Byron Bright, president of Government Solutions with KBR and a three-time Wash100 Award winner, recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz regarding the company’s 2021 fiscal year performance and the core values of the company’s culture that have driven success in such a competitive market.
In addition, the 2022 Wash100 Award recipient discussed the implementation of recent acquisitions and the work KBR has done to expand space technology capabilities and cement its place in the space market as well as driving sustainability that is about to explode in the federal landscape during the latest Executive Spotlight interview.
“As the federal government thinks through the future of sustainability, what is that going to mean for the U.S. military and how they can support and make an impact in terms of how things operate at that level is top of mind? It’s one of the key things that is different about KBR. I think it gives us greater value to add back to our employees and customers.”
You can read the full Executive Spotlight interview with Byron Bright below:
ExecutiveBiz: What are the core values that are important to your company’s culture? How has your team developed its workflow and ability to drive success in such a competitive market?
Byron Bright: “As we’re coming through this pandemic, a lot of different aspects about how companies work and how they interact with their employees and customers have changed. At KBR, our focus has always been those aspects of our business and the vision to hire and work with the best and the brightest to address the most complex problems in order to build a safe and sustainable world.
One of the ways KBR has been successful in that pursuit is by operating as a team and recognizing the diversity within our company and the collaborative culture that we’ve established in today’s virtual world has connected our people more than ever before. The digital world has allowed us to break down a lot of barriers and drive our innovation efforts greatly.
KBR has really embraced technology, the philosophy of collaboration and presenting a team atmosphere, which are core values of our company identity. We all wear many hats, which keeps the day to day exciting and fresh. That’s driven our success in attracting the right talent.
Over the past few years, we’ve really focused on connecting our vision with KBR’s workforce. We have implemented multiple new mechanisms for that, which starts with intern programs and how we reach out to colleges and universities, especially in the STEM career fields. There’s a great deal more reaching out to diverse colleges and universities to create a wider pool of talent.
As we bring people in and continue our exciting work addressing the most complex sustainability challenges, KBR has facilitated communities of interest, among its workforce, connecting 300 to 400 experts on a monthly basis, sharing their progress and putting in digital platforms.
All of these mechanisms have established KBR as a great place to work. If you’re hired with us, you will get the opportunity to work on a diverse set of challenges with a diverse set of customers.
With KBR, another key aspect is being an international company. A lot of our peers in the government sector are centralized on U.S. business. We’re driving an international-based business, which offers a lot of opportunities for our people that a lot of companies don’t have.
Those are just some of the mechanisms we’re using and I think that’s what people want in today’s world. They want to do things that matter. I think this new world allows people more opportunities than ever before.”
ExecutiveBiz: Following the success of your recent quarterly results, what were the key factors that led to that company-wide performance and how will you continue to work to capitalize on that success moving forward?
Byron Bright: “We just finished our 2021 fiscal year with a phenomenal fourth quarter and capped off a really remarkable year for the company. KBR actually grew 27 percent year-over-year and roughly 18 percent of that was organic growth.
I would say that all our lines of business have contributed from defense and intelligence as well as our system engineering business to our NASA and space business. Another huge piece of that growth came through our readiness and sustainment business.
We supported one of the largest humanitarian efforts ever with Operation Allies Welcome and assisted displaced Afghan allies as they repatriated into the U.S. KBR has been on a growth journey for a number of years to continue to move up market into key strategic areas.
I believe we’ve laid out long term targets and continue to deliver quarter after quarter across all metrics. KBR has a really bright future ahead as we move into 2022. As you look at KBR with our peers, one of the key things that’s driven both our stock performance and our overall value proposition is our sustainable technology part of the business.
KBR’s commercial business focuses on energy transition, plastics, recycling, and industrials as well as really helping customers transition to make their products cleaner, which is something our employees on the government side want to be part of. I think it’s a significant growth area for KBR as we look at the U.S. government and how they’re starting to think about sustainability.
For the first time, the Department of Defense has established a climate change policy as a top national security priority. With KBR having a commercial energy focus and owning technology in that space, it will really help us become a thought leader for the government and DoD.
As the federal government thinks through the future of sustainability, what is that going to mean for the U.S. military and how they can support and make an impact in terms of how things operate at that level is top of mind? It’s one of the key things that is different about KBR. I think it gives us greater value to add back to our employees and customers.”
ExecutiveBiz: What can you tell us about the implementation of recent acquisitions you’ve made and how they’ve benefited your portfolio, technical capabilities and driven value for your company and customers?
Byron Bright: “Space is a huge part of our portfolio. During our last Spotlight, we talked about a very large NASA civilian space portfolio that continues to do well, especially in today’s world. In Eastern Europe, space is a huge part of their business as well, which could be in surveillance, data, communications or other aspects.
It’s a huge part of supporting our allies around the world. KBR is operating at the heart of that research and development, including some of the operational aspects of ensuring that space power is resilient and here for the long term.
We’re seeing a lot of investment through the Spaceport as well as the intelligence agencies that are related to all the national capabilities that are required to support U.S. warfighters. KBR, in particular, has a lot of capabilities.
We think about space as the assets, but it’s really the data, it’s really the algorithm, the communications and the cyber protection of that information. That’s where a lot of the demand is coming from and I think KBR will keep an eye on the market’s expansion and continue to grow as those demands become more significant.
Sustainability is another huge market that is about to explode. KBR is in a prime position to take advantage of that expansion around the world. Acquisition has been a big part of our transformation journey and we just reached a little over a year with Centauri.
It’s been a fantastic acquisition and they’ve really helped bolster our portfolio in space and emerging technology. Centauri is very active in directed energy and other developmental programs and it’s just been a critical part of our vision for the future of KBR.
Much like we’ve done in the U.S. market to transform KBR into the more technology focused company that we are today, we’re doing the same thing internationally. We closed Frazer-Nash about three or four months ago, which is a very high-end advisory and consulting company with a keen focus on defense and energy. It’s a well known brand in the U.K. and Australia.
We’re just really excited to have them on board because our partnership is going to take our international business to the next level. They’ve been a great part of the team and we’ve been very collaborative. With similar cultures and values, our two companies are very well aligned.”