by Heather B. Hayes
Fairfax-based technology services provider ICF International didn’t have to search very far for an acquisition that could help ICF grow its commercial footprint and boost its expertise in social media and mobile technologies. In December, ICF purchased Ironworks Consulting LLC, a 10-year-old interactive Web development firm in western Henrico County, for $100 million cash.
“There are a lot of similarities between the two firms, but just as importantly, there are a lot of complementary strengths that we can provide to their existing clients and that they can offer to ours,” says Dr. Douglas Beck, senior vice president for ICF. “It’s an excellent match, and one that will really help us succeed in our goals moving forward.”
ICF, which had $764.7 million in revenue in 2010, provides strategic communications, systems integration and other technology services, including traditional website development, for a largely government customer base. Its clients include defense, homeland security, energy and public health agencies, as well as private-sector firms in related markets.
By contrast, Ironworks, with 250 employees in five offices in Virginia and $57 million in revenues in 2011, focuses on building interactive websites and portals that enable customer engagement solutions across Web, mobile and social media platforms. Its primary customers are in the health, energy and financial services industries, as well as related government agencies.
“Ironworks is as good as anybody in the business at creating what is known as a positive customer experience,” Beck says. “To have a firm that is really on top of the new social and interactive technologies can and will benefit us in a number of ways with our existing clients.”
Specifically, he says, the acquisition gives ICF entry into the fastest-growing private-sector industries, such as commercial health care and energy. The company also gives ICF new selling opportunities in the federal, commercial and nonprofit markets.
The new ICF-Ironworks Division will remain based in the Richmond area and all employees will be kept on. Former Ironworks CEO Scott Walker will head the new division.
ICF has taken a number of steps in the past year to increase its footprint in Virginia. Last June, the company, which has more than 4,000 employees in offices on four continents, opened a $15 million operations center in Henry County, creating 539 jobs. With the Ironworks acquisition, more than 1,300 ICF employees are now based in Virginia, according to Beck.
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