Paul Garver, vice president of Quest’s public sector, has seen impressive growth in the company’s government technology solutions over the past 10 years. Now, despite the tightening of government spending, Garver remains confident in Quest’s continued success and expects a bright future for the company’s technology solutions portfolio. In an interview with ExecutiveBiz, Garver highlights the challenges facing the public sector and his strategies to succeed.
We“™re going to continue to focus on our four core strengths of application management, database management, windows management and virtualization management.
ExecutiveBiz: Could you tell us a little bit about how you came to join Quest Software?
Paul Garver: I joined Quest more than 10 years ago. Quest was a much different place then than it is now. Revenues were just over $100 million, and the marketplace was quite different. I had just come back from a European-based assignment and was looking to get back to my core strength, which is government. What attracted me to Quest was its technology and its potential for significant growth within the government marketplace. The culture of the company was very unique compared to anything that I had personally experienced. Perhaps most important to me was the opportunity they were affording me to do something that I enjoy: to establish and build organizations. Since I joined the company, we“™ve gone from three people in public sector with under $1 million in revenue and about 1 percent corporate contribution to about 145 people, well over $100 million in revenue, and between 15 percent to 18 percent of corporate contribution. It“™s been a real growth curve over those 10 years.
ExecutiveBiz: What factors do you think have led to that growth in such a short time?
Paul Garver: There is no need to hide behind the cloak of secrecy about the government marketplace. It is the most open marketplace in the world where information that isn“™t readily available to the commercial sector is available to us, including budget allocation, who the major prime contractors are, the scope of their contracts, the delegation of procurement authority, how to get in touch with major decision makers, and marketplace trends. There is just a wealth of information available to government contractors either in the public domain or through market services that are specific to this marketplace. It is this level of information that is quite frankly the envy of our commercial counterparts. The secret to success is knowing how to operate within the marketplace given its nuances. Quest afforded us the opportunity to implement a model and grow with it over time.
ExecutiveBiz: What“™s next for the public sector at Quest? What are your goals for the next six months to a year?
Paul Garver: The next six to 12 months are going to be quite interesting from a couple of perspectives. One is that from all indications and our own personal experience, both markets that we cover — federal and state and local government — are tightening up on spending. Some states are dealing with budgetary pressures by increasing taxes, while others are slashing budgets. The big difference between the state and local market and the federal market is that by law, states are not allowed to run a deficit. They have to address their budgetary gap, which is a much different scenario than in the federal government where they are allowed to run a deficit. Based on the midterm elections, we know that U.S. citizens are concerned about the size and frequency of these deficits and the need to address them by cutting spending, raising taxes or both. Both markets are feeling the pressure, so it“™s going to be harder to thrive in them. But I think that strong companies with the right strategies and tactics are the ones that are ultimately going to be successful during these tighter times. We have aggressively sought to continue our growth, partly through the acquisition of some key companies. One of our biggest challenges or goals over the next six to twelve months is to properly assimilate those companies into our public sector organization, so that they can get on the same growth curve that we“™ve enjoyed for the last ten years and to successfully integrate their technologies or solutions into our portfolio.
ExecutiveBiz: Other than integrating these new companies what other strategic options do you all have to contend with in this new recessionary economy for the government sector?
Paul Garver: I think as people cut budgets and rein in spending, they will look to do things like consolidate their IT infrastructure and vendor relationships, as well as come up with key partners with whom they can establish relationships. Our challenge and goal is to make sure that we win out in that process and are increasingly perceived as a long-term strategic partner to key state, local and federal government agencies.
ExecutiveBiz: What sets Quest apart from its competition?
Paul Garver: As a company, we pride ourselves in our ability to simplify the management of complex environments through the implementation of our solutions. Quest has the advantage of being a small, flexible, fast company in terms of developing timely and innovative technologies, but at the same time we offer the strong financial performance and longevity of a large company. We are going to be here in the months and years to come. We“™re going to continue to focus on our four core strengths of application management, database management, windows management and virtualization management. Within that pillar of virtualization management, we“™ve got some key technologies that are going to put us squarely in the area of private cloud implementation. This area is incredibly timely for where the government wants to go and how they are going to achieve some economies through consolidation.
ExecutiveBiz: Outside of the office, what sort of activities and hobbies do you enjoy?
Paul Garver: I love to play golf. I wish I could play more frequently, but that is certainly high on the activities list. I“™m pretty active in maintaining my health through regimented fitness programs. One of my girls is graduating from college at Virginia Tech, while the other is a junior at Auburn, so I“™ve become a fairly fanatical college football supporter. The teams are both very competitive, which is nice. My wife and I both enjoy food and wine, in addition to escaping to our mountain hideaway just west of the city.