Since I joined TEKsystems right out of college, I have spent most my adult life in the IT staffing/recruiting business. I accidentally ran into federal business in 2001 at Fort Hood (at the CTSF, part of PEO C3T at the time) and while I had no idea what all the acronyms mean, I did know how to find people. And I found a lot of them. And then I got to know the government customer and their requirements but realized they couldn’t buy from me directly because I didn’t have a contract vehicle they could easily leverage. And that is when I started dipping my toe into the other side of the world, the one where the work was won, and I could deliver strategic value by helping my customers at the time (large federal systems integrators, or FSI’s) win new work.

Back then, I was one of a handful of staffing salespeople I knew that had any clue how to get on the front end of a federal deal. But times have changed. And now just about every large staffing company has a federal sector vertical with leadership, at least at the HQ level, that knows the space and coordinates with the field offices to optimize both their strategic value and tactical revenue.

All that said, I still think staffing companies, at least most of them, go largely under-leveraged. Yes, they are on teams but, aside from the narrative, they aren’t much used in the capture and proposal effort aside from a few data calls. Staffing companies have an army of potential intel gatherers that are rarely tapped into. And they should, at the very least, be able to help you write the best staffing plans on the planet.

One of my goals when I joined Tim Chapman in this venture that is now TangoAlpha3 (TA3) was to be the kind of partner I couldn’t be when I worked for some of the staffing larger companies–either because they were too risk averse or too rigid (upper level executives not really understanding the business)–to really mold themselves around the respective opportunity.

Alas, initial efforts had to be directed to pay immediate bills, plus we hadn’t really accomplished much that that would add to a win theme. But TA3 is in a different place now, and in addition to managing network sustainment at for MHS MTF’s in CA, AL, VA and TX (in support of a DHA program we are a subcontractor on) we have staffed around 30 military installations (from Alaska to Florida and about 15 states in between) with network and systems engineers. And I am not talking about a deployment team that traveled around…our lean team found humans that met all the labor category requirements, plus had the necessary clearances and 8570 certifications to live full time on in working proximity to the given MTF. And with the exceptions of the sites we currently manage we have done almost all of this on a contract to hire basis, and likewise it’s been a bit of a hill of marbles. But we refined a capability, and a story. We were an important, albeit largely hidden, piece in the implementation and sustainment of a secure network enclave (Med-COI) that allows the MHS and VA to securely share medical information. We obviously didn’t too all of it, not even most of it (D2D has since taken over much of the implementation), but enough that some good folks saw enough value in us to invite us on their team and offer workshare.

Anyway, back to the topic of this post: staffing companies should be providing the government and their prime FSI’s with more than tactical value. Because they have more to offer. And now TA3 has the foundation in pace that allows me to be more forward looking. So, if you aren’t getting that from your current IT staffing vendor and our story resonates with you, please drop me a line so we can chat. Hopefully we can not only help you deliver your current work (the hill of marbles calls) but also help you win more of it.

In the meantime, stay well.

-Drew (drew@tangoalpha3.com)