to like about the company and its potential in the federal market to jump on board. He was named CEO in December.

“It’s a business process management company but it’s more than that too,” he said.

Built through a serious of acquisitions over the past decade to create a company with business process management, case management and embedded analytics capabilities, Sechler was most impressed by the company’s modern software frameworks and architecture, he said.

“It’s all modern technology, the rules engines are state of the art, it has modern extension for mobile, it’s [service-oriented architecture] compliant,” Sechler said.

The clincher for taking the job was how well Iron Data’s capabilities matched up with the needs of the federal government, where there is a great need to improve processes and save money, he said.

The company currently gets about 30 percent of its revenue from federal government customers, particularly the Social Security Administration. The rest of the revenue comes from commercial and state and local customers. He declined to disclose dollar figures for the company, but it has about 400 employees.

But even though 30 percent federal business is substantial, Iron Data has never had a strategy focused on the federal market.

“We sort of backed into it,” he said. “We never even tried to sell to the federal market.”

The company gained that 30 percent because Iron Data was providing the case management software to manage disability benefit determinations for 47 states when that work was federalized by the Social Security Administration under a contract with Lockheed Martin. Iron Data is Lockheed’s technology partner on the contract, he said.

It also is the technology partner to Accenture on an IRS contract to certify and regulate 1.2 million professional tax preparers in the United States.

Arlington Capital’s viewed the federal market as a huge upside for Iron Data when it acquired by the private equity group in May. It brought Sechler on board to bring more of a federal focus to the company.

Sechler said he expected the federal business to be greater than 50 percent of revenue by the end of 2012.

To make that happen, he’s brought in Shawn McCoy as executive vice president of corporate business development. He’ll be building the federal strategy which will focus for the first year to 18 months on building relationships with large prime contractors. The company also has hired Candice Charlton as director of business development.

The three have a history of working together, having been at User Technology Associates, which was acquired by DigitalNet, which in turn was acquired by BAE Systems. Sechler ran the civilian business solutions area for BAE until last year while McCoy and Charlton were in the business development operation.

The company also has added Kathy Adams, a former executive with SRA International and assistant deputy commissioner for systems at the Social Security Administration as a member of its board.

Part of the federal strategy will be bringing Iron Data’s commercial technologies into the market, because there is great potential for cost savings for agencies, Sechler said. The company counts among its commercial customers such Fortune 500 firms as Nike, Nordstrom and Coca Cola, which are using supply chain intelligence and transportation logistics and spend management software and solutions.

Case management solutions are a great example where commercial solutions can bring cost savings to the government because custom-built systems have long track record of cost overruns and delays along with poor functionality, Sechler said.

Iron Data will be pursuing opportunities that include health IT, benefits eligibility, pharmaceutical regulations, certification and accreditation, investigative systems and intelligence and analytics systems.

“The federal market is ripe for these solutions,” he said. “We think it is white hot.”