With new center, Mason seeks to drive GovCon conversation

George Mason University’s school of business has launched an academic center focused on government contracting in an effort to help drive the conversation surrounding this almost half-billion dollar industry.

GMU is certainly not the only university in the Washington, D.C. region to have education tracks focused on GovCon. George Washington University, Georgetown University and the University of Maryland mostly focus their academic programs on the industry’s legal and procurement aspects.

But Fairfax, Virginia-based GMU is positioning new Center for Government Contracting as a nexus for all stakeholders in the industry, plus academic and government sectors given its location and proximity to so many contractors’ headquarters and that of their federal headquarters.

The conversation GMU’s new center wants to drive focuses primarily on challenges surrounding the business of GovCon and solutions for those through collaborations with those stakeholders, Executive Director Jerry McGinn told WT Monday.

That umbrella centers around efforts to “get under the hood of issues such as what’s driving growth for companies,” McGinn said. Also include “to better improve communication and understanding between government and industry,” he added.

“These are all important business issues and there a lot of people that have opinions about them, the trade associations have a point-of-view and the government has a point-of-view,” McGinn said.

Growth drivers in GovCon is the main topic of conversation for the center’s first event on Tuesday in Falls Church, Virginia, including how companies should think through their merger-and-acquisition strategies.

McGinn has seen the issues on both sides over the course of his three-decade federal arena career, both as a Defense Department official and executive at government services companies. Before joining GMU, McGinn was the senior career official in DOD’s Office of Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy. He also held senior roles at firms such as Deloitte, QinetiQ North America and Northrop Grumman.

In our conversation Friday, McGinn said the center’s faculty, staff and other senior fellows will research topics that include the use of Other Transaction Authority contracts awarded outside of the typical procurement process and regulations, plus how to attract new entrants into the market.

And of course, expect to see courses and other academic platforms at the center as it further builds out.

“I view the center as something that can only compliment everything in the broader GovCon ecosystem,” McGinn said.

John Hillen, former CEO of Sotera Defense Solutions, is chairman of the GMU GovCon center’s board of advisers and executive-in-residence at the university’s business school.

About the Author

Ross Wilkers is a senior staff writer for Washington Technology. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @rosswilkers. Also connect with him on LinkedIn.

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