‘Outperform the competition’

Firm’s goal is an 80 percent win rate on proposals

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Print this page by M.J. McAteer

Integrity Management Consulting, McLean

Last year, Integrity Management Consulting placed second on the Fantastic 50 list of the fastest-growing companies in the commonwealth. This year, the McLean-based company came in at No. 1, thanks to a phenomenal growth rate of more than 2,165 percent from 2008 through 2011, the years covered by the Fantastic 50 list. Last year, revenues rose to $15.03 million.

Such success is nothing short of stunning, but skeptics might wonder whether Integrity can sustain it. Its business is to help federal agencies manage their acquisitions, capital, investments and performance. Many federal contractors, spooked by the prospect of fewer dollars coming their way because of federal budget cuts, have been retrenching. Not Integrity.

“The market is getting tighter and more difficult, but our advantage is that while the competition is peeling back, we are investing heavily,” says CEO Christopher Romani, who in 2006 co-founded the company with his wife, Mary Beth, now the company’s chief strategic officer.

“Our focus is to outperform the competition,” he continues. “Someone is going to come out ahead, and we’re trying to be that someone.”

It helps, Romani admits, that Integrity’s focus has been on areas of government that are somewhat sheltered from the budget bluster, such as cyber security and management of health care for military personnel. Not all federal agencies are seeing deep budget cuts, he says. Integrity clients include the departments of Homeland Security, Defense, and Health and Human Services, and the General Services and Transportation Security administrations.

It also helps that Integrity already has contracts that can carry it comfortably through the next couple of years, even if no new business comes its way. Romani has no intention of that happening, however. He says he is “focusing on more ways to capture opportunities,” and to that end, he has been investing in new databases and software that aid in market research. His goal is to have an 80 percent win rate on future proposals.

NewsTo keep up with those ambitious aims, Integrity has been expanding its staff, too, going from 69 employees last year to 93 today. One of its most integral new hires is Chief Financial Officer Marc Klein. “We’ve invested in an excellent CFO,” Romani says. “He’s a high-caliber, smart guy.”

Klein knows something about working for companies with momentum. Before coming to Integrity, he was finance director for High Performance Technologies during the five years in which it grew from $40 million to $100 million in annual revenue.

When Dynamics Research Corp. bought the company, Klein became the operations director for its $30 million, 100-employee science and technology unit.  “I wanted to get back to a fast-growing company. Integrity has a good history. It has a nice portfolio, solid financial stability and no debt. There’s lots of room to move.”

Since his arrival in September, Klein has been working on pricing strategies and an infrastructure that allows a rapid look at financials and fast feedback for project managers. His approach is “holistic, rather than just the bottom line,” he says.

Romani gives employees such as Klein plenty of input into the company and lots of credit for Integrity’s success. “Our people don’t just do what they are told to do,” he says. “They look to outperform other people on site, [finding] new ways to be successful.”

That shared commitment, the CEO believes, has been at the root of Integrity’s super-charged growth and should allow the company to continue to flourish even when competitors may founder. “Every contract we have, we won through head-on competition,” he says. “We’ve had no special set-aside status, and we are very proud of that.”

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