George Mason UniversitySchool of Business

Capitol Building GovCon

Have you noticed our promotional video?

The Mason GovCon video continues to attract interest, engagement, and support as the Initiative works toward full Center status under the School of Business.

All of the Marks of Excellence have been initiated. The Initiative's financial support enabled the creation of the "Go GovCon Hiring" component of the School's Career Services. It is making an impact for the government and business to hire students as interns and employees. Industry exploration is growing with conferences co-sponsored by Mason GovCon, the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce and Live Oak Bank. The appointment of affiliated faculty, the launch of the GovCon Case Study Series, and plans to add a GovCon academic component to the School's business curriculum will prove to be hallmarks of a Center on Government Contracting.

Here is the link to our video. Please pass it along and bring more people to the effort. Join us as the program seeks to create a more efficient and effective market for the public good.


Winners of Inaugural WashingtonExec Pinnacle Awards Unveiled

Pinnacle Awards

Photo Caption: from left, Tony Moraco, Greg Baroni, Donna Morea, John Hillen and JD Kathuria

Donna Morea who was inducted into the WashingtonExec Hall of Fame, was honored for her lifelong leadership in the GovCon community. SAIC CEO Tony Moraco and Attain Chairman and CEO Greg Baroni spoke on Morea’s decades-long contributions and Baroni highlighted her as a trailblazer. The awards ceremony, emceed by Dr. John Hillen, was different from other GovCon award ceremonies in that nominators were asked to describe the “why” and the “how” of an executive milestone and/or federal client project. WashingtonExec founder and CEO JD Kathuria thanked each of the finalists and the winners: “Each and every one of you is key to driving critical missions, whether you are a senior leader or an executive assistant. Everyone here exemplifies true leadership, innovation and a drive to make the government more efficient and effective. We’re proud to recognize everyone’s hard work and look forward to doing it again next year.” Click this link for a full description of the awards and the list of awardees


Leadership and Innovation in Ample Supply

The Center for Government Contracting is proud and pleased to recognize the individuals and companies nominated for prestigious GovCon awards during the month of November. With the Greater Washington Government Contractor Awards and the 2018 WashingtonExec Pinnacle Awards, there is much to share. The Center extends congratulations and best wishes to all of the companies chosen for such recognition.

At the same time, the Center offers additional accolades for the awardee companies for their membership on the Center’s Board of Advisors: Evans Incorporated, ICF, and CGI.

GovCon Awards 2018

The Greater Washington Government Contractor Awards™ is the premier event honoring the leadership, innovation and commitment to excellence of the people and businesses in the region's government contracting community.

Presented by the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce and Professional Services Council (PSC), the Greater Washington Government Contractor Awards™ winners will be announced at an evening gala on November 5, which has been dubbed the "Academy Awards of Government Contracting." This unique networking event draws nearly 1,000 industry and government leaders.

Contractor of the Year (up to $25 million)

Sue Evans
Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer
Evans Incorporated
WashingtonExec Interview Link

Contractor of the Year (greater than $300)

Ellen Glover
Executive Vice President
ICF International
WashingtonExec Interview Link

Tim Hurlebaus
Cynthia Sereno, Vice President and Treasurer, represents CGI on the Board of Advisors
WashingtonExec Interview Link

Complete information on the Awards gala and program can be found on the following link.

All of the awardees were also interviewed by WashingtonExec. The interviews offer insights on the companies, their unique and successful approaches to working in the GovCon industry, and descriptions of how their corporate culture influences their operations both within and beyond the business. A link to each WashingtonExec interview is provided for each company.

2018 WashingtonExec Pinnacle Awards

Commendation is also offered to CGI for finalists for the 2018 Pinnacle Awards. Recognition is given in two categories:

EA of the Year (Public Company)

Maria Cornell
Executive Assistant, CGI

National Security Executive of the Year

Stephanie Mango
Senior Vice President, CGI

The Center also wishes to highlight the energy and drive of two of the strongest supporters of the GovCon industry.

The Center appreciates and recognizes John Hillen, Chairman of the Center’s Board of Advisors, who serves as a judge for the GovCon Awards and as emcee for this year’s Pinnacle Awards. John’s enthusiasm for things GovCon can be seen in his effort to create the Center for Government Contracting and his prolific writing on corporate leadership and the industry writ large. His latest book, “What Happens Now? Reinvent Yourself as a Leader Before Your Business Outruns You,” is an enjoyable must read [link here].

JD Kathuria, Founder and President of WashingtonExec, a member of the Center’s Board of Advisors, and an alumnus of George Mason University, deserves triple recognition. JD is a steadfast supporter of the Center, providing intellectual inspiration on how best to promote the GovCon industry across a full-range of engagement—from the annual, highly valued STEM Symposium to research and discussion of GovCon topics.


Jerry McGinn Appointed as Executive Director of George Mason Government Contracting Initiative

John McGinnMaury Peiperl, dean of the School of Business at George Mason University, announced the appointment of John G. (Jerry) McGinn, Ph.D. as executive director of the school’s Government Contacting Initiative, effective June 11, 2018.

This appointment continues the School of Business’s investment developing a distinctive academic competency in the GovCon sector. “The GovCon Initiative will serve as a model for aiding in student success in this leading local industry; in leading faculty engagement with government, industry, alumni, and other stakeholders; and raising awareness of our thought leadership in the field of government contracting,” said Peiperl.

As executive director of the Government Contracting Initiative, McGinn will be responsible for developing and expanding the GovCon initiative to full center status within the school. “I am very excited to be joining the George Mason School of Business” said McGinn in an interview with GovConDaily. “This is a great opportunity to establish a first-in-the-nation university center for research, teaching and collaboration on the issues facing the GovCon community. I very much look forward to working with George Mason faculty and students, as well as industry and government stakeholders, on this important effort.” [Announcement]


Exploration & Solutions

Defense and Silicon Valley: Don't let Google's folly set the tone

Mason GovCon Executive Director Jerry McGinn and Chairman John Hillen have written a thought provoking commentary in Defense News that is proving to be very popular. Using the backdrop of Google's decision to discontinue work on artificial intelligence for the Department of Defense under Project Maven, the author's promote the value of adopting an innovation ecosystem for companies to grow a sustainable competitive advantage. Enjoy the read. [link]


Exploration & Solutions

The Project 38 Podcast: The future of government contracting

Washington Technology logo

Nick Wakeman, Washington Technology Editor in Chief, has prepared a fasinating podcast series for government contractors to prepare for what the market will look like in 20 years — 2038? As Nick says, "It's not quite as far off as it sounds, and things are rapidly evolving." He has also assembled a stellar group of GovCon participants to explore these topics: From Stan Soloway on the "Market at the Crossroads," to John Hillen on the "Maturity of the Market, and the latest with David Kriegman on "Managing Through Disruption." Here is the link for Project 38. It has our highest recommendation.


Mason GovCon Alumni Happy Hour Huge Success

Alumni Happy Hour June 2018

Our thanks to the 100+ alumni who joined us at Chef Geoff's for the ever-popular GovCon Happy Hour. It is a chance for alumni to share thoughts and experience, to network with alumni and members of the Mason GovCon Advisory Board, and to hear the latest news from Chairman John Hillen. This event also provided a nice surprise for attendees: the opportunity to meet Jerry McGinn, our new Executive Director. And as shared by John, the door is open for alumni to engage in creating a one-of-a-kind center of excellence at the School, befitting the $500 billion GovCon industry largely headquartered in this region. To the 8,000-10,000 Mason alumni working on both sides of the industry, government and business, this is a great opportunity to join our network.


Academic Expertise

Not Just a Job: 7 Tips for New Grads with New Jobs

Exploration & Solutions

Washington Technology logo

John Hillen offers his best advice for new graduates starting new jobs but there also is something in here for all of us. [Washington Technology]

Opinion: Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Could Use a Chief Philosophy Officer

Hillen Nevins What Happens Now

John Hillen and Mark Nevins have written a fascinating book, "What Happens Now? Reinvent Yourself as a Leader Before Your Business Outruns You." The foundation for the book explores the following scenario: Few leaders will admit it, but again and again the growth of their organizations outruns their skills. If you’re one of those leaders, you know the result: as the job grows bigger than you are, you get disoriented by a world of unfamiliar challenges. You then hit a wall of ineffectiveness, a stall point. Why won’t doubling down on the managerial and technical building blocks that have worked before help you out of a stall? Because you invariably neglect the new political, personal, strategic, and interpersonal skills needed to manage yourself and others. Predictable and inevitable, your stall then escalates into a crisis. And the crisis escalates faster the higher you go, since challenges of sophistication dwarf those of complexity at higher organizational levels.

The recent experience for Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook presents an interesting case in point. How will Zuckerberg and Facebook meet challenges that are not technical in nature? For more, see the link to the article in MarketWatch. For more on the book, see the following link to Amazon. John Hillen is a leadership and strategy professor in the School of Business at George Mason University, a former public company CEO and a former U.S. assistant secretary of state. Mark Nevins is president of Nevins Consulting.


Academic Expertise

Managing Change in an Organization: Getting Ahead of the Curve to Sustain Profitability

Written by Jennifer Anzaldi on March 12th, 2018

Victoria GradyImagine if managers could tailor their management style for each individual employee to give them the exact tool they need to accept change with open arms, eliminating any decrease in productivity or profitability during change. With new research, we may just be that much closer to implementing this goal.

Imagine if managers could tailor their management style for each individual employee to give them the exact tool they need to accept change with open arms, eliminating any decrease in productivity or profitability during change. With new research, we may just be that much closer to implementing this goal.

Victoria M. Grady, assistant professor of management and director of the MBA and MS in Management graduate programs at George Mason University School of Business, has been studying various aspects of change in organizations for more than 12 years. Her latest research is focused on understanding attachment styles in organizational change.

Grady says, “There’s an anomaly in nature that baffles scientists: Parrot Fish. Parrot fish change shape and size numerous times throughout their lifecycle in response to their environment. Wouldn’t it be great if people were like Parrot Fish? Changing their shape or color to indicate to managers what was going on for them internally? The need for more training? More support? More details for change? Less details?” [more]


Exploration & Solutions

Women at the Top of Government Contracting

Logo NOVA Chamber

Working with the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, the Initiative co-sponsored this May 4, 2018 conference. The panelists provided insights into starting and growing a business in government contracting. The discussion covered workforce development, recruiting and retention, change management and company culture, the value of mentoring relationships—and how to correctly use this benefit, and being aware of where the company is now and where it is going. A link to the Chamber is provided here.

Academic Expertise

GovCon in the Classroom

MBA 797: Strategic & Business Issues in GovCon

Prof John Hillen provides a curriculum oriented on the unique strategic and operational aspects of the industry, plus discussions led by top government officials & GovCon leaders

MBA 796: Organizational Culture and Change in the NoVA GovCon Community

Prof Mandy O’Neill leads two graduate students through applying organizational culture theory to GovCon, working with us to open a fertile ground for Case Study topics

And in the EMBA program, GovCon Board Member Craig Reed is teaching two courses:

EMBA 741: Introduction to National Security

Possible topics include: National Defense Commercial Strategy, Competing Internationally in National Defense Sector, Small Business and National Defense

EMBA 743: Advanced Topics in National Security

Students will be provided an in-depth look at the strategy side of the National Security industry and will learn how security business position and re-position themselves in this changing market place. The process that firms go through to determine their overall strategy will be explored.

Academic Expertise

Graduate Certificate in Government Accounting

The 12-credit Graduate Certificate in Government Accounting in partnership with Kearney & Company is taught at George Mason University's Arlington campus and provides an opportunity for students to acquire education in the field of government accounting with a federal government emphasis. George Mason is uniquely situated in the federal government space. Additionally, courses in the certificate program will also help prepare students to sit for the Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) exams sponsored by the Association of Government Accountants (AGA). Certificate courses begin Fall 2018. A link to the certificate is here.


Exploration & Solutions

2018 GovCon Symposium: A New Wave: Industry Consolidation in the GovCon Market

Logo NOVA Chamber

The Initiative cosponsored the annual GovCon Symposium of the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce. Held April 18, 2018, the program provided a Keynote Address by Frank Kendall, and two panels offering insights into GovCon Leadership and Mergers and Acquisitions. The complete agenda can be found on this link.


Career Advancement

Sophia Marshall Connects with Congressman Rob Wittman

Sophia Marshall Meeting Congressman Rob Wittman

On Tuesday, March 13, Sophia Marshall, the Career Center's Mason GovCon Job Development Specialist, attended a GovCon breakfast at the Prince William Chamber of Commerce. The topic of the discussion was the "National Defense Authorization Act—What’s Coming?" New rules and regulations for government contractors, with a look at revamping the entire bid process, were discussed. Congressman Rob Wittman spoke to government contractors for about one hour. This session also provided the opportunity for Sophia to meet potential employers of business students and to introduce the School's GovCon Initiative to Congressman Wittman.


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.


 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]


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]


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..


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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