The smoke-filled room fell silent.
“You’re moving where!?”
My colleagues in the government contracting community stared in horror, as if I’d said something dreadful like advocating adherence to standards of ethical contracting or something.
It does seem at little odd, at first. Why would the Director of Federal Sales for one of the nation’s fastest-growing cyber security companies leave the D.C.-area? A place where it is rather convenient to, you know, sell stuff to the federal government?
And, why would Lunarline invest more than half a million dollars in building an advanced cyber operations facility…in Kettering, Ohio?
Our “Private” Public Sector
Few people realize the extent to which the government relies on contractors to perform essential services. In fact, no one really knows…because the government doesn’t keep count. However, the best available research pegs the number of contractors currently serving the federal government at more than 10 million.
More than 10 million contractors!? What are all those people doing?
Well, pretty much everything. Water. Waste. Healthcare. Road and transport. Food safety. Even critical national security jobs.
There’s not much that contractors don’t do.
A Great Time for Government Contracting?
Tasked with managing an evermore dangerous, complicated world, the government needs immediate access to a wide array of skills. For nearly 15 years, our federal partners have looked to the government contracting industry to fill this need.
But in their rush to outsource, the government began treating contractors like staffing firms. All too often they came to us, not for innovative solutions to the challenges of modern government, but for bodies, provided as quickly and cheaply as possible.
So that’s what we gave them. And over time, that’s all we could give them. As an industry, we grew so focused on — and organized around — delivering cheap personnel fast that we forgot our true responsibility to our federal partners.
Innovation in Pursuit of a Better Tomorrow
Certain brave federal agencies are experimenting with new contracting models. These models break the “body shop” mold to better leverage the unique strengths of the private sector. They empower, rather than just supplement or, worse yet, replace our federal counterparts. These new contracts emphasize the focused, intense application of expertise, rather than the traditional butts-in-seats, 40-hours-per-week approach to government contracting.
We built our secure facility in Kettering, Ohio with this new paradigm in mind. We consolidated our advanced cyber operations — our 24x7x365 SOC, cyber forensics, research & development and advanced cyber training capabilities — under one secure roof. Our Ohio team of experts can be rapidly deployed to support demanding, short turnaround federal and private sector engagements. They then return to Ohio to continue their work building great products, designing new service models, enhancing our training and driving continuous innovation on behalf of our clients.
When Lunarline decided to build a new facility, we launched a nationwide search. We evaluated sites in every U.S. time zone, and up and down both coasts, before zeroing in on the Midwest. We slowly came to realize that Ohio — and the entire Midwest region — is a great place to do business. Here’s why:
- Exceptional talent: Since moving to Kettering, we’ve met countless educated, creative and devoted people who are determined to help the region rebound from a tough few years, and reemerge as a center of economic leadership for the country. And with some of the nation’s best schools and universities, the Midwest talent pool rivals that of any region in the country. Access to these smart, motivated, highly technical individuals solved our recruiting challenges almost overnight.
- Great local services: From construction and facilities management to sales, marketing and teleco support, we’ve been blown away by the friendly, speedy, high-quality support we’ve received from local service providers. These service businesses made our transition to Kettering as painless as possible, and they continue to provide essential support every day.
- Inspired government: Our move to Kettering wouldn’t have been possible without the assistance of local and regional government leadership. The Dayton Development Coalition, JobsOhio and the city of Kettering welcomed us with open arms and helped us hit the ground running. Their commitment to regional economic development – and their faith in us – is a source of daily inspiration.
- A financially sustainable life: It’s become difficult for the average person to live a financially sustainable life in traditional high-tech, job-rich corridors like New York, San Francisco or D.C. (I know, I lived there for ten years.) But Ohio combines the buzz of a hot, exciting economy with a cost of living that’s well below the national average. Ohio’s affordability and lifestyle enables both our employees and our company to thrive.
As our federal partners fight back against an ever more dangerous cyber world, they need us, the private contracting sector, today more than ever. Their challenges, our nation’s challenges, demand our very best.
Lunarline’s investment in Ohio, and our plans for continued expansion in the Midwest, are critical to our efforts to drive innovation on behalf of our clients. I’m excited to introduce our federal clients to the extensive capabilities we’ve assembled in Kettering. And I know that working together, Lunarline and the federal government can come up with pioneering ways to efficiently and cost effectively deploy these capabilities against the government’s urgent cyber security challenges.
Ohio may not be known as a major federal contracting metropolis, but we plan to make it one. And that’s one of many reasons why I am proud to now call Ohio home.