Embrace the mid-tier: One CEO's message the market

Appearances may suggest that the middle market is being hollowed out by market forces, but one mid-tier CEO believes companies like his have to step up.

The “barbell shape” that illustrates the vast landscape between large-tier government services companies and small businesses seems to have become more pronounced as consolidation has swept through the market.

WT POWER TRAINING

Mastering Stakeholder Engagement

We have joined with MBDi to offer a one-day course on Mastering Stakeholder Engagement as a way to foster closer relationships and win more business.

DATE: June 7

WHERE: Valo Park, McLean, VA

Click here for more info.

On one end of that curve: big companies are only getting bigger through one mega acquisition after another, including of many mid-tier firms such as the recently-announced deal for KeyW Corp. by Jacobs Engineering Group. The other end has small businesses without resources and infrastructure of large firms but access to various set-aside programs.

Are market forces hollowing out the middle tier and keeping some small firms from making the jump? Perhaps to some degree. But E3 Sentinel CEO Andy Maner, himself a chief executive of a mid-tier firm, has an alternative view: embrace all that comes with being in the middle.

“When you’re in the middle, you’ve got to do everything, and you’ve got to do it as good as the people on your left and your right,” Maner told me in an interview at E3/Sentinel’s McLean, Virginia, headquarters.

“You have to be a good teammate to the people on your left and your right, and then you’ve got to prime where you can prime. You literally have to do everything in the middle and I love that challenge.”

Maner, the former Homeland Security Department Chief Financial Officer and IBM public sector executive, said market forces are also widening the aperture for companies such as E/3 Sentinel given what government customers are looking for from industry beyond just new technology.

“A lot of times, clients are looking for entrepreneurial spirit, innovation (and) people with specific skill sets. That’s where the middle of our market is so important,” Maner said. “You don’t just run into a client and go ‘All I want to do is technology right now.’

“Our clients count on us for having the best people, innovative people, mission-focused people.”

E3/Sentinel is one example of several private equity-backed contractors that have touted their efforts to lead the middle market and fill in the slots others have left behind.

“It’s up to us to do it,” Maner said. “The challenge is laid upon us to be innovative, be a great teammate, be great to people and I’m up for the challenge.

One set of steps goes like this: private equity firm acquires a contractor that then serves as a platform to make other deals. From there, the more consolidated player can then move up both the food chain of the middle market and the technical stack of services to government agencies.

E/3 Sentinel is backed by NewSpring Capital, a new private equity entrant to the government market that first bought Sentinel last year and then merged them with E3 Federal Solutions to create the current company. E3 was in the process of graduating into the middle tier prior to the merger.

“We’re in the seventh inning” of the integration, Maner said, but added E/3 Sentinel is on single systems for financial, procurement and employee benefit management functions.

Revenue figures are undisclosed but Maner told me the combined company has about 700 employees. More recently, E/3 Sentinel acquired and novated the professional services and engineering services pools on the General Services Administration’s governmentwide “OASIS” contract vehicle.

“New clients use it, current clients use it. It’s just refreshing to show up and have other options for clients considering different missions,” Maner said.

E/3 Sentinel’s journey up the technical stack centers on four innovation areas: digital transformation, IT project and portfolio management, mission analytics and strategic advisory, and engineering and technical services.

One common thread in those areas is the vast amounts of data agencies manage and their demand for new tools like those in cloud environments to simplify that function.

The end goal all around is “technology enablement that eases people up,” Maner said.

“The work any of us are doing in cloud or analytics, we’ve been doing it for five years now,” he added. “It’s changing the world in our market.”

According to Maner, the middle market can embrace its role in attracting talent and helping them shape their career paths in the larger public sector ecosystem. That includes potentially working inside the federal government like he once did.

“I don’t believe in our market we should surrender that this can be the most fun and exciting market to work in,” Maner said. “In the middle market, I just want us to embrace that and then I want to say ‘We’re going to be the best at developing talent that there’s ever been.’

“I cede the fun factor to no one, I cede the interesting factor to no one. That’s what it means to be in the middle market, so more is expected of us. We don’t have huge, incumbent billion-dollar contracts to lean on. We have to be great every day.”

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.