If 60 is the new 40, then it is fair to say that $10 billion is the new $1 billion when it comes to the government contractor threshold for tier-one status. As massive, Agency-wide contracts such as Networx proliferate, the resources and staffing required to serve as a prime balloons along with them.
What this likely means is that the steady drumbeat of executives at midtier government contractors speaking of the challenges associated with contractor “no-man’s land” – as Washington Technology editor David Hubler so aptly puts it – will continue.
The “no-man’s land” that Hubler refers to is that painful period for government contractors when they have outgrown small business or minority status – and all of the benefits that come along with it – but are still too small for many prime contracts (especially the massive, multi-agency ones).
Contractors that find themselves in this position can pursue different paths: growth through acquisition, organic growth or, in the case of RS Information Systems (one of the area’s largest African-American government contractors with over $300 million in annual revenue), pursue a well-matched suitor to acquire them.
The more you read about the obstacles these midtier contractors face, the more you grow to appreciate those who have carved out a successful path to tier-one status – and the executives behind that growth. One of the most impressive case studies is SRA International, and the executive who played a giant role in growing the company from $135 in annual revenue past the $1 billion threshold.
Dr. Renato DiPentima – known to friends and acquaintances as Renny – served as president and chief executive officer of SRA from January 2005 through March 2007. Prior to assuming this position, he served as president and chief operating officer as part of his 12 years at the firm.
But DiPentima is one of those executives who transcends the company he is associated with; recognized as one of the region’s most significant and influential leaders within the contractor and Federal community: Government Computer News Industry Executive of the Year in 2000; Government Executive of the Year in 1993; Federal CIO Council 2003 Industry Executive of the Year by the Federal CIO Council; and the list goes on and on.
While DiPentima might have slowed down a tad after handing over the reigns in April to his successor Stan Sloane, SRA still has its foot firmly on the accelerator. Because when it comes to landing the juiciest contracting plums, companies like SRA must push on, past $1 billion, past $5 billion and on to the $10 billion range.
The good news for Sloane, SRA’s president and chief executive officer who has been on the job for nine months, is that DiPentima laid the foundation for this lofty goal to be met. Between 33 years in senior government posts and an additional dozen years with SRA, DiPentima has witnessed and played a major part in the contractor community’s transformation and evolution.
While Dr. DiPentima relishes the opportunity to travel with his wife – and spend more quality time with his children and grandchildren – he is still actively involved with SRA and the contractor community. And with so many midtier contractors looking to replicate the growth that he helped to usher for SRA, I have little doubt that there will be a packed house on hand to hear him speak at the ExecutiveBiz “Been There Done That” lunch series event on January 24, 2008 at the Westwood Country Club in Vienna, Virginia.