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In The Boardroom With...

Mr. Evan Scott
ESGI - Executive Search Consultants Thank you for joining us today, Evan. It’s an honor to speak with the Founder of ESGI, Chairman for The Homeland Security and Defense Council’s Membership Committee and a member of NDIA, InfraGard, and ASIS. Please give us an overview of your background and brief history of ESGI.

Evan Scott: Thank you, I have been in the retainer search profession for 30 years. I helped start the first retainer based search firm in Philadelphia which grew to become the 23 rd largest retained search firm in the country in 2000. (Recognized by Executive Recruitment News)

I sold my equity back to the partners in 2000 to begin ESGI. Our mission is to help clients from around the globe to work effectively with the United States Government. We accomplish this by helping clients attract talent who have track records of closing deals with all branches of Government to include DHS,DOD and Civilian agencies. What sets ESGI apart?

Evan Scott: What sets us apart is our understanding of the federal contracting business. We understand what categorizes a top performer in this very unique market. Our clients retain us based on our network and ability to access the most successful executives fast. The average search when engaging ESGI is 45 days as opposed to many of the larger search groups that can take between 4 to 6 months to fill positions. We are expert in behavioral interviews and references. ESGI understands how to help clients attract executives who will fit and understand their culture. We measure success by how well an executive performs one year after joining our client. We have a 93% success rate using this measure. Hiring mistakes are very costly. We increase our clients' chances of not making a hiring mistake. Bottom line: hiring ESGI helps you fill strategic positions fast and make the right selection. Your client list reads like a “Who’s Who” in the defense and security industry with blue-chip companies such as Capgemini, ASRC Federal, Siemens Federal, Smiths Detection, and L1-Morpho, just to name a few. And, we understand that ESGI has conducted retained executive searches for private sector companies serving every branch of the government, including The Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense and Civilian Please tell us about the “Services” provided by ESGI.

Evan Scott: ESGI is focused on executive search. We are a member of ITPWW thru which we can serve our clients globally. We have also established very close relationships with the top consulting firms here in Washington. This includes business development, strategy, GSA scheduling, legal and marketing. All of these affiliates are the best at what they do and understand the federal contracting business as their only specialty. We are a very good first call for any company that is interested in doing business with the federal government. Congratulations on being retained to assist the new CEO of Siemens Federal Infrastructure Business to help build a U.S Federal Practice. Can you elaborate for us regarding the goal of this contract? Are there any other success stories you would like to talk about?

Evan Scott: It was an honor to be selected by Siemens Federal to help them build a federal business from scratch. We were called upon to help create the organization chart, specifications, compensation packages and search strategy. I believe we were selected based on our reputation, network and ability to move fast. The success of this project is happening while we speak. Siemens is a great company with well engineered products for so many applications. During these challenging economic times, and with budget cuts facing the defense and security sector, what is your perspective on the business climate for companies in this space over the next few years? Do you see some sectors of the defense and security space outperforming others….cyber security solutions providers, for example?

Evan Scott: The interesting thing about our business is that the demand for talent typically follows where companies think the government will be spending money. For instance, this year we have handled CEO searches for services clients and heads of business development for services, consulting and product companies. The area where the government will spend money is in security, physical, cyber and information management. There is a lot of attention being paid to the INTEL community and Health Care,IT. This includes electronic medical records and other technologies to help with the care of our veterans. There is also a great deal of activity thru State Department bringing services to the Middle East and third world countries.

There are things the US Government must continue to do. Protect the country from terrorism and cyber attacks. First responders must be ready at the State and local levels. The budget cuts and economy really do not slow down these activities. What about smaller and mid-size companies? Are they on your radar as well?

Evan Scott: Did you know that 40% of all federal contracts must employ small business? We call these 8a companies owned by disabled veterans, women and companies with revenues under $50M.

Small business drives this economy and is where the new technologies come from. Most of the work we do is for what we call mid-cap companies. This represents clients with sales from $10M thru $1B.That is really our sweet spot. These are the clients where we can bring the most value thru our network and affiliates. We are also asked to help these companies to recruit advisory boards and CEOs. This is a great way to gain access to some of the top minds in the business. Consolidation in the defense and security market seems to be continuing at a rapid pace: Safran acquired L1, 3M acquired Cogent, HID acquired Lasercard, Stanley Black and Decker recently announced its acquisition of Niscayah shares. ASSA ABLOY, Ingersoll Rand and Tyco also seem to be very active in the hunt. Do you expect this trend to continue? Your thoughts?

Evan Scott: M&A happens in every industry and always will. As each sector spawns industry leaders they need to acquire companies in order to continue growth expected by shareholders. The most exciting place to be is at small company with great management team, products-services and a strong customer base. While mergers displace executives, companies tend to try and retain their top performers. When ESGI is hired we are expected to tap these individuals who are working and producing for their current employer. Small businesses need different competencies as they continue to grow. The team that can successfully start a business typically will not have the core competencies to grow the business past a certain revenue point. This is when ESGI can help attract executives who understand how to assist the company reach the next level. Thanks again for joining us today, Evan. Are there any other subjects you would like to discuss?

Evan Scott: I appreciate your interest in ESGI. We think that we are building a very special company. We were recognized this year as one of the top ten executive search firms in federal contracting by GovCon. I serve as Chairman for Membership on the prestigious Homeland Security Defense Business Council. Doing business with the federal government has nothing in common with selling to the commercial market. This is something many companies never understand. This is a very significant point and reason behind our specializing in this market.

Hiring talent is the most important activity any company must do. Relying on word of mouth, web postings and contingency firms decreases you chances of meeting and hiring the top performers. This is proven over and over and why the retained search profession continues to grow every year.