Highlight Joins the Drupal Partner Program

Highlight is proud to announce joining the Drupal Partner Program as a Community Partner. Drupal is an open-source Content Management System that utilizes APIs for multichannel publishing.

Highlight supports federal agencies to deliver and manage communication and outreach. Joining the Drupal partner program supports Highlight’s ability to provide an exceptional customer experience for our agencies’ stakeholders.

“Drupal provides our content development and digital production teams with a flexible content management platform to meet customer, agency, compliance, reliability, and security goals,” said Barry Lawrence, Senior Communications Manager.

Emilie Scantlebury, Director of Corporate Portfolio Development, said, “Our team is excited to join the international Drupal community of developers, content designers, and digital managers. Team Highlight knows that Drupal significantly reduces content development time and cost while significantly decreasing schedule risk or performance for our customers’ digital content needs. Our partnership with Drupal only reinforces the fact we are committed to bringing efficient, innovative, and proven solutions to any program we perform on.”

About Drupal

Drupal is the open-source content management software used by millions of people and organizations around the world, made possible by a community of 100,000-plus contributors and enabling more than 1.3 million users on Drupal.org. The Drupal Association is the non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating the Drupal software project, fostering the community, and supporting its growth.

About Highlight

Highlight Technologies (“Highlight”) is an award-winning, employee-owned, ISO® 9001, ISO 20000, ISO 27001, ISO 44001, ISO 56000 certified, CMMI-DEV Level 3, and CMMI-SVC Level 3 appraised federal contractor that provides digital government and mission support services to more than 20 U.S. federal government customers. Our customers include National Security (DHS, State, Army, Navy, DISA, the Joint Staff, DTRA, Intel), Health IT (USAID, USDA, NIH, HRSA, EPA), and Citizen Services (FCC, FDIC, FTC, GSA, HHS, SBA, Education, Labor). For more information, please visit www.highlighttech.com.

Episode 21 | Small Business Partnerships and Utilization 

Announcement: Broadcasting from Fairfax, Virginia, you are now tuned in to The Highlight Cast with your hosts, Adam McNair and Kevin Long.

Adam McNair: Hello everybody and welcome to another episode of The Highlight Cast. Hi, I’m Adam McNair from Highlight. Appreciate everybody taking the time to tune in. We are joined by several special guests today. Uh, First off, we have both of our business unit leaders from Highlight here from Digital Government. We have Kevin Long.

Hey, Kevin, how are you? I’m great, Adam. Thanks for having me back. And excitingly, uh, happy to have, uh, our Mission Services business unit leader, Tamar how are you? 

Tamar Mintz: I am so happy to be here. 

Adam McNair: Fantastic. Yeah, this is, uh, this is exciting to be able to have, uh, both business units, uh, on the, on the highlight cast today. And, uh, our topic today is about small businesses and small business utilization. Uh, as a company, we have been a small business and are in the process of transitioning to, you know, really there’s only kind of two status for a business. You’re either small or you’re large, and we end up calling ourselves a mid size, but from a government procurement standpoint, there generally is no such thing as a mid tier business. You’re just either small or large, but so we have two of our small business partners with us today. So, uh, wanted to welcome, uh, Rish Patel. Rish, how are you? Well, I’m doing great. Excited to be here today. Thanks for the invitation. Great. And could you, uh, kind of introduce everybody to, uh, to your company, please?

Rish Patel: Sure. Yeah. Uh, my name is Rish Patel. I’m CEO of RP Professional Services. We’re a service disabled veteran owned small business and, uh, in house. a small business. Um, we support both the federal government on the mission solution side and the technology solution side. 

Adam McNair: Fantastic. Thank you. Thank you, Rish. And we are also joined by Jatinder Sehmi . Jatinder , would you like to introduce your company, please? 

Jatinder Sehmi: Yeah, sure. Thanks, Adam, for having us. And, uh, hey, everybody. My name is CEO of Fodley Consulting Group. Uh, yeah, we’re really excited to be here today. We work really well alongside Rish, and we’re also pretty much on the same trajectory. So I can just literally mimic what Rish said. We’re a small 8A business in the GoCon space and, you know, do exactly the same thing Rish does. 

Adam McNair: Yeah, well great. Well, happy to have you guys, you know, um, it is, it’s common for us to team with other companies. You know, there’s a lot of different reasons for doing that. Uh, sometimes somebody has a particular skill set, sometimes it’s just, uh, extra, extra level of effort. Um, you know, we’ve had, you know, a lot of instances where we team, but as you graduate to being a large business, the procurements actually require you to, uh, to add small businesses to the team and really focused in and tried to make sure with our partner program that we work with, you know, the same groups as much as we can. Um, and So sometimes that’s on bid. Sometimes that on existing programs. Um, I was going to ask, uh, you know, Kevin and then tomorrow. Are there, uh, specific instances where, you know, reaching out for for teaming? Um, there was there was something that you really felt it was necessary and you needed to reach out. to add to the team and kind of what your what your use case was. Why did you need to go team? 

Tamar Mintz: One of the benefits of working with the small businesses as a small business is you have the same mindset. There’s this really strong mission focus and the ability to be agile and flexible. And especially on our programs, we want to make sure that the customer is always first. And that means that you sometimes have to do things that a larger business can’t because there’s a lot of red tape. Um, I think that. The other benefit is you’re able to meet and integrate with the core members of the team. So for example, both with Jitendra and Rish, we’ve been able to establish these relationships. So I know that the work is going to get done effectively and that it’s going to be done morally. And it’s going to be done to the best of their ability. And I think that’s so important to our federal customers. It’s not just the name of the business, it’s ensuring that you’re getting the best support. So that’s my two cents, Kevin. 

Kevin Long: Yeah. Um, for sure. When, when, uh, I’m looking at, at, uh, teaming for small business, uh, you know, before, before we win the work, you know, I mean, just, you know, from a purely mercenary point of view, sometimes only a small business can bid on it. Right. And so finding a partner for that, if it’s a really juicy piece of work that we want to do, uh, working with one of our partners, that’s able to, To prime that and have us help them win is something that I look for. And then when we’re priming, also, a lot of these bids are a lot of work. And I find that small businesses often have a lot of customer knowledge. They have a willingness to pitch in and help. And, you know, many hands make light work. And like Tamar said, there’s, I mean, honestly, there’s less red tape with smalls than there are big ones. Are with larges and when you get them on the team, uh, at least the ones that we like to work with, uh, you know, they’re, they’re all in, uh, they share our, our, our ethos. They share our work ethic. They share our approach and it just, it makes it so much easier to that. You can make a lot of assumptions as you’re going forward that the things are going to happen, right? And that the work is going to happen in that. Everyone’s going to be pulling in the same direction. And so, yeah, I mean, I love, I love, I love making my job easier by working with more people. 

Adam McNair: Yeah. And that, that, that point about kind of the ease of working with the companies, um, some of that I think is, is entrepreneurial spirit of the leadership team. There’s also some just pure logistical aspects to that. Um, you know, Large businesses, a lot of times, if you have an approved purchasing system that, that is, is audited every year, you have to operate your purchasing department almost like the government does, where just because you want to go get somebody on a team, you need to demonstrate that you sent, you know, you solicited quotes from multiple companies and that you did a competitive process. So there are, when you work with the. Real giant large businesses, uh, a lot of times it almost feels like that procurement process is the same as the, you know, kind of the same rigor as the federal procurement process. So I, you know, I was gonna ask, I think there’s, you know, that logistical piece, but there’s also kind of the, the entrepreneurial mindset. So, you know, Rish, I wanted to ask you from, um, starting up your, your, your company. Okay. Was the the intent to start it out as we’re going to be really flexible and we’re going to be entrepreneurial or is that something that has evolved? Like, what? What was your core motivation? Was there a cultural? This is what I want my company culture to be. And I want us to be easy to work with. Was that was that a core part of starting the company? Or does it? Um, 

Rish Patel: that’s a great question. Um, I think, uh, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say, you have to be flexible when you’re starting a business, right? You have to have that mindset because, um, If not, you just, you just won’t survive, right? You can’t be a rigid, small business. I was gonna want to work with you. So, uh, that was, I mean, that has to be the foundation of it, but, you know, when we looked at, you know, what we want it to be, right. Um, it goes back to our company tagline, our motto, which we’re actually getting trademarked because I believe in it so much. Um, it’s, it’s people, not just resources. Right. And we apply this. This trademark, this, uh, this motto to really everything from the way we manage our people, to the interactions with our clients, to how we treat our partners and even our vendors as a small business. Right. Um, and it just goes back to treating the folks that you’re working with as, as the people that they are. Right. And our, you know, as, as a business, I mean, I think our top product is our people, right. We’re a services company. Our, our. Our widget is a person, right? That’s what we, that’s what we, uh, how we make our money. And so we want to make sure that, you know, we have a very people centric, uh, approach, right?

Adam McNair: Yeah, that certainly is. It is interesting, I think, that you, that you started there. Um, you know, I think a lot of, a lot of times when you’re starting a company, the I hear a lot of times just a either a technical idea or a customer relationship and, um, it, it, it makes sense. I think that that you had that kind of strategy because it’s certainly that’s, I think, been our experience working with your organization. Jatinder , in your business, when, when you were starting up, uh, oddly, was there a, was it just an entrepreneurial mindset? Did you, did you have, uh, an end state goal in mind? Like, what, what brought about your decision to start up a, a GovCon services organization?

Jatinder Sehmi: For me, it was just, I’m an entrepreneur at heart, so I mean, I’ve been doing this 20 years. I just truly love doing that. Whether it’s business or personal, I still feel that I have that entrepreneurial spirit where I just want to spread love and culture and stuff like that. So, getting into the GovCon space was Newer for me, they weren’t really in line with some of the other businesses I’ve built over the years. But one thing I had done a really good job of was always building fantastic culture and all those, and I wanted to kind of try to take it into the GovCon space and build my, I’m going to talk about companies primarily around culture and company culture and relationships. That was probably the determining factor of why I actually did this and then things just started evolving from there and I started meeting great people such as all you guys in this call and plenty of others. Right? Building those relationships is what keeps me alive every day. Uh, we don’t really chase the revenue side aspect. We’re a little bit different in that way. That is not in my top three of what I want out of my company. Obviously that comes along with it. Um, and the more it comes, I mean, that’s great too, but I like the culture side. I like building things. Um, I liked, you know, I would like to build a house with somebody and look back and say, Hey, look what we built. Not really, not necessarily looking at the monetary value of what it may be worth or whatever, because that’s secondary to me. Uh, so yeah, I’m, I’m happy to see where this ride takes me, but, uh, so far, uh, I’ve been blessed and, uh, You know, I mean, blessed by really good employees too. So, um, yeah, that’s it. 

Adam McNair: Yeah. And, you know, to, to, to add on to something, uh, you know, that you said, I, one of the things that we say a lot in our business development meetings is that, you know, if you, if you continue to do the right things consistently enough, that, that growth will come. You know, you can’t, I’ve always believed that you can’t chase an individual deal. And live or die by it, you know, it is a process because there’s, there’s just too many variables in, in, in any of these procurements or in any of these programs. I think we’ve all had programs where you thought there was going to be a lot of value and either an agency consolidates or a budget changes. And you can objectively step back and go like, is there anything else that I, I should have done to have that program not end early? And realistically, there’s, there’s not, you know, there’s not a lot. Um, but I also think that there are times where, you know, I’ve been a subcontractor to somebody or I’ve worked with another business where I, I felt like a lot of effort went into winning a program or delivering a program and I ended up with such a, a minor role or not really a seat at the table, um, in the overall delivery and it kind of felt like, well, you know, I, I, I just wish I could be more impactful to this program and if you’d let me, I, I’d, I’d really like to help. So I was going to ask. You know, um, you know, tomorrow and Kevin, have there been experiences that you’ve had that you’ve drawn on, you know, you both clearly have a strategy in a way that you interact with subcontractors. You know, a lot of times we write in proposals, you know, it’s, this isn’t going to be a pure prime sub relationship. We’re going to be partners and. I’ve been a part of a lot of situations where that clearly was in writing, but that was not what they meant. What they meant was, we’re going to be partners until we win, and at that point, if we need something from this guy and we can’t get it from ourselves, then maybe we’ll ask him. But otherwise, he’s not coming to meetings, he’s not going to know what’s going on, and you know, he’s just some guy with a subcontract. And I didn’t really feel like I was part of the program. Are there, are there. Specific motivations that you have or, or techniques or strategies, uh, for, for integrating, you know, a team for, for, for whether it’s winning or for delivery.

Kevin Long: Let’s assume that we’re starting from the beginning. When I, when I’m putting together a team to win work, right? Um, I’m not just going to, Add subcontractors that subcontractors, right? There is an analysis into reason why everybody is on the team, right? Either, you know, it’s customer intimacy. There’s a specific skill set. There is, uh, you know, there’s something that they bring to the team. That I look at and I go, yes, this will help me win and execute. Right. And so, yeah, I mean, when I look at bringing folks on, uh, you have conversations with the team teammates early on, it’s like, this is what I expect out of you before this, what I expect of you during this is what happens if I don’t get that. And, um, nobody gets surprised by. By how I tend to operate in, in, in execution after, after we’ve gone through teaming and having that common understanding throughout, I mean, really means it’s like when you’re a teammate, it’s like, look, I need you to hire. It’s a PMO contract. I’m going to need you subcontractor to hire. Two junior level PMs and have them ready to start. It’s like great. They can open up those job recs and start hiring. They bring them in and and then there it is. And, you know, you give them the roles and then then they’re working. They’re part of the team and you keep the conversation going. And I honestly think it’s a lot easier. Once you’re executing with folks on the ground with that, because then you really are that whole one badge thing where you have, uh, where you have conversations with the folks that are working for your subcontractor along with everybody else on on our team and because we work with partners that care about their folks, we’re talking with their headquarters. People as well to make sure that they’re getting that their staff is getting what they need as well. And it’s, it’s a snowball. Right? And so, yeah, it’s the way I work at it is take your team for a reason. You’re up front with what you need out of them. And then you work with them to make sure that everybody’s getting what they need through execution on it.

Adam McNair: Makes a lot of sense. Yeah. You know, I think that. Being up front and open about how you want to work together sounds like something that you’d get all the time, but, um, maybe I’m just jaded as having been a subcontractor to the people I’ve been a sub to, that a lot of times that doesn’t happen. So 

Kevin Long: often I find, at least with some people, Some places like earlier in my career, you’d get added to the team, A, for a logo and B for, uh, what set aside you could claim on it. And that was it. Or as some sort of quid pro quo for something that then never came to, came to fruition. And yeah, it’s, yeah, it’s frustrating. 

Tamar Mintz: Yeah. Tamara. So it’s interesting. You say Kevin quid pro quo. And the reason why is one, there’s This conversation reminded me that I had to set up a solution session with a partner for a bid. So this is a good trigger. Um, but, but to that point, I think, you know, going into these partnerships, it’s important to determine what do you want from me and what do I want from you? Like, let’s say that we’re working on a new opportunity. The question is, how is that going to equally provide us value, not only from delivery, but from a bid experience?

Experience, especially with some of the smaller businesses who haven’t gone through some of these steps before. Um, and I think that’s something that you have in the beginning to the point of having transparency, good or bad. From my perspective, let’s have the discussion, and I think having that discussion, whether or not it’s. It’s tough or fun and fuzzy is important for any relationship. I think the other thing that I try to do is play up to strengths. So by being able to establish some of these relationships, we’re really able to determine where our partners are super strong and He can’t. Capitalizing off of that. Like we want that because there’s areas that, you know, we’re not perfect at quite yet, we’re all, we’re all trying to get there yet, yet, but trying to get on that. And I think even from, you know, the partners we have on the call, Rish and his team are amazing at recruiting, uh, Jitinder and his team are also amazing at recruiting, but Jitinder, I would say from your side, you have this heart about your business that also, you know, I see in delivery on every day. And I think that both of those together are really important and add so much value to our teams. And I try to think about that when we’re looking at bids, looking at opportunities, in addition to the technical skills that you both have kind of exploiting those, um, as well. And I think from the opposite, the flip, um, having that transparency where both you and our other partners say, this is what we need from our growth trajectory. This is what we need as we want to grow. To focus on that from bid to execution across the board. So the bid process, we want to learn more about this execution. We want to see how you do a ramp up. We want to, so, you know, those are things where we both can benefit from each other. And I think that’s kind of what we look at in addition to the transparency from the beginning. So there’s no surprises that that’s a clear expectation. 

Adam McNair: There’s some really interesting points there. And one of them, I think, is that. The culture of the organizations and their motivations and alignment is a big part of determining success and working together. And, you know, the concept of culture and business, when I was working at CACI a long time ago, Jack London, who was the CEO at the time, gave all of the officers a book about company culture and the importance of culture and that businesses that had strong cultures ended up being valued more from a stock standpoint than companies that did not. And it was kind of an odd concept for me at the time because he talked about company culture. Endlessly, and I was, I mean, to be honest with everybody, I was about 50 50 split between maybe there’s something to this, or I think maybe he believes this. So he went to go find a book that supported what he always says, and then handed it out to everybody. And then when we went to the ISO, 44, 000 certification process, and you start reading through the model of ISO, 44, 000 for business relationship management. And collaboration solidly 30 percent of what it talks about is the alignment of the culture of the organization that you’re going to work with. And I, I found that really interesting because now it was cultural fit was becoming an ISO audit topic to say, like, are we really checking for this now from a client standpoint? I don’t think we have had to think that much about that because if you’re in a true commercial business, you might end up doing business with some people that you don’t like how they operate, and you’d have to make that decision. The federal government has very rigorous rules for how they operate, so that kind of level sets it on that side, but from a partner standpoint, the interesting thing about 44, 000 was it actually said in paper to me We’ve gone off and decided on best practices for how to work together and you officially need to analyze the culture and the values of a company you’re going to work with to decide if you should be working with them or not. And it’s interesting because, you know, we, we didn’t specifically, Uh, we have some teaming analysis that we do before we work with a company, but it comes out, I feel like, in this conversation, that as we’re talking about, as we’re talking about RP, as we’re talking about Audley, um, that there’s a lot of cultural alignment with, you know, you guys want to do good work, and you want to be good companies, and you want to take care of your people, and, uh, you know, Rish’s slogan, Jitendra, your motivation, it sounds like a lot of that is, really kind of aligned with what we’ve been talking about. So I was curious, um, you know, if, if either of you would have some thoughts about what ways do you go about vetting or thinking about who you’re going to work with? Um, you know, when you’re gonna, you know, obviously we’re, we’re in an existing relationship, but, you know, maybe when we started working together, what were the, the things that made you decide, yeah, I’m gonna, I’m gonna work with this organization? Um, if either of you wants to, it has some thoughts on that and wants to go first. 

Jatinder Sehmi: A lot of the things and a lot of the way I run my business and businesses is very unorthodox. So this question might, I mean, this answer might kind of be weird, but like I’ve, you know, always stated, everything was about culture for me. People, uh, I, I stay in my lane when it comes to knowing what I’m good at. I do not veer off into anything. I don’t know. And relationships I know very well, people I know, I can read people very well. So to answer your question, I do it merely off of. a personality standpoint on if I can trust this person right now, I know. And typically I’m right. Um, and that’s just how I kind of then start digging into, yeah, this, this will work because Your initial conversation with somebody, sometimes you can’t really get a feeling of who the person is and stuff because it’s like a, you know, first impression. The second time around, you can start feeling them out a little more and there’s always going to be triggers that you start questioning yourself and when those triggers start happening in your mind, always trust your instinct. Right? Uh, and say, I, I don’t like where this is going, or I’m not sure this is going to be a fit, or I’m not sure what’s going to happen. My company and my people are going to be happy working with this person. Uh, and that’s kind of how I start the process. And then obviously I go to my team and I start asking them, Hey, I want you guys to vet them out too, and make sure that you guys can work with them. I like them. I like that person as a person. And I also like them as a cultural standpoint of where their company is. I want to make sure you guys can get along with them. And if they say we’re not sure, I always take their side and say, that’s cool. That’s a decision you made. Let’s go with it. But, uh, I always do it based solely off of personality of the people.

Adam McNair: Well, and I, I’ll tell you, I think there. I do. I agree with you. I think that makes a lot of sense. I will tell you one of the reasons I’m at highlight is, you know, several years ago, a long time ago. Now, frankly, I had a program that was being re competed that I was precluded because of a subcontract agreement. I wasn’t allowed to bid on. I wasn’t allowed to be on the incumbent team. I wasn’t allowed to bid with anybody. And, uh, it was because the company did kind of an unethical thing and slipped something into a contract mod where now, I wasn’t allowed to be on, I wasn’t going to be on their team, but I wasn’t allowed to be on anybody’s team. And when I talked to Highlight about it a long time ago, a decade ago, I said, look, here’s what I know about this program. I’m actually not allowed to bid on it. But if I can introduce you to some of these people and if you end up winning and you wanted to sub me, you know, my people back, I’d love to see that happen.

With nothing in writing and no negotiation and no anything, Highlight won that program and called me up the next day and said, hey, we won. We can get you subcontract for your people. There was no obligation. There was no anything there. There was an opportunity to probably make, you know, I don’t know, a decent amount of additional profit, especially for the size of the company at the time. But there was probably never, never a thought with anybody. In in the corporation at that time that that’s something that they would do. Um, so I think that let somebody show you who they are. And if if you if you figure that out, okay, like, yeah, you know, and I agree with you because there’s making your own problems. Is a real bad thing. You know, there’s enough challenges with a program with the logistics of things with I got to get these people through a security process. When can they start and every transition that I’ve ever done. You know, I always tell everybody. Look, whether the contract says it’s 30 days or 90 days or whatever, it’s not. It’s, it’s at least six months of trying to get this thing up and stable and, you know, we’d all like it to go perfectly, but somebody’s clearance isn’t going to go through. Somebody who was an incumbent is going to say they’re going to work on your team and they’re going to be dependable and you’re going to find out that they applied for other jobs during the procurement and they’re going to quit in the third week. Stuff’s going to happen. So let’s not us being in the way, making our own problems. Um, and so I, I think the personal side of that certainly makes a lot of a lot of sense. Now, Rish on, on your side from a teaming, you know, selection standpoint, is it deeply personal? Is it a combination of personal and other things? How do you, how do you do that? 

Rish Patel: I think it always starts off personal, right? Um, so my experience is a little bit different than Jitendra’s. I’ve been in this business for, for a while, right? And now I’ve, I’ve. fairly well networked. Just using the highlight example, I mean, Tamar and I had known each other through Young FCA and we served on the same Young FCA board. He was actually my secretary, um, back then. Um, and we had worked together in this, you know, non necessarily work environment. So we’ve known each other for a while. And so when the first time we had this opportunity to kind of work together on something in a professional setting, it was, it was very easy because I’ve known Tamar for many years and, and I, I knew who he was. You know what she was about and, and, you know, I knew we could work together. Um, and that’s just the beginning though, right? That, that gets the foot in the door, um, and, you know, highlights one of our, our large, not one of it is our largest partner. You guys are our mentors in the men, you know, SBA mentor prodigy program, right? Um, we. We have a really strong bond here, and that isn’t because of Tamar, right? That’s because of the rest of you folks from Highlight on this call, right? I mean, I think three out of probably the six or seven leadership folks that are on the call exemplify the same exact philosophies when it comes to partnering, um, as, as, you know, my Long time contact to Martin, right? And so that’s sort of, you know, it starts with this personal relationship, right? We might’ve met at a networking event or known each other for years or a friend of a friend or whatever it may be, right? That’s how you, you know, that’s how we start working with the company. Um, but then it’s up to the rest of that organization to say, yeah, this is a company that we want to continue to work with, right? And that we’re going to have a, have a, have a great relationship with. And we’ve had plenty of examples where, uh, You know, the person that brought us in and got us in the team on the team, but it was great. And then that person leaves and all of a sudden our entire relationship leaves with them, right? We’re in fact dealing with something right now where we teamed with someone that individual left the company, won the program, and now we’re going through the subcontract process. We have internally or we had a discussion that we might not even sign a sub K with them because we don’t think we can actually work together with them on fulfilling this program. Um, and that’s, you know, we’d rather stick with partners where we have similar, uh, cultures. 

Adam McNair: Well, there’s something that I think is an important concept there. Um, that consistency. Is a big part of having a relationship. So you know what to expect. And if it is part of the corporate culture that that hopefully means that if you talk to Kevin, if you talk to tomorrow, if you talk to somebody that works for one of them, if you talk to somebody in a recruiting organization that the culture is going to tie the values together. And so you’re going to have. You know, if you talk to somebody that works for Tamar, they’re probably going to make decisions and offer things that, you know, the words might be different, but it’s the same underpinning of, oh, we said we were going to have you fill these seven positions and go ahead and fill them and, and you’re going to get the same end result, whoever that you end up being. I, something that it made me think of is, you know, from a, from a prime standpoint, from a working with a small business standpoint. And even if we’re a sub to you guys at the small business side, you know, the consistency is because you are the owners of the companies. It’s complete consistency for us. You know, if we’re going to call RP, it, Rish is going to be there. If we’re going to call Audley, Jitendra is going to be there. And even if we’re talking to somebody that works for you and they might be new and whatever, but the kind of overarching relationship and, uh, and knowing how the business operates, it’s always, you know, You guys, cause you, it’s your business. And when you work with, with larger organizations at some point where you don’t have that entry through the CEO or the owner, that scenario, Rich, that you’re talking about where. All of a sudden, all the people that remember anything that was ever said to you seem like they are all in different rooms, different buildings. They don’t work there anymore. It gets moved around. That’s a significant challenge. And because I was asking myself as we got ready to do this, this, this, Podcast today. So, you know, well, what as a, you know, we’re talking about small business utilization and how we use small businesses. And so there’s certainly some topics there. But, you know, what is it about us? Highlight? You know, we’re a large company now, but we’re not a 15 billion dollar company where. Uh, you know, kind of just not small anymore. And so what does that mean? And I do think that consistency is important. And so maybe, um, you know, the evolution of commitment to culture is that As you guys grow your businesses, and as Highlight has grown, there’s still consistency. You know, Kevin and Tamar have been running, you know, their respective business units here for a long time. As we’ve grown, they’ve certainly added people, but those people that they’ve added, you know, there’s consistency there. Our contracts team, there’s consistency. Our recruiting team, there’s consistency. It, I think is a real benefit for, for any teaming relationship when you, not only do you know where the culture is now, but you, you see consistency over time. And, um, I think small businesses, there’s that consistency of, of the ownership. And I think, um, it’s, it’s a benefit to us that we’ve been able to, to have that kind of consistency from, um, You know, from from our company as well. Um, you know, I get the other, you know, kind of if there are other small businesses that are listening to this that they say, look, I know you guys have said a lot about, um, you know, you have some trusted relationships, you know, you’ve, you’ve worked with highlight. Um, but if somebody is starting their small business and they, they don’t have a go to partner. At that stage of their business, whatever size their small business is, um, either you have any advice for somebody on what’s, what’s the way that I should go about whether it’s developing that network or how do I go find the companies that I should be working with? Do you have any advice based on your experience with your organizations?

Rish Patel: Um, I mean, my advice would be to start building that network, right? Build that network of folks that you can, you can work with, um, you know, and then it’s like that, uh, you know, um, that’s, that’s the story about kissing all the frogs, right? The fairytale, right? You, you, you, you’re gonna have to kiss the frogs, but you have to go into every one of these opportunities. Every one of these deals with the right mindset, that it’s going to be successful, That they are going to do what they’re telling you and you have to do what you’re telling them, right? You have to go in there expecting it to succeed. And just know that sometimes it doesn’t. And if you become cynical, especially early on or even at our stage, right, that some of these deals won’t work, and you treat them that way initially, then they definitely won’t work, right? Um, and as, you know, I, my team always jokes, jokes with me because they, they literally say that I’ve never, I’ve seen a deal that I don’t like, like, anytime there’s an opportunity where it’s like, yes, this is great. This is the best thing since sliced bread. Right. Um, and that’s sort of how you have to approach it, right? Because you’re going to have to work with as many companies, as many partners as possible initially. Right. And not all of them are going to be great. And that’s okay because you still learn something from it. Right. That, I mean, it’s all about, like, there’s no. Small business that just has this media or media or rise without having some challenges. Right. And because without that, you can’t continue to grow. You haven’t learned any lessons. Um, and so, you know, if you if you if you start every conversation, every every teaming arrangement, With wanting to, to be, for it to be successful, then, uh, then that’s really the only way you’re going to end up with a few successful ones. 

Adam McNair: You know, I think we’ve, we’ve all been through a lot of teaming relationships, um, you know, over the years and, and the way, you know, some, some bids work out, some bids don’t, some relationships work out, some, some don’t. Um, you know, one of the things that I always encourage a lot of our capture teams that if we bid something and we don’t win. Um, you know, it feels like this zero sum, like we’ve lost and it’s over and it was useless and we wasted all this time. And I, honestly, will usually bring up, there’s value that came from this that isn’t gonna be lost. Um, you know, there’s, there’s either intellectual capital that we built doing this, or there are relationships, or, you know, there’s, there’s something that came from this that is going to be, you know, beneficial. At the time, I lost a gigantic deal. Uh, one time that at the time was the biggest thing I’d ever bid and it had been a lot of work and, you know, I, I said some of those things and we ended up a few months later using some of the same, uh, methodology content. to win a big deal at, uh, PBGC, Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation. And there were, you know, engagements with partners. Um, you know, one of the, uh, the BPAs that, that we won, um, I got protested so it’s not There’s still no task orders out on it, but we want to BPA at GSA. But some of the partners we have on that, there were some DEA bids that we put in that were unsuccessful, but some of the partners that ended up being on that came from those deals. And, you know, so I, I do think that staking out those relationships, having some of those experiences. And then just being open to seeing where it can go from there, uh, can lead to kind of some long term successes and some long term value. Tamara, you had a point?

Tamar Mintz: Yeah, so one of the things that I think, you know, highlight as we grew, I think we were honest with our partners, our large business, mid sized companies. And I think something that we even do now, um, is You know, our integrity in our, our word are so important that we make sure in any type of arrangement that we have, we articulate what we can deliver. And I think that’s also a success factor for any small business looking to team and find partners. In addition to kissing frogs, we do that too. Um, but making sure that when we, when we’re having the discussion, it’s, it’s a, if this isn’t the right one, let’s find another one that does make sense because if we’re not adding value as a partner, then we shouldn’t be on your team. And I say that to almost every business that I talk to when we’re building a new relationship, or we’re looking at a specific opportunity. Yeah, I want to be on every winning team, but I’m not helping you from a value perspective, or just doesn’t make sense, then let’s find 1 that does. And I think having that open and ominous conversation, um, builds a dynamic and a relationship where they know that if you are joining a team or trying to work together, There’s a reason. And I think that can help guide and grow your business more than anything else, because it’s showing that you, uh, do what you say and say what you mean. Um, so many companies don’t. And, um, that might not always be an easy conversation. I know that I’ve had many topics with companies, um, eight A’s, uh, small businesses who come to us and say about your work, Like, are you teamed and, you know, they try to flip business. And I think if I could give any advice, it’s come and explain the value for that. Because for a lot of it, I don’t, I’m not trying to be mean when I say this isn’t going to be a bit, this isn’t going to work, but, um, strategically there, there should be a mutual benefit and gain and just asking to flip work isn’t necessarily there. So, um, saying not this one, but understand that there’s another one Is really good that we can work on is also really important. So I just wanted to add that tidbit because, um, I think it’s really helped grow the relationships that I have had and I currently have and hope to expand on is setting those expectations with our partners and making sure that, you know, From both sides, they know that it’s going to be mutually beneficial when we do find one, because we’re going to win it.

Adam McNair: I think that’s a very, very good point. And I, I think that kind of approach is, is a real, really good one to use. Um, you know, and as I sit in here thinking about, you know, our engagements specifically with, Jitender’s companies, you know, we’ve had situations where, you know, you, you, you end up calling Rish 7 o’clock on a Friday and say, Hey, there’s going to be a whole bunch of positions. We’re going to need, you know, help staffing. I’m not sure exactly what the labor categories are going to be necessarily. And we’re not going to know rates for a little while. But if you can get started, it would really be helpful. You know, um, the 1 of the 1st, uh, kind of joint marketing calls that Jitender and I went on, uh, we were talking to, uh, to HRSA about, um, Honestly, it was kind of an interesting skills mix of, like, we think we need some records management, and we think we need some enterprise architecture, and we think we need some 508 compliance services, and, you know, one of the things we asked during this, why is all this in one group? It’s like, well, because I’m responsible for all that. It’s like, oh, okay. Okay, so that’s why the scope is what it is, because this is all the stuff you’re responsible for. And as we were putting together an approach for that, we had the conversation of, well, who’s going to have what staff on the program, and we don’t know what the rates are. And I mean, this wasn’t in writing. This was basically a handshake where we said, We’ll just have to figure it out. We, I don’t, I don’t know how we’re going to divide this or who’s going to find what people or who it makes sense to have what people. We’ll just figure it out. And, you know, we, we’ve successfully, uh, you know, work together with both of your organizations on, on big deals, on small deals, on, on complicated deals, on confusing ones. Um, so just what I wanted to wrap, wrap up with is, um, You know, there’s certainly if there are other companies that are that are out there that are looking for a real go to partners. Um, you know, you guys certainly have had a tremendous amount of value for us. And as much as we would like to think that. We all only ever work together and talk together and hang out together. Uh, certainly we want to, uh, you know, put, put a good word in for you. That if there are other people that, uh, they, they, they need a small business prime, they need an eight, eight prime. They, uh, they need a, an eight day. Uh, on their, on their team as a sub that they, uh, that, you know, they certainly would, would think of you guys. Um, what’s the best way, uh, to find you guys? 

Rish Patel: We, our website is, uh, www rp pro services.com. Um, there’s my, my beautiful mug is on there under the about US Leadership team, and I think you can connect with me on LinkedIn and connect with us, uh, there, or you can just find me on LinkedIn. Rich Patel. Um, CEO of RP Professional Services. Yeah. Fantastic. Jitinder, how about you guys? 

Jatinder Sehmi: Yeah, we’re going to be the same, right? Social media is always great. LinkedIn, you can always look me up. Um, I make sure that everybody has my phone number, you know, every staff member. So I would actually just give it out now. 301 366 3368. Anyone can call me anytime, 24 hours a day. Um, I’ve always been that way. Our website is www. theoddlygroup. com. Um, yeah, I’m sure you’ll find us somewhere. Fantastic. 

Adam McNair: Uh, that’s that’s great. Appreciate. Um, so really do sincerely appreciate, you know, the the experience we’ve had working with both of your organizations. Um, you know, the we’ve done a lot of a lot of good work together and there’s. Um, you know, I think one of the cultural aspects of us, and I know Kevin and Tamar share this, is we really just want to do good work, you know, and so, um, we’ve, we’ve definitely had programs where it’s really hard and you realize that Part of it is just that your partners and you, you know, you, you’re having internal problems working together and, uh, and we don’t have that when we work with you guys. So we really appreciate that. And, uh, you know, glad that you would take the time to chat with this, uh, today. So, uh, thanks everybody. Uh, thanks Kevin and Tamar for, for being part of the podcast today. Uh, Rish and Jitender, thank you for joining. Uh, Victoria Robinson, thank you for editing this up. And, um, And coordinating the whole process. So, uh, thank you very much for listening to another episode of the Highlight Cast. Uh, you can follow us on LinkedIn or highlighttech. com on the web. Uh, and, uh, stay tuned. The next episode, we’re going to be talking about emerging technology. So thank you. Uh, thank you very much, everybody. Have a, uh, have a great rest of your day.

The views and opinions expressed in this episode are those of the hosts and do not necessarily reflect Highlight Technologies and or any agency of the U. S. government.