Ross Wilkers

SPACE

LinQuest setting new course for itself, helping Space Command do the same

Since LinQuest Corp. was acquired last year, the government space systems integrator has been at work on its to-do list that includes charting a new course for growth under new ownership and new leadership..

Item number two was checked off late last year when LinQuest hired former Scitor Corp. leader Timothy Dills for the CEO post, while he and LinQuest’s private equity backers in Madison Dearborn and CoVant are at work on developing the company’s longer-term strategy.

For LinQuest, that strategy involves both its current work to help military agencies and others with their space architectures and finding other companies to enhance what LinQuest already does and bring on new capabilities.

“One of the things I was asked to do when I came forward was, in addition to building up our pipeline and our opportunities, was to look at some M&A opportunities that would enhance our offerings in terms of services capabilities, customers and geographic locations where we know there are business opportunities,” Dills told me recently.

What Dills described is the long-term piece of setting LinQuest’s new course. In our interview, Dills said he has also spent his initial eight months on modifying internal processes and procedures in order to “quickly respond to our customers’ needs… and be able to get them the answers sooner than they expected.”

One contract LinQuest secured in April is an example of that quick response that puts the company at the center of the military’s effort to prioritize and organize how it manages space capabilities.

Under a $9.3 million sole source contract, LinQuest is helping to create and stand up what will become a re-activated U.S. Space Command.

Spacecom was disbanded in 2002 after 17 years of operation, but is scheduled to open for business again on Thursday with Air Force Gen. John Raymond confirmed as its leader.

“We’re helping him staff from a support perspective, and organize his organization to help him develop his guidance for the future of the command and its mission,” LinQuest Vice President and General Manager Chris Beres said in the same interview.

“We’re in several of the different organizations there on his J-staff, and providing those resources and personnel assets in his commander's action group, intelligence planning and joint operations center,” added Beres, who leads LinQuest’s space systems engineering and integration division,

LinQuest also had a key recompete to secure and did so early in the summer when it won a potential seven-year, $562 million Air Force contract for systems integration and other support for military satellite communications.

That contract supports the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, which LinQuest has been a partner of for almost its entire existence dating back to when it was founded as LinCom Corp. The former Titan Corp. purchased LinCom in 2000, then spun out the business four years later to become what is now LinQuest.

The award helps make LinQuest the “largest professional services provider at SMC today,” Beres said.

SMC might be a microcosm of how defense agencies are re-examining their space architectures. As Beres pointed out, SMC has a new framework in place aimed at increasing both speed and effectiveness of space missions.

“From the perspective of the needs of the space community, they want more robust capability and resiliency in order to meet those threats they see in the space environment,” Beres added. “We’re being asked to up our game.”

Dills said LinQuest also has customers in the Navy and in commercial sector as well, the latter of which the company is providing tools from to its government partners. That also put LinQuest right near the center of the space market’s ongoing disruption with new players and technologies entering it rapidl.

LinQuest does not disclose revenue figures, but says it has at least 900 employees and doubled in size over the past three years. Its last major acquisition was in 2012 of a Schafer Corp. business that supports Air Force Space Command.

About the Author

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

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