Top 100: Peraton embraces change to drive its growth

Peraton is two years out from its spinoff from Harris Corp. and recent contract wins and an acquisition show that the company is embracing change as a growth engine.

Peraton is a two-year-old company with a 125-year history. Formerly part of Harris Corp., Peraton formed in 2017 to become a next-generation national security company.

“We made significant, measurable progress throughout 2018 to prime Peraton for growth and opportunity – transforming and operationalizing our systems and platforms, optimizing our organizational structure, and focusing on performance across the Peraton enterprise,” said Stu Shea, the company’s president, chairman and chief executive officer.

That effort earned the company the No. 40 spot on the Top 100 contractors list and $679.7 million in prime contracts. Among its wins was an award by Naval Air System Command with a ceiling of $23.5 million for one base year and four option years to provide propulsion and engineering systems support to the Propulsion and Power Engineering Department.

Other wins include a $32 million contract from the Justice Department to provide software, systems development and operations services for the FBI’s Information Technology Applications and Data Division, and a $71.8 million deal from the Defense Information Systems Agency for satellite services and support of U.S. Army Command’s network architecture.

Peraton also won contracts to continue work already under way. For instance, NASA Space Communication Network Services awarded the company a $243 million yearlong contract extension to continue supporting Goddard Space Flight Center’s largest services program through mission integration planning and engineering support for near-Earth and space communications connectivity, including telemetry, tracking and command.

Additionally, the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Xdomain Technology Through Research, Evolution, Enhancement, Maintenance and Support tapped Peraton for a $66 million, five-year follow-on contract that extends the company’s work on this cross-domain cyber technology program.

At the same time, Peraton was continuing to evolve internally. Michael King was appointed chief growth officer in March 2018, and John Coleman became president of the homeland security sector and David Myers of the communications sector the month before. What’s more, the company added two new sectors – space, intelligence and cyber and defense and electronic warfare – in January 2018 and acquired Strategic Resources International, a telecommunications firm in April 2018.

“All told, the bold organizational reforms we implemented in 2018 share one aim – to ensure Peraton’s deep expertise and unique technology capabilities are deliberately aligned and architected to match our customers’ current and future mission requirements,” Shea said. “And to make that reality demands a synchronized leadership team equipped to actively shape and pursue opportunities across the emerging warfighting domains of tomorrow.”

This year, the company is continuing to grow through acquisitions, which is part of Shea’s business plan. On June 17, the company announced that it will acquire Solers, a provider of software development and systems integration for space situational awareness, satellite ground systems, cybersecurity engineering, and enterprise cloud-based solutions.

“By merging some of the most proven and innovative space protection and ground operations technologies in the industry, we significantly enhance Peraton’s ability to execute on our customers’ critical missions,” Shea said.

He sees no slowdown in the government’s need for security support. “In today’s ever-evolving threat environment, we are enabling the protection and defense of space, our nation and its assets,” he said. “This demands constant interconnectivity for instant collaboration and confident decision-making. Peraton’s expertise as a mission capability integrator, leveraging synergies and capabilities from across the enterprise, while partnering with niche specialty leaders to keep vital communications flowing to the decision-makers entrusted with keeping us safe, remains a steadfast focus.”

In the next few years, the company will invest heavily in pipeline expansion with a focus on mission capability integration in its core business areas: space, intelligence, cyber, defense, homeland security and communications, Shea added.

One challenge area is competition for workers, which he said may become fiercer than it is for contract awards. Maintaining a strong, stable workforce, not to mention adding to it, is pushing companies to make the workplace appealing. One way Peraton does this is by offering benefits such as paid maternity and paternity leave, tuition assistance and student loan refinancing, and career development courses.

The company’s readiness for emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), cloud and visualization will also be a talent draw in addition to areas for further growth. For instance, Shea expects hesitations about AI to decrease as the technology matures, paving the way for more business.

“Peraton is primed to be a strategic market disrupter – it’s in our DNA to embrace change,” Shea said.