The right fit
NuWave Solutions is picky in choosing new employees
NuWave Solutions LLC is constantly on the lookout for employees who fit its culture.
“We are very specific with who we hire. We look for people that want to grow with the company and stay with us,” says Ryan Legge, executive vice president. “We look for self-motivated folks that strive to better their skills as well as the profile of the company.”
NuWave provides data analytics to public-sector customers. “What we look to do is help leaders improve efficiency, agility and productivity for their organization,” Legge says.
When they started NuWave in 1999, founders Howard Block, Mark Keyser and Rob Castle wanted to create a family-oriented corporate culture. “They wanted to give employees a voice in how the company runs,” Legge says.
With that goal in mind, the company offers employees leadership training. It also has an employee advisory council where NuWave leaders can solicit employees’ opinions on certain matters. “If we are going to entertain policy change, we will run it by this group,” Legge says.
The company also provides expenses-paid company trips for employees and their guests to places such as Cancun, the Bahamas, Florida and Las Vegas. “We also have a holiday party, company summer picnic, roving happy hours, birthday gift packages and new-hire welcome gifts,” Legge says.
Benefits include a program in which each employee can expense one lunch a month with another employee who is on a different project. “That helps all of our consultants get to know each other both professionally and personally,” Legge says.
The company also invests heavily in training, providing a certification bonus program, tuition reimbursement and a tailored training plan. It is converting its headquarters into an Analytics Center of Excellence. It will serve as an innovation lab as well as a training center where employees can train and try out new technologies. “We can also demonstrate the latest technology for clients,” Legge says.
NuWave mainly works with the U.S. Department of Defense and federal civilian departments, such as the U.S. Department of Justice and the Export-Import Bank of the United States. Customers also include local and state governments.
One of its largest customers is the U.S. Army. NuWave provides it with enterprise business intelligence and data analytics. “In the project we are leading, we are pulling data from 50-plus data sources across the Army into one application so senior Army leaders can make more informed decisions,” says Legge.
For years, NuWave remained small with only about 15 employees. That situation began to change about five years ago. “We started to have more customers come to us for work,” Legge says. “Expanding was always with the intent of growing the right way.”
It now has about 50 employees, 90 percent of whom work at its McLean headquarters. The remaining 10 percent work at its Columbia, Md., location, which NuWave opened seven years ago. “We are proud of the fact that, when employees join the company, they stay with us for a long time,” Legge says.
Finding employees with the right credentials can be a challenge, he adds. “Many of our employees have security clearances, and there is a small pool of applicants that already have a security clearance,” he says.
In the last five years NuWave has averaged 10 to 20 percent annual revenue growth. Business can fluctuate, however, because of government spending cuts. Federal, local and state governments can alter their spending habits as well as the products they use. “Also a different administration can make things fluctuate,” Legge says.
Since its founding, the company has encouraged employees to give back to the community. It supports several local and national organizations through its charitable giving. They include Operation Renewed Hope Foundation (supporting homeless veterans), Lungevity (combating lung cancer) and Mission of Mercy a (mobile health-care clinic). The company provides Christmas gifts to needy Fairfax County school children.
“We pick charities that are dear to our hearts,” Legge says. “Employees can come up with programs as well. We love to see employees get passionate about charities.”