C&S Companies Lean Into Change with Market Intelligence from GovWin IQ

November 22, 2022
C&S Companies Lean into Change with Market Intelligence from GovWin IQ

Deltek’s customers include a number of businesses excelling in the government contracting space with the help of GovWin IQ, Deltek’s market intelligence platform, by embracing transformational trends and innovative technology. C&S Companies is one of those businesses. As an architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) firm that offers its services to both federal and SLED (state, local and education) governments, they have needed to lean in to change to thrive in uncertain times.

Recently we spoke to Nick Cerro, VP of Marketing and Business Development at C&S Companies, to discuss some of the government trends his team has seen in recent years and how his business has adapted. He spoke on how his company has become more productive and efficient in some non-traditional ways, such as embracing remote work and hybrid work, and have seen benefits from the technology that has been applied to help foster that. Below is a summary of that conversation.

Deltek: Tell us a little bit about your company and your role.

Cerro: We’re a full service AEC company, we do have offices across the country. I’m based in Syracuse NY, which is our headquarters, and I get involved in all aspects of growth for the company, strategic planning on the marketing BD (business development) side to actually getting out there in the trenches and bringing in new work. We do vertical facilities, design and construction management, both in the SLED area and the federal market as well.

Deltek: How have you adjusted to what’s being termed as a “new normal” in business?

Cerro: We’re doing as well as can be expected. But I do think it’s taken some toll on us all and there’s some COVID-wariness hovering. We are dealing with that. I fully agree that we’re not sure what the new normal means, that’s a work in progress. And some things impacting our business started even before the pandemic – I would say the generational impact on our industry, first the millennials and now Gen Z influencing and changing the way we work in some respects. We have the impacts of the diversity, equity and inclusion movement that was happening simultaneously. All of these things are impacting how we look at our business and how we go forward.

Deltek: Is there anything you’d define as a best practice, something you’ve done particularly well that you can continue doing?

Cerro: I think our organization has always been transparent and communicative with our staff and partners, but I think we took it to another level during the pandemic. It started from the top down, our CEO at the height of the pandemic did a weekly video update to inform people of what was going on. And that cascaded down through the rest of the leadership. People understood during times like these, you can’t over-communicate with your people. It’s worked out really well and it’s been a two-way street, with feedback coming in internally that has been helpful to shape our procedures and policies.

On the business development side, we’ve focused on staying in touch with customers and teammates, just to see how they’re doing, not just professionally but personally as well. When we’ve done pre-proposal meetings on this type of forum, we’ve done virtual interviews, and it’s been good to know those kinds of options are available. There have been more opportunities to get in front of people and have productive dialogue.

Deltek: On the flip side of that, are there any challenges your business will continue to work on?

Cerro: One of the challenges in markets for us like higher education and healthcare, these industries are still reshaping their new normals as well. There’s the need for us to go along for the ride and figure out what they’re figuring out – and that goes back to staying in touch with folks and working with them. In several of the states we work, with higher education, they had problems when kids weren’t on campus. In the meantime, a lot of funding disappeared for these folks, so there’s struggles there. In healthcare, a lot of these organizations were busy handling COVID-related issues and maybe not thinking ahead to other things in their capital plans. There’s a little lag effect there.

One other thing I’d mention on the federal side: We’re a medium-sized company, and we’re out there competing with much larger firms and smaller, boutique firms, small businesses that have set-aside programs available to them and we’re somewhere in the middle. This is no different than before the pandemic, but we do have to strengthen our networks, look for more teaming opportunities where either we support a small business or can ourselves bring something special to a larger company. We can’t necessarily be the prime firm on every new project, but maybe we can participate in some other meaningful way.

Deltek: What is the key takeaway in your usage of GovWin IQ, something that you would stress beyond everything else?

Cerro: There’s a lot there. I really appreciate the filtering of opportunities customized to what I’m looking for, both in the SLED markets and in the federal space. Getting those daily emails. Beyond the opportunities themselves, getting the backup information on incumbent contracts, expiration dates, and capital plans being published. There’s so much good information wrapped up in there if you know where to find it.


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