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Zolon Tech’s Kirk Macchiavello Details Company Growth Strategy, Shares Insights on Technology Innovation

Zolon Tech’s Kirk Macchiavello Details Company Growth Strategy, Shares Insights on Technology Innovation
Kirk Macchiavello, VP & GM, National Security, Zolon Tech

As vice president and general manager of national security at Zolon Tech, Kirk Macchiavello is responsible for supporting a variety of government customers and expanding the company’s national security programs. He has over 20 years of experience providing business and technology solutions and services to both public and private sector clients and has held numerous leadership positions throughout his career.

Macchiavello made his way to Zolon in 2016 and has played a major role in driving the rapid growth the enterprise has seen in its federal arm. He credits the company’s success to its strategy, strong client focus and commitment to technology excellence.

In a recent Executive Spotlight interview with ExecutiveBiz, he reflected on Zolon’s expansion journey, highlighted the company’s core values and assessed the impact of technology innovation on the federal government.

Read the full interview below.

How did Zolon come to focus on the national security market?

Zolon got its start in the federal side of our business at the Department of State over 15 years ago, and have since been working for the Bureau of Consular Affairs developing, modernizing and maintaining mission critical applications. Some of these were made to deal with the processing of fees for visas and passports all around the globe – highly mission critical work that brought us exposure to securing our own borders with visas and passports.

That work led to our biggest contract at the time from the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, where we had a $100 million prime contract for application, infrastructure and operations supporting the bureau’s end users, including diplomatic security agents and their applications at all posts and embassies around the world, 24/7/365. That further enhanced Zolon’s interest and experience in the national security market.

A couple of years ago, we took all the great work we’ve done at the State Department and created a portfolio for national security, which includes the State Department and also the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Energy and Treasury. Those five agencies comprise our National Security business unit, which I lead.

As a graduated 8(a) small business, how have your activities changed as a large business? How did you prepare for continued growth?

We were initially an 8(a) small business, and the good news and bad news of growing rapidly is that at some point you are no longer an 8(a) small business. What we did very well was strategically create mentor-protégé joint ventures, which we did years before we graduated out of our size status, and now we’re leveraging them very successfully.

One highlight is winning a spot on a National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency system engineering, multiple award IDIQ with our first joint venture. We won the first three task orders worth about $75 million, and we built our own Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF), which is quite rare for a small business to do. Now, all our staff are TS/SCI with Polygraph cleared and working out of our own SCIF supporting NGA.

The second highlight with the joint venture is working at the Department of Health and Human Services for the Office of Assistant Secretary of Health. We won a $98 million, single award IDIQ for low-code and no-code application development – fast growing areas for modernization and digital transformation. Most recently, we won a $30 million prime contract with our joint venture for the Administration for Children and Families, Office of the Chief Information Officer for IT O&M services.

As we learn how to be a large business, we’re still able to bid and win small business contracts through our joint ventures, which has allowed us to have these multiple paths. The small business joint ventures are on multiple GWACs. We’re on the GSA MAS schedule as an 8(a) small business, we’re on GSA 8(a) STARS III as an 8(a) small business and we’ll have multiple  spots on CIO-SP4 as an 8(a) small business, once they finally get awarded. 

Zolon will also have a spot on CIO-SP4 as emerging large business unrestricted.  We have several other highlights on the large business side as well.

We won our first full and open contract at Zolon about a year ago from the DOD for the Defense Media Activity for web enterprise business services. On this $107 million prime contract, we perform software development and maintenance, provide creative services and manage all websites for the DOD across all service areas, which is over 700 websites, including their high-performance, global content delivery network and cloud products and services. It was a major milestone for us to be able to show that we can compete against large businesses and win a full and open contract.

We recently won our second full and open contract from the Department of Justice, when we were awarded a spot on a $500 million, multiple-award BPA for service desk operations, deskside and desktop engineering support and network infrastructure management and security. Once again we’ve shown that Zolon can compete for and win full and open contracts, but at the same time, we have a runway to continue to win strategic small business contracts with our joint ventures, so that is a multi-pronged approach through which we can continue to grow.

There are several company values that have factored into our expansion. The first one is customer focus. We are laser-focused on understanding a customer’s mission and understanding their challenges, and I think that’s a really strong value that the company maintains. Service delivery excellence – an operational focus on delivering for our customers, meeting their needs and requirements – is another value that we live and breathe.

Another key value is innovation. We’re focused on delivering for the customer, but also intent on bringing innovation to the table where it makes sense to help them meet their mission and help them address their challenges better, faster and more cost effectively. We are always looking to do that, and we are always looking at our existing customers and new potential customers to see if we can leverage the same or similar innovations and best practices we have already applied successfully for other customers. 

Relationships and collaboration, a value that comes directly from our CEO, is also significant. Having trusted relationships, communicating honestly and openly collaborating is essential at all levels – from our employees to our partners and our customers.

The last two would be integrity – doing the right thing and treating everyone with respect – and results – and combining all these elements to lead to success for our customers. We’re very focused on exceeding expectations, and we think that following all these values allows us to do this, achieve results and continue to grow.

How is Zolon leveraging M&A to continue its expansion in the public sector market?

Zolon has a commercial side of the business where we’ve had some M&A activity over the past few years, but we have not yet done it in the federal space. Our rapid expansion and goals for aggressively growing have caused us to start looking at M&A in the federal market. We’re eyeing potential acquisitions that bring either key technology capabilities, key customer relationships and history or access to complementary markets that we don’t currently operate in.

We are at a size now where it will be possible and advantageous for us to look at acquisitions in the federal space. We are definitely serious about taking these steps this year. 

This strategy complements our strong organic growth internally with existing customers and search for new customers with our current targets – we could really accelerate our growth through M&A.

In what ways is technology innovation shaping modernization in the federal government? Are there any specific trends you are seeing?

Application development is one of our core capabilities, and we’ve been doing it for the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs for over 15 years through three iterations of a contract focused on modernization, scaled Agile framework, DevSecOps and more. Our large contract with DMA is focused on application development (web enterprise services). Our large contract with HHS is for application development, specifically low-code and no-code.

One of the major trends we are seeing is the growth of no-code application development in the federal space. HHS has been a leader with no-code application development, which is relatively new in the federal space but has been proven in the commercial space for years.

No-code application development provides many advantages. It shortens initial development time and ongoing changes/maintenance with entirely visual interfaces intuitive for business users, lowers initial development and ongoing maintenance costs, results in less technical debt leading to higher quality applications, provides easily configurable APIs for seamless integration using plug-in components and builds enterprise security in from the ground up.

A related major trend that we are seeing is what is called citizen development, which allows government business (non-technical) users to develop custom applications and make modifications from a business user perspective without having to be a true application developer or a coder so that requirements can be met more simply and more quickly. For public-facing applications, citizens on the receiving end in terms of the public can see these benefits faster as they enhance their user experience and their customer experience.

It’s an exciting time, and we’re looking forward to leveraging the latest trends for the benefit of government agencies and their missions.

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Written by Ireland Degges

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Zolon Tech’s Kirk Macchiavello Details Company Growth Strategy, Shares Insights on Technology Innovation
Zolon Tech’s Kirk Macchiavello Details Company Growth Strategy, Shares Insights on Technology Innovation