In our previous member spotlight, we had the pleasure of connecting with Terry McGovern, Senior Vice President – Finance & Treasurer for ICF International, Inc.  Terry opened up on his distinctive background in corporate finance and his current senior management role.

This week we had the pleasure to connect with Greg Woodford, Managing Director with BB&T Capital Markets | Windsor Group. Greg opens up on his unique transition from liberal arts to finance, and the success he’s achieved.

Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

I was always interested in a career in finance but took a bit of a different path since I chose English as my major at the University of Richmond. Of course, having such a degree has its advantages in the world of finance, since a great deal of my time is spent communicating; reading, writing and speaking.   After graduation I went on to pursue an MBA at the University of Maryland with a concentration in finance. I’ve been in the finance world for 20 years now, 14 of those with BB&T Capital Markets | Windsor Group.

Early in my career, I gained valuable experience as an equity research analyst covering growth companies. I spent a lot of time analyzing businesses, meeting with executives to understand their business model and the prospects for the company, and selling the research to large institutional investors. It was a really exciting role – I was in my early 20’s so it was a wonderful experience to be able to sit down with business owners and have the chance to interview them about their companies.

What’s been a highlight of your career that helped you get to where you are today?

A key moment for me was when I made the transition from equity research analyst to investment banking. As a research analyst you spend a considerable amount of time in front of a computer; I realized the part of the job I really enjoyed was meeting with companies and analyzing their strengths and weaknesses. I applied for a position with the Windsor Group (then Boles Knop & Company), which was a small startup investment bank based in Middleburg, Va., I was the second employee hired in the company’s government contracting group, and it was a bit of a risk.

Initially, my family was concerned about me leaving a large company to go work for a company that was not as established at the time. I took a bit of a leap of faith however, and it ultimately paid off.  We quickly grew the team to 17 bankers and Windsor Group was acquired by BB&T Capital Markets in 2005.

What does your firm focus on and how does your role impact the organization?

We are unique in that we are a boutique investment bank that is part of one of the largest commercial banks in the U.S. This allows us to offer a full spectrum of services for the government contracting community. Our focus remains merger and acquisition advisory services, but as part of BB&T Corporation we also raise capital for companies (public and private equity and debt), we lend to hundreds of government contractors; and we provide valuation services. Our goal is to build relationships with high quality companies and act as a resource to support their growth, from early stage to exit.

We have close to 20 investment bankers focused on the Aerospace, Defense and Government Services market which makes us one of the largest groups in the country dedicated to this industry.

Can you describe your relationship with ACG National Capital? How has being a member factored in your career?

Our company has been an active participant and one of the major sponsors of the ACG National Capital chapter for over a decade. This particular chapter has been especially important to us as an organization given the networking opportunities and the chance to meet executives from the government contracting industry.

The chapter does a really good job of bringing in a diverse set of speakers for their events and monthly meetings. It’s very interesting to hear speakers who are not focused on the defense industry, as they often share a unique perspective.

We understand you were recently named to the ACG National Capital Board of Directors. What are your ambitions and/or expectations while serving on the board?

Given that BB&T works with hundreds of middle market companies I am particularly focused on using these resources to help grow the chapter’s membership. I think ACG is a tremendous organization that can help companies achieve their growth objectives through educational events, meeting other executives, and leveraging the many networking opportunities the chapter provides.  Given the difficult environment that Government Contractors are facing today I think ACG can be even more beneficial for companies that might be struggling and can benefit from the resources that ACG provides.