Veteran-Owned Business Carving Out Their Government Contracting Niche with Deltek
An Interview with Gary Martin, Managing Partner / CEO at ProCleared LLC
By connecting personnel with classified clearances to the government departments and agencies that need vetted talent to fulfill day-to-day mission operations, ProCleared LLC has identified a unique niche in the government contracting space. As a veteran himself, Managing Partner and CEO Gary Martin understands how having the right people, in the right places, at the right time, is critical for mission success.
Since 2011, ProCleared has taken the simple notion of we can do this better, and turned it into an 80-employee shop that has worked to place dozens of classified clearance candidates in the Department of Defense and intelligence communities. Martin often pulls from his military career to inspire a proud and loyal esprit de corps within ProCleared’s company culture and to advance its vision to become a leading provider of professional services, helping the government support its missions.
Q: What influenced your decision to leave your career in the military to become a small business owner?
Gary Martin: I got out of the military in early 2001 and took a job doing counternarcotics. After 9/11, I was recruited to Washington, D.C., to work with one of the agencies overseas to support the continuous operations that were happening out in the field. That's where I met Denis Roy, one of my current business partners. We were doing the same work together and through a mutual friend who was deployed with us, we met Ron Schutte, who is now my third partner.
We all ended up in a small minority-owned company, working together on a major project. As time went by, we got to the point where we thought, we can do this better. So the three of us decided to start our own company and, in 2011, we founded ProCleared.
Q: How has your military background influenced your company culture and inspired your employees?
Gary Martin: Well, to us, being a veteran-owned business is a very important aspect of the company. For me, it's about the military bearing and the military mindset and this is reflected in our company culture. We take care of our people, making sure they're getting everything that they need to be successful. There are a lot of things that we do in terms of supporting our employees that reflect this military mindset of taking care of people first. That's what should be important.
A good portion of our employees are veterans, but we also have a subset of the company that has never been around the military. So what we've tried to do is bring some characteristics of our old military careers back into what we're doing with the company and one of those is our Guidon. If you're not familiar, Guidon is essentially a flag on a pole used to rally around. So, every time we win a new contract vehicle, we attach a streamer to the ProCleared Guidon in a ceremony that involves the project manager and maybe the recruiter that hired the person. It's a good way to bring together the military mindset for the folks that don't really understand some of that culture. It really drives an esprit de corps within the company and people really rally around that.
Q: When an organization needs highly classified personnel, you're able to supply them with people for their missions. How exactly do you help these clients?
Gary Martin: Through our Talent Management solutions, we go out, source for, and find and then attract and retain these cleared personnel. So it's a very small subset of the workforce that has these clearances and it's a challenging target to hit. But through these different methodologies and the culture of the company we're able to find and attract these folks. Once we do, then we find the right job for them on one of our cleared programs. But that’s just the beginning; there's a lot that goes into that in terms of making sure they meet all the requirements, making sure their security clearances are in the right order, and then presenting them to the government to go in and basically assist the government in its day-to-day mission operations.
Fueling ProCleared’s Growth with Deltek Solutions
Q: As a small business owner you are responsible for everything from hiring employees to winning new business. How have Deltek’s products positively impacted your company’s growth?
Gary Martin: One of the things that Deltek does really well is give us flexibility to be able to meet those challenges that the customer throws at us, in terms of being able to track our employees and how they're structured within the company. We use Talent Management as one of the products that really helps us keep track of candidates all the way through our recruitment process, all the way until they become an employee. And, because of the way that Deltek approaches their customer service and approaches their products, they empower us to go forward and then empower our employees to be successful with the mission.
The biggest thing that's currently driving our growth is the use of GovWin IQ. The federal government is a huge organization with a lot of things going on, a lot of moving pieces, and when you're trying to pursue contract vehicles, it can be really difficult to find vehicles that are even out there that you can qualify for. And, then on top of that, being a small business, we have very finite resources to be able to put against these things. To me it's just a force multiplier, because I'm able to rapidly search a bunch of different vehicles and assess whether or not that's something that we want to look at or not. I can even go back and ask our Deltek rep, "Hey, can you find some more information out for me, because I don't want to telegraph what I'm doing." That's really helping fuel our growth, and it's definitely helping us in our expansion mode right now.
Being a busy business owner, I wear multiple hats and I'm always doing a bunch of different things. So, it takes a lot of the burden off of me to have to remember to go search for something, or if I missed something because I wasn't on the ball that week. Before we had GovWin IQ that happened to me quite a bit. We're in a world now where everything is moving 100 miles an hour. You have to stay on top of it all while trying to manage your employees, your staff and your own personal life. In addition to trying to pursue work in an area that you're not in, and it just becomes really challenging.
Using tools like GovWin IQ to help narrow these opportunities down so I'm not going down rabbit holes, helps keeps me focused so I can rapidly do bid/no-bid decisions.
Q: How does growth factor into how you manage your company’s infrastructure plans and how has Deltek supported these efforts?
Gary Martin: One of the first things that we found out through building this business was in order to grow you have to build a good base. We see so many small businesses oftentimes come into the marketplace, and either because of past relationships or a good idea, they go from 0 to 100 in the blink of an eye. And they're not ready for it. They can't account for things properly. They can't maintain good policies and procedures. And then what happens is they peak and then they crash.
Our approach has been a nice, steady growth. We've grown about 20 percent year over year, and each time we get to a level where we start to feel the pressure, we add more infrastructure. Continuing to add the infrastructure first, before it is needed. Although, there may a period of time before you've generated the revenue to cover it, but when you do, and if something huge hits, you're not scrambling around trying to figure out how to do it. You're on top of it.
We're probably unique, in a sense, a business of our size using so many Deltek products. We have Costpoint to keep all our financials in place, and make sure the government is happy with the way we do our invoicing. We have Talent Management, which completely covers all of our applicant tracking, all the way from soup to nuts. And then we have GovWin IQ side, which helps us find our work.
Q: Why should government contractors of every size consider an investment in Deltek solutions?
Gary Martin: The number one thing Deltek gets right is their customer service. The ability to call somebody and say, "I've got a problem. Can you help me?" If they don't know how to fix it, they will put you in touch with somebody who will. We've had a really good relationship with our reps over the years, relationships that have now grown into friendships, because we trust each other. We believe that what Deltek is doing to support us is helping us. That back-and-forth, that customer intimacy and the customer support and care, I think, is the number one.
ProCleared's vision is to become a leading provider of professional services, helping the government support their mission. And we're going to do that by using Costpoint, Talent Management and GovWinIQ to continue to push us forward and help us achieve our goals.
About Gary Martin
Gary Martin is Managing Partner/ CEO of ProCleared LLC and has been a part of the intelligence community for 30 years. His experience ranges from imagery analysis to strategic development. He served 13 years in the U.S. Army and has been stationed all over the globe. Gary is responsible for developing new business and the overall strategic direction of the company. He is married and has two daughters. In his limited spare time, Gary likes to tend to his apple orchard.
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