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LaMont Wells of Webster Data Communications: How to retain top talent

LaMont Wells of Webster Data Communications: How to retain top talent - top government contractors - best government contracting event

LaMont Wells of Webster Data Communications: How to retain top talent - top government contractors - best government contracting eventWebster Data Communications has been under the radar a number of years but that's now changing “” big time.  A values-based IT solutions provider, the company was recently named one of Washington Technology's “Fast 50 Government Contractors,“ and has been recognized as one of the 50 fastest growing Virginia companies by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. LaMont Wells, Webster's CEO, recently sat down with ExecutiveBiz to talk about the secrets to his company's growth, including his successful efforts to boost retention.

ExecutiveBiz: Briefly tell us your background.

LaMont Wells: I was a vice president at Siemens Government Services, Inc., senior vice president at AMERICAN SYSTEMS, and senior vice president at ManTech International. Before that I was  CIO and deputy chief financial officer under the Clinton Administration for a presidential-appointed commission, with a clear congressional mandate to provide management and financial oversight to reverse the District of Columbia's  financial instability. At the time, I had retired out of the Army as a colonel working in the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.


“we tend to get very highly skilled IT people, a cut above the norm. They also tend to want to stay because they are able to tinker with IT toys that haven't even hit the marketplace yet.” -LaMont Wells


ExecutiveBiz: What's your company's approach to retention?

LaMont Wells: That's a great question.  We just had an open enrollment for most of our benefits, and now offer a rich benefits package that's more than competitive.  We offer employees a chance to be a part of an entrepreneurial undertaking. We're even looking at perhaps becoming an ESOP company in the future so that our employees can share even more in the growth of the company.  The owner and I are also looking at profit sharing for employees not too far down the road.

ExecutiveBiz: What else accounts for your high retention rate?

LaMont Wells: Our retention has been exceptionally good and the reason isn't only our benefits package but our customer base. We're in the Department of Defense and one of our premier customers is the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).Where else can an IT person work at probably the most technology advanced agency in DOD? And so, we tend to get very highly skilled IT people, a cut above the norm. They also tend to want to stay because they are able to tinker with IT toys that haven't even hit the marketplace yet.

ExecutiveBiz: To the extent you work with primes, what's your overall strategy?

LaMont Wells: When I got here in April 2008, the company had built its reputation and its growth on subcontracting work. So a large portion of our work is subcontracting.  One of the things that I wanted to do “” and we are doing now “” is priming work. I wanted to kind of flip that because I wanted to get the direct labor utilization with the company as a prime. So I'm looking at focusing on  more prime this year. We are still looking at sub work where we can get it but; we're also positioning the company as an attractive prime or small business prime partner for large companies.  We are doing that now in terms of developing relationships with SAIC, as well as with EDS, CACI, SRA and GDIT.

ExecutiveBiz: What's something most people don't know about you personally?

LaMont Wells: They probably don't know that I fashion myself as a very good cook. I make the best French toast this side of the Mississippi and my beef dishes are to die for.  My secret fantasy is to be an Iron Chef, one day. I also teach business development on the side at Johns Hopkins University.

Read more interviews here: https://blog.executivebiz.com/category/interviews/

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LaMont Wells of Webster Data Communications: How to retain top talent - top government contractors - best government contracting event
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