Under Bill Mixon’s leadership, USIS just renewed for the second time both the Office of Personnel Management field investigations and the OPM operational support services contracts. The two five-year awards are worth an estimated combined $2.7 billion.
Bill led USIS’ winning efforts in these contract pursuits in both 2006 and 2011.
Bill, what are your thoughts relative to these large wins?
As an organization, we have a great mission in support of the OPM federal investigative program, which requires detailed expertise in OPM back office processes and the field investigative work, which demands flexible national scale.
While complementary, these organizational skills are very different. As such, these are separate and distinct contracts and we have separate management teams and employees supporting them.
How did you assemble your teams and manage your pursuit to meet differing needs of the same government body?
It isn’t so much that we were working on differing needs, but rather different areas of focus.
Our business is organized along those two separate focuses, so I had experience with assembling the right experts to work on the individual re-bids. It was really about knowing our people.
And let me tell you what, it takes more than a village! I had great professionals dedicated to our nation’s security to select for each team and their dedication enabled us to provide a great contract submission.
What were some of the differences and similarities between 2005 and 2011?
In 2005, this program was working through some significant backlogs. Remember, we were just four years post-9/11, when the volume of important national security work significantly changed. To best serve the country’s needs, I emphasized we had to grow scale to deal with the volume without suffering any dip in the quality of the product.
For the 2011 re-bid, the situation had changed, significantly changed. The backlog is gone and we are now operating in a real-time inventory environment, which means the emphasis is on efficiency along with quality. This means scale and flexibility are assumed, but are not at the top of the list of concerns.
As we go forward, I’m leading an effort to work with OPM to improve quality with smart field-based technology. This will allow us to drive productivity, efficiency and reduce cycle-time.
Overall, I would say that an organizational focus on mission and customer satisfaction has not changed. As I talk to our people in the field and in Western Pennsylvania, there is a strong association between how they view their work and the security of this nation.
The foundation of the clearance product and process is integrity and this is something we continue to instill in our team six years later.
The parameters of national security have significantly changed over the past decade and continue to evolve – how have you had to adjust to meet the changing needs of the government?
It’s as crucial as ever to work closely with our federal government clients and keep solid communication channels so we can listen to their needs and surpass their expectations.
This means thinking and moving tactically by continually evaluating and implementing internal processes and procedures that allow us to deliver on our commitment to the American taxpayer.
There’s really no room for an every once and a while approach when our national security relies on you being one step ahead.
This mentality has been essential to growing our IT capabilities, and it honed our focus on discovering and implementing affordable, scalable, innovative and flexible technologies.
In the future I see more potential for cloud services to match the changing demands of government programs, particularly for information security.
Numerous recent high profile incidents have demonstrated the high cost of a lack of information security and we’re always looking at new ways to ensure it through new technologies and internal systems.
What would you predict relative to the next contract cycle on this program in 2016?
Federal policy will drive changes to the programs and as a service provider I’m unable to make many definitive predictions. My crystal ball is cloudy!
That said, I can tell you that in my personal opinion I believe we will see more smart technology in the field, a continued increase in the digitization of clearance product content and possible expansions of captured content. Social media would be an example of that.
We expect the current five-year contracts to be rewarding, challenging and exciting. And we are committed to remaining the leading commercial provider of these services to our federal clients.