John Wasson, CEO of ICF and a two-time Wash100 Award recipient, recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz for the publication’s latest Executive Spotlight interview detailing ICF’s significant growth through key acquisitions, company culture, its focus on public health and more.
“I’m John Wasson and I’ve been the chairman and CEO of ICF since 2019, but have been at the company for 35 years. I joined as an entry level associate out of graduate school and have held many different roles over that time.
We’re about a $1.5 billion company and we certainly have seen a nice jump recently in organic growth of about seven percent in service revenue. There are five key growth markets that we’re focused on such as: Commercial Energy, IT modernization, Public Health, Climate and Disaster Management.”
You can read the full Executive Spotlight interview with John Wasson below:
ExecutiveBiz: Congrats on the recent acquisition of ESAC, what can you tell us about the merging of the two company cultures and how the acquisition will drive ICF growth in the public sector market?
“With the ESAC acquisition, their area of focus is based around advanced health analytics and providing complex health technology solutions to help manage large research data sets, which includes research data management and bioinformatics solutions. They’re really focused on advanced analytical tools and how to utilize them to inform health technology solutions.
They really brought the data analytics set of capabilities into ICF, which fills an important gap for us, especially with our deep domain expertise in public health and health markets as well as strong technology capabilities that will really help inform solutions for our federal clients.
A big part of their focus is centered around issues such as interoperability across the health IT system for our federal health clients. The concept is how do you share and leverage data across various databases in the federal arena, make them more accessible and gain more insights from the data at hand.
They can use our analytical tools to ensure that future healthcare also has higher quality standards based on metric-driven data. I think all of this will allow us to provide even more unique solutions for our clients as we look forward. In addition, we’re strong believers in culture. We manage our culture carefully because it’s the glue that binds us.
Culture is a major factor when we look at potential acquisitions. We want to make sure we have a strong cultural fit, which is the first hurdle that we have to get over and assess. The next aspect is finding another company that is very passionate about what they do to get the emotional energy of their people around the content of the work.
For ESAC, I think they bring a lot of innovation to our solutions for our customers, which is a great fit for ICF. They have a number of folks that come from a variety of different backgrounds and skills from the health domain to analytics to data management.
One of the things we really focus on with acquisitions is meshing our revenue synergies. We really see some opportunities to get those synergies with ESAC, especially with public health and public health data analytics.”
ExecutiveBiz: With other key acquisitions and contract awards surrounding federal health and a strong focus in health surveillance capabilities, how would you describe ICF’s push into the federal health sector and the advancement of the company’s work with the HHS and other federal agencies?
“On the health front, HHS is our largest client that makes up roughly 18 percent of our revenues and we have a long history of working with the department. We do a broad scale of work related to public health at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institute of Health (NIH).
Our work is well known and we have a long history of doing domain-oriented work with clients in the public health arena by leveraging our deep expertise in the subject matter through our public health experts.
For our clients, we can do the front-end advisory work, design their programs, do research and policy analysis as well as help with their market strategies. All while leveraging technology, digital engagement and analytical capabilities.
For COVID-19-related activities, we’ve been supporting HHS across numerous projects and even helped develop the ‘Bio-Sense’ program which focuses on health surveillance.”
ExecutiveBiz: Also, congrats on the most recent acquisition of Creative Systems and Consulting! What can you tell us about bringing over their 270-person team and the impact it will have on ICF’s digital transformation efforts?
“Creative Systems and Consulting is focused on providing federal agencies with the full suite of digital transformation capabilities. That’s digital strategy, cloud and infrastructure solutions as well as customer experience and data analytics. They greatly expand our federal IT modernization and digital transformation efforts, bring substantial benefits and expertise to us and scale our capabilities.
In addition, we’ll be able to offer implementation practices across the three most highly sought- after low code, no code platforms in the public sector. Those are Salesforce, ServiceNow and Appian, which was the true logic behind the acquisition as it puts us in a leadership position on the IT modernization front.
I think the thing with IT modernization is the broad push across the entire federal government to modernize IT infrastructure and systems. Many agencies are running systems that can be 30 to 40 years old. There’s an urgent need to update and modernize those systems into the modern era and use advanced capabilities to help meet missions.
The federal government is working around the clock to fund and make that happen. I’d say we’re in the third or fourth inning of the technological shift and we can bring our unique deep domain expertise to help them accelerate the process.
ExecutiveBiz: With 2022 on the horizon, what are your most significant goals to continue to push organic growth for ICF? Where are you hoping to drive new opportunities?
“Among all the challenges we’re taking on these days, we’re really pleased with the significant growth across 2021. It’s a time where we see a lot of opportunities to market and get our hands on key growth drivers in our industry.
As I mentioned, we’re heavily focused on IT modernization, public health, commercial energy, climate and disaster management. These are the areas where we see the biggest potential growth opportunities heading into next year to keep our trajectory moving.
We are quite optimistic about the next year. As we grow, we will invest in our people and provide them with the opportunities they need to be successful and motivated. We’re very bullish on the future.”