Axiologic Solutions LLC is among the finalists for the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce and Professional Services Council’s annual Greater Washington Government Contractor Awards in the Contractor of the Year category for companies up to $25 million. The winners will be announced at an awards program Nov. 5.
WashingtonExec dialogued with Managing Partners Tom Stauber and Michael Chavira about the direction of the company and its accomplishments so far.
WashingtonExec: How has your business been able to grow as the federal market contracts?
Stauber: Our belief is that a company of our size needs to focus less on the market oscillations and more on delivering what we do best. If we were a large integrator, our market share would be more important, but for our size, we need to promise great work and overdeliver on that promise. If we do that, then everyone wins: Axiologic, the government and the taxpayer. If we become distracted by market fluctuations, we lose focus and burn cycles doing things that are not going to benefit us, our employees or our customers and negatively impact the culture we’ve been working to cultivate these last few years.
WashingtonExec: What was your organization’s largest accomplishment in the last 12 to 18 months?
Chavira: Our largest accomplishment has been our growth over the past 18 months and how we have kept our core values intact and aligned with our culture. In this timeframe, we more than tripled the size of our company, and the accompanying infrastructure and business pipeline while still maintaining what has made us successful.
In 2016, we had 25 employees and today we have around 100 employees. This required investing in our infrastructure to optimize our recruiting, HR, operations and business development operations. As we progress through our growth, we have retained our corporate culture and grown our existing employees to roles of greater responsibility to help retain the core of what made Axiologic successful.
WashingtonExec: Given today’s government contracting marketplace, how has your organization’s approach to customers, employees and future customers changed?
Stauber: Our approach has not drastically changed. From where Mike and I started, we are still very much focused on the delivery aspect of the business. The “Axiological Component,” the personnel aspect of things, drove the founding, startup and continued success of Axiologic. As our business grows, we are thoughtfully scaling up that model and growing into new markets.
WashingtonExec: What are the largest challenges your business will face in the next five years?
Chavira: Our continuing challenge is to keep our workplace filled with exceptional, professional and engaged employees that fit our cultural model. We have worked diligently to ensure our company stays true to Axiologic’s mission, vision and values. While the job market becomes more competitive, it becomes increasingly difficult to find the highest-quality candidates who love to do what we do.
Our referral base has been phenomenal, and Axiologic’s team is well-trained to spot good candidates for our workforce, but finding two, three, or four times more our current employee base will present challenges in the national defense potential pool of talent.
WashingtonExec: How does your organization encourage employee engagement?
Stauber: As a high-end services company, employees are our lifeblood! With the community we serve, it is often difficult to do traditional engagement, but we look for other ways to stay in touch and show employee appreciation. We recognize employees’ milestones such as work anniversaries and birthdays with partnerships with local shops such as Georgetown Cupcake and Artisanal Confections to greet the employees when they get home from work. We also have a great partnership with DC United to give folks a tremendously unique in-game experience.
When looking at workforce development, we have done several things to grow our staff and build our next generation of leaders. Much of our senior staff has been in and around Axiologic since our very early days and have hit marks of increasing responsibility, growing with our company. More than half of our leadership positions are ones that our folks have grown into vice an outside hire. This helps reinforce culture and creates a great connection across our employee base. We also reward education and have a great partnership with the Chamber’s NextGen Council with our employees to broaden their skillset.
WashingtonExec: Have millennials entering the workforce changed your company’s strategic plans or corporate policies? If so, how?
Stauber: I would say that this has not changed our strategy. We have a good balance of leadership diversity in the company. Mike and I, while not millennials, we do run in some of those circles and some of our staff fit in that demographic. Because of the multiple perspectives that we have in the decision-making process, we tend to get a balance of new school/old school. I would temper all of that and say that we’ll see what happens with Generation Z. Recent hires and interns have started to bring in the post-millennial generation that seems to be fitting in just fine.
WashingtonExec: How’s your business involved in the community?
Chavira: This is an area that we certainly have grown with from where we started. We struggled early on with tackling internal business functions as a “bootstrapped” company to where we are today. Where we are today is great! We have great partnerships with Easter Seals and the Children’s Science Center. Unfortunately, our AS on their periodic table-based sponsorship board is arsenic, so that was an interesting sponsorship! We support employee community efforts where reasonably requested as well as participate in many local organizations to advance local business efforts with SECAF, USGIF, AFCEA, NVSBC and of course the NoVa Chamber of Commerce.