Recently, ExecutiveBiz had the opportunity to speak with Frank Sturek, chief development officer for Skyepoint Decisions, to discuss his role, Skyepoint’s current shift into prime contracting, the company’s growth since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and the major benefits that growth has given to its customers.
“One of the biggest benefits we offer to customers right now is our cybersecurity expertise and federal cybersecurity services experience on existing and recent programs. Our core business is cybersecurity architecture and engineering, which positions us very well in the current environment and well into the future.”
You can read the full Executive Spotlight with Frank Sturek below:
ExecutiveBiz: Since joining the company just over a year ago, how do you feel you’ve been able to help the company grow since last year and the impact you’ve had in your role?
“I was hired during COVID, so it was a weird time for everybody. I didn’t personally meet the owner of SkyePoint Decisions, Bo Kimbrough, until about a month and a half after I was hired. However, straight away, I really liked the culture. I liked the focus on delivery excellence, and I could see the leadership team was the driving force behind that culture of excellence.
I understood early on that SkyePoint was at a pivot point. For more than a decade the existing leadership team, under the direction of Bo Kimbrough, built a company focused on high-end IT services through subcontracting opportunities and being a good partner to large business integrators supporting the Department of State, our most important customer. Our core business offerings were enterprise IT infrastructure services and cybersecurity.
This growth strategy delivered steady growth until we reached 100 employees and then we started to plateau. We needed to figure out how to win prime contracts because that’s where you can control your own destiny and drive growth. So the first thing we did when I arrived was develop a clear strategy to pursue and win prime contracts as the principal driver for SkyePoint’s future growth.
We first had to build the right team to execute the strategy. This required reorganizing and repurposing the existing BD staff, establishing new processes focused on supporting BD, Capture and proposal writing capabilities to win prime contracts, and purchasing new tools to enable those processes and the strategy.
Additionally, we included the corporate staff and our billable staff in the Business Development, Capture and Proposal Development process so that SkyePoint was “owning” the growth strategy throughout the company. The final pieces of the required team came into place once we hired a Capture Director and a Senior Proposal Manager. We then had the capability in the Growth Organization to identify, develop, shape, and win prime contract proposals, and the ability to scale to pursue more than one prime contract and attractive subcontract opportunities simultaneously.
Second, we decided to execute a strategy that shifted the focus to winning prime contracts solicited through best-in-class contract vehicles. In today’s GovCon market you have to have one of these best-in-class vehicles, designated by the Government Services Administration (GSA), to have the volume and of opportunities in the category of services you provide to bid and win. Increasingly, it’s where the majority of the work is being solicited in the Federal Government.
We realized success with new and existing customers as a prime would require some new strategic industry partnerships, and also require us to leverage some of the existing ones. We needed them to foster SkyePoint’s credibility as a prime to both new and existing customers, and give us a lower-risk prime offering where our capabilities and past performance strongly aligned with customer requirements and complemented our known, and customer-preferred, industry partner offerings.
In parallel to developing our partnerships, we invested in a dedicated social media marketing capability to communicate our brand, offerings, and capabilities and we’ve increased internal communications and awareness company-wide to build a growth-focused culture and mentality, where every employee is encouraged and incentivized to contribute to the company’s growth pursuits and success.
Lastly, we recently hired a Board of Advisors consisting of former small and large business GovCon executives that’s active and advising us on business decisions and our strategy for growth.”
ExecutiveBiz: How has your growth strategy benefited your customers specific needs and addressed the biggest challenges they face in the federal civilian (FedCiv) GovCon space and potentially in other federal sectors?
“One of the biggest benefits we offer to customers right now is our cybersecurity expertise and federal cybersecurity services experience on existing and recent programs. Our core business is cybersecurity architecture and engineering, which positions us very well in the current environment and well into the future. Cybersecurity is even more critical now because customers moved to a remote workforce model during the Pandemic which created more endpoints of access for bad actors and cyber threats.
If everyone in a company is now working from home, or in disparate places, it creates a serious problem with cybersecurity. Securing networks, data, and systems is at the top of every agency executive’s mind right now.”
We are also well-positioned to help our customers with their information technology (IT) modernization. Migrating key enterprise systems and applications to the cloud and optimizing application availability, efficiency, and effectiveness in the cloud are current services we provide customers today at the Department of State, the Defense Contract Audit Agency and at the Environmental Protection Agency.
Our Agency Anywhere® approach to Critical Infrastructure and Operations also provides proof of concept of new technologies in a test-before-field process through sophisticated customer or partner labs and delivers operational continuity and off-hour problem resolution utilizing our knowledge base, subject matter experts, and remote support capabilities.
We also can help customers identify what needs to be done on a government site apart from what can be done remotely. We tailor our customers’ IT modernization or modernized infrastructure to meet those needs and wrap the solution with comprehensive network security, networking flexibility, and operational efficiency resulting in lower administrative overhead and costs.
SkyePoint has a great history in mobile remote access long before it was cool and required for everyone. We developed a capability for the State Department called Global OpenNet (GO), which allowed the State Department’s 100,000+ users across 275 posts and 149 domestic locations to access the applications and systems necessary to do their jobs securely. We are well-positioned in this space to leverage our experience and capabilities to deliver value for our customers.
Our growth strategy is based on delivering our core capabilities as a prime contractor in the current environment and into the future. To be successful we must leverage the experience and capabilities of our highly capable technical workforce to win new work, and then attract, retain and develop new technical staff to provide the continued delivery excellence and scale in those core offerings.”
ExecutiveBiz: As you shift from subcontracting to winning prime contracts as well as utilizing federal and industry partnerships to drive growth, how will you continue to keep the core values that have made SkyePoint successful to this point?
“Here at SkyePoint, we Go (BIG) ‘begin in gratitude’ every day and with every project and task that we do. Also, everything that we do we deliver with excellence. That’s the core of who we are, it’s the culture, and it’s how we provide the SkyePoint difference. Our difference is that we are a focused, innovative and trusted partner. You have to have these values as your foundation to do that consistently.
In the end, the measure of a job well done is our ability to deliver mission success, recruit and retain top talent, and be responsive/user-centric. As our contracts and responsibilities grow, our attention to delivering stellar capabilities and experience at a high level remains critical to our success. We strive to manage through a style of leadership in which we create an environment where our people feel respected and are all committed to delivering excellence.
Our respect for employees and their work translates into our trust and respect with customers and our partnerships. We continue to reinforce that through our values, which in turn attracts top talent, more meaningful industry partnerships and new customers.
Our core values also act as the basic building blocks for success and growth because if you have trust from your customers, trust from your strategic partnerships, and you have your employees operating in an environment where they know they are valued, success will follow. In turn, employees are grateful for that respect and they know that delivering with excellence is the path to achieving personal metrics and helping the company achieve its growth goals.”
ExecutiveBiz: What was your mindset to build you team and establish the right culture to drive success for the company and continue to strive for new goals in the future?
“The most important aspect of team building is culture. Regardless if the new hire specializes in business development, administrative support, executive leadership, cybersecurity, cloud, infrastructure, or application development, they have to fit into the company’s culture to be successful. That culture is one of gratitude and delivery excellence.
It is gratitude for being valued for your contribution in a meeting, working on a project with your team, or working with partners to deliver excellence. Gratitude and delivery excellence is the cornerstone of our culture, and teams that buy-in to the culture deliver success.”
ExecutiveBiz: What are your goals and initiatives that you’re looking to focus on to drive SkyePoint for the rest of 2021 and beyond? What IT capabilities do you have your eye on?
“At the foundation of our growth strategy is the goal to shift to prime work and increase our access to more prime opportunities by winning additional best-in-class contract vehicles. We want to win a prime contract that will change the game for us. We want one that is significant, delivers one of our three core offerings and supports an agency in the federal civilian space where we play right now.
We want to foster that company growth by educating and training our workforce to embrace and meaningfully contribute to a growth culture, and then incentivize them to participate and deliver success. We are strengthening our zero-trust cybersecurity solutions by developing implementation strategies with strategic technology providers for our existing and targeted customers.
We are also trying to improve our software development workforce to the point where we can deliver applications to our customers through SecDevOps; the best practice of inserting coding deep inside the DevOps development and deployment processes where both developers and operations work toward creating software that is more secure.”