Barry Broadus, chief financial officer of ICF, recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz about joining the company as its CFO, his strategic growth goals and how recent acquisitions and partnerships have helped drive innovation and mission goals in the federal sector during the latest Executive Spotlight interview.
You can read the full interview with Barry Broadus below.
ExecutiveBiz: Congrats on your new role at ICF! Why did you want to join the company and what were the attributes of its mission that attracted you to the role? What do you hope to accomplish with the company?
Barry Broadus: “ICF was always a company that caught my eye and based on their portfolio and performance, I had a natural curiosity about its work.
I spent a large part of my career working for companies that provide technology solutions to federal agencies, and ICF has always been a prominent player in the space. From afar, I saw ICF having good year-over-year performances, but my interest in the company really increased in the past few years as they executed an ambitious vision to grow the scope of their services and expand into new markets.
As I started to get to know the people here, the company became more and more interesting. I was excited at the prospect of joining the team for many reasons, but two stood out. First, they have an incredibly unique growth story, having doubled in size every five years for the past 20 years. In the past eight months alone, ICF completed four acquisitions and set the stage for additional growth to come. On the heels of this momentum, I was drawn to the opportunity to be a part of this exciting future.
Second, ICF is known as a firm that works to solve the world’s hardest problems. They have a strong reputation for being a purpose-driven organization, with services that span climate and energy initiatives, as well as health, environmental, infrastructure, and more. Across all of these areas, ICF is providing game-changing transformational solutions to help clients make a difference. This drive to generate solutions that help make the world a better place was another major reason why I wanted to join the company.
From a personal perspective, I was also attracted to the culture, which ties back to the focus on solving hard problems. When I first joined, I was told that we ‘bring capabilities with heart.’ And now that I’m here, I see that’s true. In my role as CFO, I’m working to leverage my financial experience to contribute to this mission and the work ICF does for its clients and markets. All the while, I’ll be helping us continue to pursue growth opportunities and support additional value creation for the company.
ExecutiveBiz: What can you tell us about the company’s recent growth initiatives? What do you hope to accomplish and any new markets that you’re keeping an eye on in the federal sector?
Barry Broadus: “In the first months at ICF, I’ve made a point to assess the business from multiple angles — who are the key customers, what are the problems we’re solving, where are there opportunities for new growth? It’s apparent that a strength of ours — and a key growth initiative — is our broad and diverse portfolio.
As I mentioned before, one of ICF’s main characteristics is that we do so many different types of work for so many different types of clients. The fact that we have a highly diverse client set and a comprehensive solution set allows us to have business stability and resilience as we look to expand our capabilities even more.
We have found that to maintain a strategic position—even with our longstanding clients—we need to provide a stronger technology offering. We have done this organically in some areas, but also through a recent series of acquisitions. In 2020, ICF acquired ITG.
We brought in ESAC as well as Creative Systems and Consulting the next year and acquired a company called SemanticBits in July 2022. All of these companies bring advanced, industry-leading technology capabilities to ICF. We now have improved, stronger competencies in IT modernization, cloud migration, data analytics, infrastructure, energy, and much more.
This month, we also announced the purchase of Blanton and Associates, marking our fourth acquisition in the past eight months. Blanton helps us grow our environmental planning footprint in key geographic locations, like Texas, and better support state and local clients as they tackle new, more complex infrastructure projects.
The result of these growth efforts is the ability to provide end-to-end services for clients where we can go in and partner with them on solving bigger, more meaningful challenges.
Looking at the trajectory of our organic growth, ICF having these new capabilities enables us to continue broadening our horizons and enhancing the value we bring to clients. It’s an ongoing, company-wide effort that feels extremely well-positioned to capitalize on.”
ExecutiveBiz: How have recent acquisitions and partnerships been able to assist your company expand its position in the federal marketplace, drive innovation and new capabilities, and ultimately help complete your company’s mission?
Barry Broadus: “From a bigger picture perspective, our recent acquisitions have immediately expanded our ability to rapidly support federal civilian agencies with larger and more complex data management projects.
One of the other interesting aspects driven by our recent acquisitions, like Creative Systems and SemanticBits, is the expansion of our IT modernization expertise and the relationships we’ve developed with Salesforce, ServiceNow, and Appian. The collaborative nature of these relationships has helped us expand our capabilities and offerings. Today, ICF is seen as one of, if not THE, leading provider of low-code, no-code solutions and leveraging these kinds of software applications for client services.
When we talk about growth in the public sector arena, a big part of why ICF has been so successful is because of our deep technical knowledge and domain expertise. We speak our client’s language to help them understand everything, then we can develop those solutions from the technical side.
SemanticBits, for example, represents the next step in our efforts to offer deeper domain expertise by growing our cloud-native, open-source solutions portfolio. These initiatives also will help us deliver more positive impact, especially in areas like federal health services, a particularly important sector as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Going after larger and more complex projects also means tackling larger and more complex challenges. Our increased ability to support our clients in meeting their missions, in turn, helps us meet our own purpose of building a more prosperous and resilient world for all.
At the company level, one of the more interesting challenges we’re all working through in today’s market is the need for talent, as the demand for labor is at an all-time high for industry and the federal government. We all know how critical obtaining and retaining talent is moving forward.
As we move forward, there’s a sense of urgency to be more adaptable and flexible to the overall workforce. I believe that is an advantage for companies or agencies to show that they are in fact flexible and adaptive to today’s market. That shows a lot to potential employees and top talent.
ICF has shown, especially throughout the pandemic, our ability to be flexible to work on a range of different platforms and work environments. We’ve adapted to remote work or office work and everything on the client side of things. Where we can be flexible, ICF is flexible. This mindset is helping us remain in a position where we can bring on top talent across the industries we operate in and continue to push the envelope with the kinds of projects and expertise we’re able to offer.
Overall, we’re in a very exciting time at ICF characterized by rapid growth, expanded capabilities, and a robust client set. I’m thrilled to be part of the team and look forward to playing a part in helping the company continue to build its momentum in the months and years ahead.”