George Mason UniversitySchool of Business

Capitol Building GovCon

Have you noticed our promotional video?

The new Mason GovCon video is getting great reviews. The video provides a quick introduction of the Initiative and captures our goal of creating a more efficient and effective market for the public good.

We are also off to a great start, with activities that launch four of our Marks of Excellence — presented below. Working with our Board of Advisors, faculty, and School alumni, we anticipate an equally engaging schedule for next year. See the navigation link to "Program Initiatives" for a complete picture of where the Initiative stands, additional efforts to grow the Initiative into a Center, and what the Mason GovCon Center would look like.

Here is the link to our new video. Please pass it along and bring more people to the effort.

Career Advancement

Up for a Challenge?

Accenture Challenge

Your career. Your adventure. Take part in the Accenture Innovation Challenge and do well by doing good.

For Freshman, Sophomores and Juniors, this is the opportunity of the week. You gain invaluable consulting experience [think resume] while doing good [benefiting Habitat for Humanity]. In this competition, sponsored by Accenture, competing is a win. And winning the competition is a whole other level. Click this link for more information. Time is short: apply by Monday, Jan. 20. You can thank us later.

Academic Expertise

Update on Victoria Grady's Bloomberg News Series

Much has happened since we first reported on this new Bloomberg News Series on change management and the federal government during the presidential transition. Written by Victoria Grady, Assistant Professor of Management with the School of Business; Patrick McCreesh, senior associate, Booz Allen Hamilton; with David Clare; James Grady; Toni Jackman; Ikenna Nwankpa; AJ Schuler; Shruti Shah; and Jasper Saunders, they have written the next six additional installments in the series. The complete list to-date and links to the articles are provided below:

  1. Trump and his daunting change management challenge [link]
  2. In a time of transition, focus on the basics of change management [link]
  3. 5 change management tips for leaders in the new administration [link]
  4. Federal employees and change: Measuring an organization's readiness [link]
  5. As federal agencies navigate the transition, organizational culture is paramount [link]
  6. Four tips for measuring successful change through the transition [link]
  7. 3 strategies for effectively communicating with your team during the transition [link]


Mason Alumni GovCon Happy Hour

GovCon Happy Hour

A special thanks to all of the Mason alums who joined us for our Happy Hour on December 7.

Our goal was to attract (and track down!) Mason alumni working in either government and business to reconnect, build relationships, and exchange ideas with them. The conversations, and the company, were excellent. Many of the attendees expressed a desire to connect with current Business School students: to share information on getting a job in GovCon and to offer background on working in this unique market. And jobs — so many companies wanting to build connections to promote internships and employment opportunities for Mason students.

We also appreciated the willingness of alumni to work with us on creating topical panels for students that would create a greater awareness of the GovCon market. The panels would include alumni from business and government, School faculty and student research assistants. More information on the structure of this effort is provided on the Program Initiatives page of our website.

We look forward to our next gathering. We anticipate holding them on a quarterly basis.


Trump and His Daunting Change Management Challenge

Victoria Grady

Victoria Grady, Assistant Professor of Management, Mason School of Business and a colleague from Booz-Allen have been asked by Bloomberg News to write a 10 article series on change management and the federal government between now and the inauguration. This non-partisan series of articles will explore the challenges of presidential transition. Here is a link to the first article and her bio.

The initiative looks forward to regularly sharing insights from our affiliated faculty at the Mason School of Business.


The Omni Was Packed

ERM 2016 Summit

The Association for Federal Enterprise Risk Management (AFERM) and the George Mason School of Business Government Contracting Initiative continued their ongoing collaboration with the Enterprise Risk Management 2016 Summit, recently held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC.

The theme for this year’s summit was Unlocking Organizational Value. The two day summit, November 7–8, 2016, included six plenary sessions and 15 break-out sessions, with each break-out including a presentation of practical advice on risk management. Here is a link to existing slide presentations.

A new record was set by increasing attendance from 275 to 470, 236 of whom received CPE credits for their particiation. And new connections were made between the Initiative and agencies who are pursuing updates to their risk management policies.


How Do Attachment and Emotion Reduce Change Risk

ERM Mandy Tori

Business Faculty Present a Panel at the ERM 2016 Summit

The Association for Federal Enterprise Risk Management (AFERM), our summit co-host, was intrigued by the topic for a presentation by two of the School's management professors, Mandy O'Neill and Tori Grady.

Mandy opened the panel discussion by focusing on her recent article in the Harvard Business Review, "Manage your emotional culture: Most leaders focus on how employees think and behave-but feelings matter just as much." [link]

Tori approached the subject by presenting findings on research and an article, "What Now: Change and Attachment in the Federal Government." [link] The research was based on an analysis of the 2015 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey using Grady’s Change Diagnostic Index.

Over two hundred summit attendees were engaged by their presentation. Going forward, Mason GovCon will seek to support and promote research on the marketplace grounded in research and access to data.


Washington Technology logo

New GMU center puts special focus on the GovCon industry

The Initiative is generating buzz. Agency and business reps confirm the need for such an initiative and the operational plans for its work. Doors are opening on how the initiative can help to build a more effective and efficient government marketplace. Mark Hoover, senior staff writer with Washington Technology, picks up on the work in play by the Mason GovCon Initiative in his Nov. 10, 2016 article. Here's the link.


Building GovCon Acumen


If you are charged with building talent to grow your GovCon business, if you are ready to take your career to the highest leadership level, then rest assured that the Mason GovCon Executive Education Course, Building GovCon Acumen, is the course for you.

The most recent six-day course ran from October 17 to 20, 2016, with additional sessions on November 3 and 14. Tom Davies, Executive in Residence & Senior Fellow of the Government Contracting Initiative, led the course for 12 rising executives in GovCon. Sixteen current or former CEO's, presidents, and partners shared insights on building their business with the participants.

What drives your company's value? How do you measure value? What will market disruption do to your business? How do you keep your company on top while dealing with budget sequestration and increased competition for government contracts? These are just a few of the topics explored by engaging with GovCon industry leaders who shared personal and professional experience that you can use form Day 1. And, yes, there is also a side-benefit. It will enable you to expand your business network with the speakers and the course attendees.

For complete program information, click this link.

A Reception Honoring the Mason GovCon Initiative

John Shari Dusty

On Nov. 9, 2016, Shari and Dustry Wince gathered 70+ colleagues, representing a broad cross-section of GovCon practitioners, to introduce and promote the GovCon Initiative. It was the perfect event for John Hillen, chairman of the Initiative, to unveil the Initiative's promotional video.

Dusty is a graduate of the School's Executivce MBA program and a successful government contracting executive and entrepreneur. For Dusty, the business of government is unique and Mason's Center in Government Contracting will produce research on issues facing the GovCon community — "No one else is doing that." A 30-year practitioner in GovCon, he plans to bring in people not yet connected to Mason to get involved.


Our NoVA Chamber Partnership

Hillen Corcoran Cabrera 2

Northern Virginia Chamber and George Mason University Announce Innovative Partnership to Connect Regional Business and Academia

Jim Corcoran, President and CEO of the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, and Dr. Ángel Cabrera, President of George Mason University, signed a strategic partnership agreement that creates exciting opportunities for both organizations.

In a far-reaching partnership between the region’s largest Chamber of Commerce and a top-tier research university, the Northern Virginia Chamber and Mason will work together to develop degree programs that address regional workforce needs in current and emerging industries. The partners also will co-host events, share office space and connect the region’s leading businesses with Mason faculty and researchers on the university’s campuses across Northern Virginia.

“We are thrilled to join with George Mason University on this unique, new partnership to strategically connect business and academia,” said Jennifer Aument, Group General Manager, North America, Transurban, and Northern Virginia Chamber Board of Directors Chair. “The Northern Virginia Chamber is constantly looking for innovative ways to leverage our regional resources for the benefit of our members and our region’s world-renowned business community. There is no doubt that a partnership with our colleagues at George Mason University will help us to continue doing just that.”
“George Mason University was created first and foremost to serve the educational and economic needs of Northern Virginia – and that’s what we have done for the past half-century,” Mason President Ángel Cabrera said. “We value our role as an economic engine, and by working closely with the Northern Virginia Chamber, together we can lead the region into its next prosperous era.”

The Mason GovCon Initiative will be an active participant in this partnership through annual conferences and workshops, courses for business leaders, and research projects conducted by faculty.

The complete press release can be found at this link.


Washington Technology logo

Turn Off Your TV: What I’ve learned teaching leadership during the 2016 presidential campaign season

In John Hillen's latest Washington Technology Commentary, he ponders the differences in broadcasted political leadership during campaigns versus the attributes of running a large and complex organization. Here is a link to the article

For additional commentary in this series, click here.


EMBA & GovCon

Our path to becoming a Center includes creating a strong academic component focused on GovCon curricula, leading to a concentration, certificate, or minor.

A course being taught now by John Hillen in Mason’s Executive MBA Program – Special Topics in National Security - starts us on that path. John will also teach Mason’s first ever GovCon MBA elective in the Spring – Strategic and Business Issues in the GovCon Industry.

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