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.

Exploration & Solutions

John Hillen Selected as a Top 25 GovCon Exec To Watch in 2018

Washington Technology logo

For his insight and drive to create the Mason GovCon Initiative – building an academic competency in the business of government and government contracting, to benefit of both sides of the industry; for his EMBA and MBA courses in leadership and strategy that receive high praise from students, many of whom are currently working in this market; and for his willingness and effort to promote the industry through engagement and writing; the recognition is well deserved. [more]

Career Advancement

Ask the Professionals: GovCon — The Industry Shares Job Advice with Students

Professionals GovCon Nov 2017

The Career Center of the School of Business is hereby congratulated on holding an excellent GovCon industry panel on November 28. Moderated by Sophia Marshall, the Center's GovCon Job Development Specialist, the panel provided insights from a broad spectrum of industry, by size of company and their focus. Scott Hoge, with CGI Federal; Tabetha Chadler, CEO of Green Cyber Group; Deb Beckworth, with Decisive Point Consulting Group; Sarh Shuey, with KPMG; and Erin Ogburn, with Kearney & Co. had much to share in a well attended forum.

The biggest takeaway for the students was a description of the GovCon industry and the potential employment opportunities it offers. Here it is: industries in GovCon provide goods and services for the federal government in support of the government agency's operation. This means that all aspects of business are open for employment; from supply chain management to finance and resource management. There are no limits when starting a career in government or business.

Specialized Instruction

Building GovCon Acumen: GovCon in the Age of Disruption

Tom Davies

"Transform or die" is the message coming from government. Preparing for this "new reality" is a top strategic priority for leaders across the GovCon industry. "Building GovCon Acumen" is designed to prepare mid-level and rising executives to lead their companies into the future. Attendees will gain an opportunity to learn from GovCon Leaders, Awardees, and Hall of Famers. Early registration for the course is open with complete information on our website. [Registration Link]

 Exploration & Solutions

ERM: Important Now More than Ever


Conference Sponsor: Association for Federal Enterprise Risk Management (AFERM)
November 1–2, 2017

Mason GovCon is pleased to continue to work with AFERM as a co-sponsor of their annual Enterprise Risk Management Summit. The 2017 summit theme is "ERM: Important Now More than Ever." All organizations face uncertainties and opportunities as they work to preserve and enhance value for their stakeholders. Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) has evolved over the last 20 years to help organizations achieve those goals. The Association for Federal Enterprise Risk Management (AFERM) believes that ERM is more important now than ever for federal agencies to identify and manage the risks and opportunities they face as the new Administration adjusts policies, strategies, and program objectives across government. [link to AFERM]

Registration is open for the AFERM Summit, to be held November 1–2, 2017, at the Washington Marriott at Metro Center Hotel in Washington, DC. To register, go to the AFERM Summit website.

Exploration & Solutions

Maximize Your Government Contracting Exit: A Conference for Small Business Owners

GMU Live Oak logos

The Mason GovCon Initiative and Live Oak Bank are co-hosting a conference that will provide invaluable information on an important option for small businesses to consider. Industry experts will share insights and knowledge for business owners who are interested in selling a business or want to to understand how selling fits into their plans for small business graduation.

The conference will be held Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017 from 7:15 am to 12:30 pm, at the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner. Complete information is provided on this website. Here is a link to govconregistration.

Exploration and Solutions

Chamber Hosts C-Level Luncheon

C Level Luncheon photo

The Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce hosted C-Level Luncheon sponsored by BNY Mellon Wealth Management on September 22nd. The Honorable Dr. John Hillen, Executive in Residence at the George Mason University School of Business, facilitated an engaging discussion on “The Evolution and Future of the National Capital Region’s Business Environment: Fifty Years of Government Contracting.” Executives from leading organizations were in attendance.

Exploration and Solutions

Northern Virginia Chamber and George Mason University Celebrate 1-Year Anniversary of Strategic Partnership

Board Photo

At the Northern Virginia Chamber’s September board meeting, the Chamber and George Mason University celebrated the 1-year anniversary of their strategic partnership. Guests from Mason discussed the efforts on which the two organizations have worked including workforce development, government contracting, innovation, policy, and industry thought leadership.


Exploration and Solutions

How to lead a business through non-business challenges

Washington Technology

John Hillen's latest Commentary in Washington Technology explores the search for leadership skills, whether the business is small or large, "where their business smarts are less important than their general leadership wisdom in solving their company’s problems." With the dilemma of the diversity memo facing Google, both rising and established leaders will find much to consider when reading this article. [link]

Board News

Sehlke Consulting Is 319 on the 2017 Inc. 500 List


Mason GovCon salutes Chad Sehlke, a member of our Board of Advisors, on the selection of Sehlke Consulting to the Inc. 500 List. As shared by Inc., "To make the list, your company had to have grown a minimum ten-fold over the past three years. Congratulations to Chad and everyone at Sehlke Consulting.


George Mason Professor & Former State Dept Official John Hillen Joins Govini Advisory Board

John Hillen

John Hillen, executive-in-residence and professor of practice at George Mason University’s School of Business and a board member at several companies, has joined the board of advisers at Govini. The big data and analytics company said Wednesday Hillen, a 2015 inductee into Executive Mosaic’s Wash100, will work with other industry and former government professionals in the board to drive Govini’s data science efforts for the public sector. [Press Release]

News Alert

Channel 8 Government Matters Interviews John Hillen

Update: The interview will not appear this evening as originally scheduled. John will share insights on research by Business School Faculty on topics of interest to the GovCon market. The interview will air on Channel 8's Government Matters TV show. We will let you know when the interview runs.

Career Advancement

1000 Patriots in Federal GovCon by the 4th of July!

Fellow Mason Patriots in the Federal Government or Government Contracting space, we are launching a campaign to have 1000 Patriots join our Federal GovCon LinkedIn Group by the 4th of July. We know that by any conservative estimate there are some 8,000 - 10,000+ Mason alums working in the Federal Government or Government Contracting market. Please reach out and try to bring 2 or 3 more to the group (send them our GovCon Initiative video!!! - https://youtu.be/2vVQ5qQ_-Hc) and then ask those people to bring 2 or 3 more. The power of networking! Here is a link to our LinkedIn Group.

Career Advancement

Go GovCon Hiring Initiative

Mason GovCon is funding a staff position in the School’s Career Services Center to rapidly connect our students with GovCon companies and vice versa. We welcome Sophia Marshall, Job Development Specialist for Government Contracting, who began working in May. Sophia will cover the full range of hiring needs, from undergraduate through graduate, from internships to employment. To contact Sophia: phone: 703-993-1841; email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Save the Dates

Building GovCon Acumen: GovCon in an Age of Disruption

October 9–13, 2017

ERM: Important Now More than Ever

November 1–2, 2017
Conference co-sponsor: Association for Federal Enterprise Risk Management (AFERM)

Career Advancement

Mason GovCon Recognizes the Value of Academic Career Service Centers

A recent article in Washington Monthly caught our attention. Entitled as "As Graduates Obsess About Jobs, Colleges Cut Spending on Career Services," it presented some staggering statistics: US colleges and universities are reducing career center staff by 11.4%; and "Of the half of graduates who had any contact with career offices at colleges and universities nationwide, only 16 percent found them 'very helpful'.” The implications of this trend only adds to the financial risk of students, saddled with rising student loans, as they try to find jobs. Mason GovCon has always approached this in a different way. The first program decision we made was to commit to funding a career staffer who would bridge the needs of students seeking jobs in the GovCon market, as well as GovCon companies seeking students for internships and for hire. School of Business students are encouraged to make full use of these capabilities offered through our Go GovCon Hiring Initiative.

Exploration & Solutions

Trump and the GovCon market: How much should you worry about what the president says?

Washington Technology

John Hillen's Commentary in Washington Technology offers CEOs insights on how to conduct business under the new Trump administration. What is happening? Who or what matters more? How does this effect the relationship of government to business and business to government? As John describes in this article, "a certain amount of strategic clarity can be gained from knowing what matters most in the long run."

Academic Expertise

Affiliated Faculty Appointments Add Depth to Research

As a first tier research university, it is only proper for the Initiative to build connections to the School’s faculty for research and writing. We are very pleased to announce that three members of the faculty have accepted appointments as Affiliated Faculty of the GovCon Initiative:

  • Victoria Grady, Assistant Professor, Management;
  • Brett Josephson, Assistant Professor, Marketing; and
  • Mandy O’Neill, Associate Professor, Management.

Exploration and Solutions

When managing change, the mission is the best message

Victoria Grady

News at Mason: an interview with Victoria Grady by Damian Cristodero highlights the nature of change in leadership in government agencies. Tori describes how "service to the mission" is a critical factor behind a successful response to leadership changes. The article provides a quick and insightful look at change management by a Business professor applying an innovative approach to this subject.

Exploration and Solutions

Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce – GovCon Symposium

NoVA Symposium

The Initiative co-sponsored the annual Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce GovCon Symposium held in February 2017. John Hillen moderated a keynote presentation featuring an interview with Joe Jordan, CEO of FedBid and former Administrator, Office Federal Procurement Policy and Associate Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. [link to the Chamber]

 Academic Expertise – GovCon Courses

Strategic & Business Issues in Government Contracting

MBA 797 photos

This spring John Hillen wrapped up teaching his first MBA specialty course – Strategic & Business Issues in Government Contracting in the MBA program. It is also the first course on GovCon course to be accepted as an MBA elective. Run as a seminar with a dozen students in the field, it was very well received. In addition, John and Dennis Kelly (CEO of Buchanan Edwards) taught the National Security concentration course in the EMBA Program. [link]

Pictured above are John Hillen with Dean Popps, who served two administrations as the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology (ALT) and the Army Acquisition Executive (AAE) from 2004 to 2010; Diane Zanetti, Government Contractor Section Manager, Capital One; and Jim Fontana, Co-Founder & Principal, Dempsey Fontana, PLLC and a member of the GovCon Board of Advisors.

Exploration & Solutions — Research

Town Hall for Business School Faculty

The Initiative shared business topics with faculty who are interested in conducting GovCon research. The topics suggested in discussions between John Hillen and GovCon executives, therefore, presented avenues ripe for research that would have a ready audience. The full range of academic areas were represented: Accounting, Finance, Information Systems and Operations Management, Management, and Marketing. Also discussed was the effort to commission case studies in the fall on either GovCon companies or industry issues. [link]

Career Advancement

GovCon Alumni Happy Hour

GovCon Alumni Happy

Our spring happy hour for GovCon alumni was again held at Chef Geoff’s. This event continues to attract alumni interest in the Initiative. It is also gives us a chance to introduce members of the Board of Advisors and the School faculty. To a person, attendees were impressed with the high energy level to promote all things George Mason. Hope to meet more of you this fall. [link]

Academic Expertise

Affiliated Faculty Research & Writing

The work of Mason GovCon Affiliated faculty is off to a great start.

  • The most recent example being Victoria Grady’s project with the Federal Aviation Administration, “Government Organizations and Change Management through the Prism of the Grady Attachment Style Index.” Mason GovCon will provide program support.
  • Brett Josephson’s research on “The Impact of the U.S. Government as a Customer on Financial Performance,” seeks to determine the best fit for business products or services in the government sector. [link http://business.gmu.edu/govcon/solutions/research/ ]
  • An innovative series written by Tori Grady and others for Bloomberg Government News was concluded. The focus of the series was to apply change management techniques to the changes in the federal government during the presidential transition. [link]

About Us

Interest in the Initiative is matched by the range and depth of GovCon practitioners who want to share their expertise for the good of the market. Our newest board members include:

  • Fran Craig, Unanet;
  • Richard Duvall, Holland & Knight LLP;
  • Chad Sehlke, Sehlke Consulting;
  • Andy Smith, McLean Group;
  • Ian Northrop, JHNA;
  • Eric Pietras, Bank of America Merrill Lynch; and
  • Karen Trowbridge, Trowbridge & Trowbridge.

See the website for the complete board list.

Dr. John Hillen Receives Prestigious US Navy Civilian Award for Ethics Study

hillen award

Dr. John Hillen, professor of management and executive-in-residence at George Mason’s School of Business, recently received the Meritorious Public Service Award from the U.S. Navy. It is the third highest civilian award the U.S. Navy can bestow.

The award was bestowed on Hillen, a decorated U.S. Army combat veteran, for his meritorious service over the past nine years as a member of the Chief of Naval Operations Executive Panel. As a personal advisor to four Chiefs of Naval Operations, Hillen provided expert peer level advice on essential Naval and National Security matters. He also led several studies for the Navy, including one on teaching and training ethics in the service. [more]

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