During the Executive Spotlight, Pflugrath discussed the impact of LMI’s recent acquisition of Suntiva aligned to the company’s push into the public health sector, the challenges to drive employee engagement and company culture for LMI, and the drive for LMI’s growth strategy heading to its 2025 goals and more.
“I think our industry partners work with us because they want to have a real impact on our government, and we feel this is a place to prioritize mission impact over top-line revenue. We are pursuing the most meaningful government work that aims to address the most complex problems.”
You can read the full Executive Spotlight with Pete Pflugrath below:
ExecutiveBiz: LMI announced its acquisition of Suntiva back in July. Since then, how has the merging and integration of the two companies been progressing? What can you tell us about the timing and importance of LMI’s push into the public health space since the key acquisition?
“This was our first major acquisition since 2019. It was a natural fit for both our organizations. Doug Wagoner and Hany Malik, Suntiva’s former president and chief executive officer, were closely aligned on our approach to establishing and maintaining a mission-first culture. Suntiva has added market access for LMI. They had many of the same capabilities that LMI has, and together, we can better serve our clients in the public health sector.
By bringing our two organizations together, we have strengthened LMI’s brand in the federal healthcare space. We’ve been focused on continuing our 25-year history supporting CMS. We’ve also grown substantially within the federal and military health agencies, and we now also have a strong focus on public health, including the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to round out a more robust health portfolio.
Suntiva brings a record of deep customer trust, customer access, and past performance for critical public health agencies. In addition, they bring Department of Defense (DOD) expertise that complements ours at the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC).
Collectively, we have an increased ability to bring our capabilities to bear on mission sets of strategic importance by combining our capabilities and logistics policies, science, and analytics to make a transformational impact for public health clients.”
ExecutiveBiz: What are some of the less recognized factors to drive satisfaction and employee engagement to ensure your talent continues to adapt and evolve in such a challenging sector while also building a strong company culture?
“The pandemic challenged our client and employee business routines, and we recognized early that helping our nation overcome COVID-19 would take many forms. First and foremost, the central theme was taking care of one another, and we employed an empathetic leadership model to prioritize the health, safety, and well-being of our employees. We offered each employee a stipend to improve their respective home offices, sent care packages and hosted several virtual social events.
As a company, we worked extremely hard to support our employees during the pandemic. The intent was to create a culture of caring for our employees. Through this process, we also reevaluated our commitment to LMI’s diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility strategies. We sought to improve our own programs and addressed the need for engaging with our workforce.
In summary, communication was key, and we had to accomplish this new level of open dialogue to foster a sense of safety in a virtual environment. It was a challenge, but one that we were proud to address, especially during such a difficult time.”
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ExecutiveBiz: In terms of driving organic company growth alongside your 2025 strategy, how will you continue to drive for key acquisitions and grow your business through the intelligence community and the healthcare industry alongside your federal business and defense clients?
“We developed LMI’s 2025 growth strategy with a larger corporate vision for the future of the company. We had to give our clients confidence that they made the right choice with LMI as a partner. To accomplish this, our goal is to triple our size to achieve $750 million in revenue with a workforce of about 3,500 people in key strategic locations by 2025.
At present, we’re just over $400 million in revenue with 2,000 professionals. We’re on track to achieve our strategy, and our approach is a combination of M&A and organic growth with a goal to make an acquisition or two every year. We made two acquisitions in 2019 and one in 2021.
We are in four federal markets: Defense & Space, Health & Civilian, Homeland Security, and Intelligence. Intelligence is our smallest market, but we are looking to strengthen that area with more M&A activity.
Defense & Space is our largest market, and one we have supported for over 60 years. We acquired The Tauri Group in 2019—they were experts in chemical, biological, radioactive, and nuclear defense. We won several new contract awards with their expertise and capabilities, which opened a lot of opportunities and new avenues for us even in other markets such as the DHS Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD).
We also acquired Clockwork Solutions, based in Austin, TX, a company that strengthened our focus on data analytics, predictive analytics, and artificial intelligence. Those key acquisitions alone have really helped LMI remain competitive in the marketplace.
Our goal is to reposition our portfolio to be roughly 50 percent in the Defense & Space market and the other half in other non-defense markets. We’re well on our way to achieving that balance.
We strive to come forward with new, practical ideas. We are all about achieving “time to impact” and meeting our clients’ needs faster. I think our industry partners work with us because they want to have a real impact on our government, and we feel this is a place to prioritize mission success over top-line revenue.
We are pursuing the most meaningful government work that aims to address the most complex problems. We want to attract top talent in the market and that’s not going to happen if all we’re after is a revenue number. Our growth is about a lot more than just that.”
ExecutiveBiz: With the recent contract to provide traffic management requirements for future aircraft operations from NASA, what else can you tell us about LMI’s expansion into the space market and the challenges of breaking into a radically evolving marketplace full of innovation?
“LMI is very proud of our 40-year history of supporting NASA. We’re excited about the opportunity to expand that partnership, which includes our work with NASA’s aeronautics research mission directorate. As we grow in the aeronautics and space market, we continue to build upon our foundation and deep understanding of NASA’s needs as a client.
In addition, LMI is leveraging our core strengths in policy management, supply chain sustainability, business and human capital transformation analytics, and impactful research.
LMI recently secured the NASA Upper-Class E Airspace Operations contract, which leverages LMI’s research capabilities and partnerships with industry and academia to help NASA assess the operating environment and emerging airspace market.
The challenge is not necessarily about breaking into a radically evolving marketplace because it’s the hot ticket—it’s about helping NASA adapt to the evolving landscape for new stakeholders. The speed of innovation and new market entrants have emphasized the need for NASA to make faster and more informed decisions as well as understand and adapt to new risks and evolve its operating model and workforce.
Another core part of our brand is working with academia. We’re working with the Space Force Association to create a professional development program for industry, academia, and legislators.
What does it mean to be a Space Force professional? What does the curriculum look like for someone who really needs to apply their skills and domain knowledge? How can we make a career at LMI more attractive to early career professionals coming out of academia? These are the kinds of questions we want to answer, and we’re putting our money where our mouth is.
We’re adding innovative offerings and funding those through our own internal research and development office. We have an organization called the LMI Research Institute that develops working relationships with universities across the country to bring industry and academia together to spawn innovation and explore groundbreaking research and advance fresh ideas and concepts.
In the long-term, I believe programs like this demonstrate the benefit that America has to offer, not just from one company, but from an entire ecosystem of academia, industry, and government, all working together to solve problems and develop new solutions to keep us moving forward.”