Patrick Murphy, president and CEO of Axient, recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz for the publication’s latest Executive Spotlight interview discussing the rebranding of the company and how it supports Axient’s innovation efforts and its customers’ missions.
In addition, Murphy also discussed the company’s advancement in digital engineering and emerging technology, the strategic organization of the company as well as its significant growth and the impact of Axient’s company culture.
“It is extremely important for us to maintain our focus on our customers and employees and keep that small business heritage and culture from each of our legacy companies. We bring this heritage to Axient while being able to offer large business opportunities and career growth for employees and more comprehensive and developed solutions for our customers.”
You can read the full Executive Spotlight with Patrick Murphy below:
ExecutiveBiz: What can you tell us about the rebranding of Axient in the federal market now that six months have passed? How do you feel the Axient brand has been able to augment your customers’ missions, offer innovation in digital engineering and advanced technologies and establish its place in the federal market?
Patrick Murphy: “We’ve been lucky with the reestablishment of in-person conferences and meetings as it’s allowed us the opportunity to go full speed ahead with our branding and marketing efforts. We’ve been very active in getting our new brand out in the marketplace. We are so excited that our customers and partners are now recognizing us and our new brand and know who we are during meetings and at conferences.
There are less questions about who we are and more about what we can do. They are also recognizing and understanding the significant increase in our capabilities with the combination of the legacy companies, as well as the significant bench of technical expertise, subject matter experts, and potential new solutions to solve their problems and further their missions with Axient. We have always prided ourselves on and now possess even more strength to accelerate innovation for our customers across our capability sets.
We didn’t just rebrand as Axient. We reformulated and purpose-built Axient to address our customer’s most critical needs and aligned our business to deliver our innovations and capabilities across our entire customer base.
Our mission is to be the catalyst for accelerating our customers’ missions and our employees’ careers through leading edge engineering services and solutions. Key to accomplishing this mission is our agility and innovation in being able to quickly adapt to changing customer requirements and/or mission priorities.
We are nearly 95 percent complete with our integration and have spent considerable effort defining and implementing our solutions and innovations in a very agile and cross-enterprise way. Cross enterprise collaboration and sharing of resources are at the core of how we operate and deliver our capabilities. This helps cross-domain integration and interoperability of solutions and capabilities to deliver to our customers.
When we combined these companies, we found great synergies and complementary capabilities and innovations that added significant depth to our customer offerings. Digital engineering is one area in particular. We have a long heritage of developing and employing digital and model-based techniques.
We are integrating our numerous digital and model-based engineering efforts into a single, tailorable, and adaptable process with discriminating tools that can help our customers accelerate their developments, bring knowledge and design insight earlier in the development cycle, and enhance interoperability. We continue to invest in and prioritize digital engineering for our customers to ensure we are a leader in the market in this area.
Another area is in the space domain where we have focused our investments on adapting our small sat SWIL/HWIL testbed to be more flexible and extensible to all spacecraft solutions and portability. This capability is built on established simulation frameworks used by NASA and the Army for their HWIL capabilities.
The benefit is early, iterative development, which gives users the ability to get data on interfaces and hardware selections before building hardware. In addition, it helps during the integration process and provides high fidelity models/environments that operate at the speed of hardware for very realistic emulation of spacecraft operations.
We have also expanded our space system mission design lab toolset for extension into more use cases and depth of analyses. We developed this capability leveraging both COTS and GOTS toolsets with digital engineering and model-based techniques to provide a flexible, open-source toolset that is easily extensible to integrate with other systems and models.
These types of innovations and forward-thinking solutions are typical of what we provide our customers.”
ExecutiveBiz: Axient has doubled its size with the Millennium merger. What can you tell us about the strategic organization of the company and the senior leadership for Axient to keep up that significant company growth and build the new company’s infrastructure and brand?
Patrick Murphy: “The benefit of bringing four market-leading companies together is the level of skill and talent we have to move the integrated Axient forward. Our well-aligned cultures and organizations allowed us to keep all of the key leadership from each company and place them in positions to continue to lead, thrive, and grow without any disruption to the workforce and leadership.
Our Executive Leadership has the experience of operating and growing as a large business, but also the employee focus that is usually associated with a small business. Our current organization was designed to deliver the right expertise and customer knowledge on current and future contracts.
We have chosen senior leadership for their demonstrated experience and success in customer-focused organizations and delivering value to their customers under their purview. These individuals, as well as our functional leadership, have had impressive careers and are experienced professionals in building, supporting, and leading high-functioning teams.
We also invested in infrastructure for business operations efficiency and scalability to deliver more efficiency and value to our customers. This translates to an optimized agile infrastructure to support our customer programs of any size and complexity.
We structured our operational segments around lines of business and customer expertise and used a best athlete approach to select and instill our leadership. We were able to synergistically combine those areas with common customers and missions for added depth of capability and wider scope of subject matter expertise with an unrestricted ability to cross-deliver to our customers.
We established five distinct business segments in the spring and they are up and operating and growing as we intended. Our advanced technologies segment was also established to develop innovative technology solutions for cross-company integration and to further advance existing high-technology solutions with and for our customers.”
ExecutiveBiz: What can you tell us about the work your bid/proposal teams and business development organizations are doing to continue driving the critical missions for our military service branches as well as continue the work that Millennium brought over from the Space Force, MDA and NASA?
Patrick Murphy: “This is one area we focused considerable attention on and ensured it was not adversely impacted by our high OPTEMPO integration efforts. Our previous organizations brought robust, proven business development processes and expertise that fueled their historical growth. We took the opportunity to right-size and augment our business development capability to match our current organization and current and future customer sets.
We manage a very large new business pipeline across a broad customer set to include the DoD, civilian agencies, and several commercial customers. With our increased depth and capabilities, we are consistently finding customer and product adjacencies that are fueling our opportunity identification, qualification, capture, and bid process.
We are proposing over $5B in new prime contract business over the next 18 months, and our proposal centers are staffed to manage this volume. We have a strong track record winning well over $1B in new contract backlog this year and more than 55% of proposed opportunities and expect to continue to win at that rate in the coming year.
We have also added significant capability to our entire business development organization – proposal management staff, capture leadership, and solution architects with the ability to conduct multiple simultaneous proposals.
Our BD team members are experts in their fields and have deep and extensive customer knowledge. Our Growth team is extremely busy, and we don’t see that slowing down in the future.”
ExecutiveBiz: As Axient continues to combine its global workforce, what are the core values that you’d like to represent your brand and drive your company culture? What are your current corporate and growth goals for the upcoming year?
Patrick Murphy: “Collective core values and culture are what propelled our legacy companies. It’s what makes us unique in the eyes of our current and future employees and our customers. Our company principles are agility, integrity, mission-driven expertise, innovation, and trust. These drive everything we do for our customers and our employees.
It is extremely important for us to maintain our focus on our customers and employees and keep that small business heritage and culture from each of our legacy companies. We bring this heritage to Axient while being able to offer large business opportunities and career growth for employees and more comprehensive and developed solutions for our customers.
We want Axient to be a leading catalyst for accelerating ‘what’s after next’ for our nation, customers, and employees. To do this, we will continue to develop and acquire leading-edge engineering services and solutions that accelerate and enhance our ability to deliver customer missions while empowering and strengthening our people.
We have worked very hard to complete our integration efforts this year and look to 2022 to bear the fruits of that effort. As a fully integrated company, we will continue exceptional delivery to our customers, as well as remain a top place to work for our employees. We will also continue to look to deliver our integrated capabilities across all of our portfolios.
For 2022 and 2023, we have set our sights on a combination of organic and inorganic growth. Organically, we achieved a book to bill of over 2.0 during 2021 and have set that goal for 2022. Our increased size and capabilities give us a great opportunity to move up our customers’ value chains and deliver greatly enhanced solutions and talent.
We remain very active in the M&A market for businesses that align with our strategic plans and, just as important, fit within our culture. The future is bright for Axient.”