How Buchanan & Edwards CEO Dennis Kelly Is Reaching Intelligence Community Customers

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Dennis Kelly, Buchanan & Edwards

Dennis Kelly, CEO of Buchanan & Edwards

Buchanan & Edwards is making big inroads into the intelligence community, and that’s just what Dennis Kelly had been envisioning as he settles into his first year as CEO of the Arlington, Virginia-based government IT consultancy.

This past spring, Buchanan & Edwards expanded on its national security roots, and accompanying customer base that spans the FBI, and the department of Defense and State, with the acquisition of the analytics services firm Reports and Requirements Company, LLC.

“The acquisition of R2C gives us an entry into a whole new client area,” said Kelly, speaking from Buchanan & Edwards’ Arlington headquarters. “We have a robust set of capabilities in data analytics, big data, cloud migration and CRM systems; the very strong relationships that R2C has with the intelligence community enables us to bring some of those solutions into that customer space.”

Those solutions, Kelly added, couldn’t be more relevant.

“All you have to do is look at some of the unfortunate incidents where there’s very sensitive, and sometimes classified, information that makes its way onto WikiLeaks,” Kelly said.

The R2C acquisition represents a quick, swift countermove to help safeguard national secrets. Kelly couldn’t be more pleased.

“Honestly I wasn’t sure we would even be at this point yet where we had an acquisition completed,” Kelly said. “That can take six to nine months to get done, yet we were able to accomplish this acquisition in a few months—I think that speaks well of our ability to move quickly.”

The acquisition also builds on already robust offerings.

“We’re able to help our customers take maximum advantage of commercial, off-the-shelf technologies without having to reinvent the wheel,” Kelly said. “The deep domain expertise of R2C just deepens that.”

Even prior to the acquisition, Buchanan & Edwards had left its mark in the nearly two decades since it was founded by industry veterans Brian Karlisch, Greg Parchment and Tony Parchment. Among Buchanan & Edwards’ milestones, the firm spearheaded the first major system migration for the U.S. Marine Corp into the cloud.

In addition, Buchanan & Edwards holds multiple ISO certifications and a CMMI level 3 development capability—one of many distinctions that first piqued Kelly’s interest in joining the company, after a 25-year track record in government contracting following service in the U.S. Navy.

And while the Beltway holds no shortage of contractors vying for work with intelligence customers, Kelly is confident in what he sees as Buchanan & Edwards’ core differentiation.

“When you have domain expertise and technology capabilities, it makes for a really powerful combination,” he said.

“We’re finding opportunities where we can bring our solutions into this customer base, and conversely we think the domain expertise possessed by former R2C CEO Katrina Barlow and R2C Chief Operating Officer Kathy Rondon in data collection, data science and data curation are all important components of what our customers need as well,” Kelly added.

The acquisition brings significant cross-selling opportunities as well. To maximize efforts in securing additional national security-focused work, Buchanan & Edwards recently made several strategic hires: vice president of business development, Sean Gleason, came on board earlier this year, and in turn, helped recruit Mary Tabb Howard and Tony Vanchieri, formerly of Accenture and Booz Allen, respectively.

“I’m really pleased with how the team has come together,” Kelly said, noting additional hires are in the works, including an executive with deep expertise in the departments of Homeland Security and Justice, as well as a DOD executive.

“We make sure we have senior folks here who are veterans of the organizations that we are now serving—they understand deeply what the customer requirement is so we can hit the mark right out the gate,” said Kelly, who’s also quick to credit Buchanan & Edwards Chief Technology Officer Sean Spann.

“Sean and his team are always out there learning what the next big thing is that can support our customers’ missions,” Kelly said. “I think that technical curiosity, and sheer passion for technical excellence, is going to be a part of what Buchanan & Edwards has been in the past, and will be in the future.”

Buchanan & Edwards is enlarging its presence in other ways. The firm recently signed a 5-year lease, opening a satellite office in Chantilly, Virginia, to reach national security customers and partners in Fairfax County. That expansion, coupled with the R2C acquisition, is a healthy signal of company strength.

Could more acquisitions be in the works, then?

“We continue to look for other acquisitions that we think will add additional technical capabilities, customer penetration or potentially new contract vehicles that will help us expand into new customer areas,” Kelly said. “Stay tuned, we have a lot more going on.”

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