Inside the planning for Dovel's CEO transition

Dovel Technologies is entering a new phase of growth and is offering a lesson on how you plan and navigate the transition points that come with growth.

Dovel Technologies has evolved from a small business to solidly in the middle tier thanks to acquisitions and strong organic growth.

But that kind of change doesn’t come without planning, and that’s the story behind \their announcement today of leadership changes at the top.

Long-time CEO Paul Leslie is stepping down from that role on Nov. 1 and will become executive chairman. Chief Operating Officer and President Damon Griggs will become CEO.

The move has been years in the making, Leslie and Griggs both told WT.

“We planned this out three or four years ago,” Leslie said.

Leslie had a vision of where the company needed to go and how to get there. That included succession planning for the leader to take the company beyond the middle of the middle tier.

Griggs was hired in 2016 with that transition in mind, but still had to prove himself.

“Nothing is guaranteed,” Griggs said. “But Paul told me that if we grow and I was successful with the strategy and implementing things that this would an option on the table.”

Leslie has been transitioning CEO-like duties to Griggs for a year.

“As I’ve gotten my arms around certain parts of the business and proven I could take it on, he’s thrown more and more at me,” Griggs said. “When Nov. 1 hits, it won’t be much of a change for me.”

Leslie's shift to executive chairman should not be interpreted as any kind of retirement. He plans to offer advice on day-to-day operations and stay engaged on the strategic direction of the company. A main focus will be on mergers and acquisitions, such as the recent deal for Ace Info Solutions that pushed the company to $300 million in annual revenue.

“I want to stay engaged from the standpoint of strategic acquisitions as we continue to grow in the health and life sciences arena,” Leslie said.

The timing of the CEO transition and the acquisition of Ace Info are coincidental but both offer lessons on how the company is evolving.

Leslie became CEO in 2011 and has led the company through strong growth including some acquisitions but he knew as the company grew there would be certain decisions and inflection points.

“I’ve always stayed focused on the best ways to mature a business,” he said. “I even have a model that I developed years ago that I still present to the company.”

As a company grows leadership, culture and operations need to change. “Key changes need to take place at certain times,” he said. “What we are going through is just a logical step in the maturing of the business.”

For example, Dovel’s growth and acquisitions through 2018 were all internally funded, but as the company got larger, Leslie said he knew that was sustainable.

“We achieved our strategy and then made the decision we were going to continue to drive forward as a platform business,” he said.

That meant more resources and in May, the company was sold to the private equity firm Macquarie Capital. And one result is the Ace Info acquisition in September which pushed the company from about $200 million in annual revenue to $300 million.

With Macquarie’s backing, the resources are in place to grow to $500 million by 2021 and perhaps higher. Griggs joked during our conversation that Leslie is always pushing the number out.

“It’s a big number and it grows as we get closer,” he said.

Acquisitions will be part of the growth strategy but Griggs is very focused on organic growth. Ace Info brought new contract vehicles as well as built on Dovel’s technical capabilities.

The company also is building its infrastructure with strategic hires. Dovel has added a new chief financial officer in Barry Broadus and a chief human resources officer in Kelly Demaitre. Both have experience at much larger organizations.

Broadus was the CFO at SRI International and before that at Alion Science and Technology. Demaitre was senior vice president for human resources at CACI International and previously held positions at Exelis and Booz Allen Hamilton.

As he takes the reins, Griggs said his focus is on the integration of Ace Info. He’s been traveling to Ace Info locations around the country to meet with employees and customers.

“Priority one is taking care of Ace Info and capitalizing on our combined capabilities that can bring us new customers and new opportunities,” he said.

With their focus on the government health sector, Leslie said there are enough opportunities that the company could hit the $1 billion revenue mark.

“If you look at the opportunities at HHS, Military Health, the Defense Department, CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), there are plenty of opportunities,” he said. “We’ve been talking about this and planning this for quite some time. I’m filled with confidence.”

NEXT STORY: Brown named president of ORI

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.