Vangent’s Curtis takes over private equity-owned SI Organization


Bill Graham, left, who is stepping down as president and chief executive of the SI Organization, with Mac Curtis, right, who is replacing him. They are with Deborah G. Oliver, chief operating officer. (Jeffrey MacMillan/JEFFREY MACMILLAN)
June 9, 2013

In the nearly three years since it was divested from Lockheed Martin, the Chantilly-based SI Organization has seen plenty of change.

It was purchased by private-equity firm Veritas Capital in 2010, changed its name (from Enterprise Integration Group) and made two acquisitions.

Now, the roughly 2,000-employee company is taking the next step in its quest to forge a new identity: bringing on Mac Curtis, who led Arlington-based Vangent before its $1 billion acquisition by General Dynamics, to replace Bill Graham as chief executive and president.

Curtis has been hired to reposition the systems engineering and integration contractor, which has boosted its offerings in recent years with new additions.

Last month, the company announced it had acquired Applied Communication Sciences, which was formerly the research and engineering arm of Telcordia Technologies, a unit that has origins in Bell Laboratories.

In 2012, SI picked up PhaseOne Communications, a strategic communications company that works with the Pentagon and intelligence companies.

Curtis is no stranger to running a company owned by private equity after leading Vangent. More recently, he’s worked at Veritas, which owned Vangent before its sale.

Capital Business spoke with Curtis and Graham last week. What follows are excerpted portions of that conversation.

What made you interested in the job?

Curtis: I took some time off and went back to Veritas working as an operating executive, where I was involved with a lot of portfolio companies and got heavily involved with SI early on. I was the third base coach for about a year and a half, [but] getting back into the game was something that — after roughly two years — it felt like absolutely the right thing to do.”

What’s ahead for the company?

Curtis: First and foremost, the company’s very, very solid. The second thing is to evaluate where we’ve had success with existing customers and find those requirements in other parts of the government where they’re applicable. There are probably some solid commercial ventures that are on the boards now. We just closed an acquisition on what used to be Bell Labs.

Has the government contracting environment gotten tougher since Vangent was sold?

Curtis: We ran [Vangent] for the better part of four years on continuing resolution [budgets, which are short-term funding agreements], so we understand the tough budget environment. [With the arrival of sequestration], we know the budget environment is going to be flat and declining, so I think it’s a bit more complex. Where there are tough spots, there are opportunities.

You’re looking at commercial work, which can be difficult for contractors.

Curtis: [We’re] looking at adjacent markets where it’s using the skill set that we’ve got. Nothing too far afield. We’re going to test the waters but it’s going to be carefully. We’re not going to mortgage the farm to jump into the commercial space.

Should we expect more acquisitions?

Graham: After being part of Lockheed Martin for almost four years, we’re in a position where we shed a lot of things, not just [the potential conflicts of interest created when, for instance, one company unit builds a system and another tests it]. We have really started to spread our wings here into things we were encumbered by before. When you talk about mergers and acquisitions, we’ve done two now. Will there be more? More than likely there will be.

Comments
Show Comments
Most Read Business