In May of this year, ACG National Capital presented its Corporate Growth Awards to the deal teams, growth companies and deals that were considered among the finest in the region over the course of the previous year. These awards celebrate companies that executed on the best growth plans and built their companies organically, through smart deals, or via a combination of both.
One of the companies that took home a Corporate Growth Award this year was federal government systems integrator and provider of IT services and products to the federal government, Trowbridge. What was somewhat unique about Trowbridge, aside from it being a woman-owned small business in a very male-dominated industry, was the fact that much of its impressive growth has been organic.
We recently sat down with the CEO of Trowbridge, Karen Trowbridge, to learn more about the company’s growth, why organic growth was the right strategy for the company and where Trowbridge is going next.
Here is what Karen had to say:
Corporate Growth, Capital Style (CGCS): Can you tell our readers about Trowbridge and its services? What does the company do and which industries/markets does it service?
Karen Trowbridge: Trowbridge is a mid-tier technology solutions provider focusing on cybersecurity, cloud, applications and IT modernization and transformation. We exclusively support the US federal government. We have a large footprint in the Defense market across all service branches and DISA, and we support the intelligence community and a few select federal civilian agencies as well.
CGCS: Trowbridge was a recipient of an ACG Corporate Growth Award this year and has been named to the Inc. 5000 List of Fastest Growing Companies for four years in a row. Has this award-winning growth been mostly organic growth, or has it been driven by acquisitions, mergers and other corporate growth activity over the past several years?
Karen Trowbridge: It has been entirely through organic growth. In the beginning of the company’s founding we acquired a small business, back in 2010, to serve as a platform, and in 2014 we completed an asset purchase to acquire a strategic contract vehicle. But, beyond that, our growth has been a result of internal business development though new awards or contract expansions.
CGCS: In a time of massive consolidation within the government contracting and IT services space, why has Trowbridge elected to focus on organic growth?
Karen Trowbridge: That’s a great question – it was an intentional decision based on our growth strategy. Our initial acquisition in 2010 gave us a nice starting point to continue to grow and leverage the small business and woman-owned small business set side programs to build size, scale and capabilities. As we grew under the small business program, we were able to make required investments in our infrastructure, management team, and solutions to ensure we would be well positioned for continued success after our graduation into the mid-tier market.
Had we grown abusively, we would have potentially graduated prematurely. One of the reasons we decided to hold off on any other acquisitions until this current moment is because we really wanted to leverage the woman-owned small business set-aside program and the small business program.
We also felt that organic growth was a natural strategy for us given who we are as a company. We pride ourselves on fostering a very strong corporate culture that nurtures employee engagement and customer satisfaction at every turn. When done successfully, it becomes easier to earn repeat business and strong past performance to win new opportunities.
That being said, M&A is certainly in our strategic plan going forward.
CGCS: Why is Trowbridge growing so quickly? To what do you attribute the company’s success?
Karen Trowbridge: First and foremost, it’s our team – the cohesiveness, dedication, commitment and talent our of management and staff is unmatched. Beyond that, our growth can probably be attributed to three factors; building diverse capabilities early on; making investments in business development and prime contract vehicles; and consistently delivering an exceptional level of service. It’s important to us that our customers, employees and industry partners trust and enjoy working with us.
We are also exceedingly agile as an organization, which allows us to move quickly and pivot seamlessly in response to growth opportunities.
CGCS: What type of work is Trowbridge doing in support of defense cloud programs and initiatives?
Karen Trowbridge: Over the last three years we have developed a strong cloud practice – especially for our Defense customers. Trowbridge provides the full lifecycle of cloud services to our customers. We perform the strategy, planning and readiness – and then we also complete the engineering and implementation.
CGCS: The company has announced multiple IT management and modernization contract wins across various government organizations and agencies. What is driving this interest in IT modernization in the federal government and military? Why are agencies turning to private sector and commercial partners – such as Trowbridge – to assist them in these initiatives?
Karen Trowbridge: We consider IT modernization as the core of what we do. Recently, between the federal cloud-first mandate and the Modernizing Government Technology Act, we’re seeing a more holistic approach to how government assesses their requirements, and this is starting to trickle down into RFPs and specific contracts.
Aside from mandates, we’re seeing agencies looking to modernize to help build and run cloud applications and deliver applications to the edge. They’re looking to build security and cyber security into application development earlier in the process. There is also a growing demand for data analytics solutions.
Ultimately, our job is to stay on top of the trends and help our customers meet their objectives more effectively through technology – implementing the new, modern systems that they need to accomplish their missions.
CGCS: In a recent press release announcing the appointment of Joe Mayo to the position of Vice President of Civilian Programs, Cass Panciocco said that Joe’s addition would enable Trowbridge to, “…continue our growth initiatives and enter new customer segments.” Which “new customer segments” was Cass referring to? Why is there so much potential for growth in these segments?
Karen Trowbridge: Our primary focus moving forward is to leverage our success and experience in Defense and FedCiv areas into the national security space. Expanding into DHS, law enforcement agencies and other federal civilian agencies that compliment the capabilities that we currently have – that is our focus for the immediate future.
To learn more about Trowbridge and why they’re such a fast growing provider of IT products and services to the federal government, click HERE. To learn more about this year’s Corporate Growth Awards, click HERE.