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Executive Spotlight: Patrick Collins, Chief Growth Officer of Aeyon

Patrick Collins, chief growth officer of Aeyon, recently spoke with GovCon Wire regarding the launch of the company through the Artlin-Sehlke consulting merger back in Sept. 2021 and how the company has and continues to drive growth and value for its workforce and customers.

In addition, Collins also discussed Aeyon’s push for artificial intelligence-related tools and capabilities as well as recent acquisitions and work with NASA that have driven the company’s footprint in Huntsville, and the challenges of maintaining a close company culture as the organization continues to grow during the latest Executive Spotlight interview.

“It will be a challenge as we continue to grow. I think we’ll have roughly 700 employees by year’s end and it gets harder to keep that culture strong. I believe we’re focused on ensuring people feel they have a home. They can build a career at Aeyon and we’re going to drive as hard as we can from there.”

You can read the full Executive Spotlight interview with Patrick Collins below:

GovCon Wire: What can you tell us about the company’s recent growth initiatives and how you’re driving value for your customers through contract awards, acquisitions, and other aspects across the federal sector?

Patrick Collins: “Aeyon was launched in September as a result of the Artlin-Sehlke consulting merger. Artlin provided an incredibly strong background in data policy, data governance, data analytics, and acquisition management practices.

Sehlke has also brought robotic process automation, financial management, logistics and supply chain, and digital transformation lines of business to the platform. We believe the combined complementary capabilities from both companies will provide great value and for both growth opportunities for our customers and employees.

We recently completed two additional acquisitions that will allow us to grow into a more complete data and process automation driven management consulting company: MTS – which is an engineering and program management company based in Huntsville Alabama, and The Marick Group – which provides talent management services for multiple Federal and SLED clients.

Aeyon is now able to bring a unique combination of veterans, retired civilians and subject matter experts across various disciplines, who have cultivated operational expertise from a wide swath of DoD and civilian agencies.

We are seeing strong customer and capabilities growth from all 4 legacy companies and as we start to meld the capabilities across all the customers and service lines, we will take four small businesses into one larger integrated platform.

We are customer focused and the client and our people truly come first. Aeyon is always striving to give the customer more from a capabilities perspective while providing the highest level of customer service and a small business delivery feel.

We believe we can drive technical and transformational solutions with our RPA and data analytics. We are certain these current solutions can not only enhance delivery to current clients but support the future mission with intelligent processes and services over the next few years.

We also now have the contract vehicle access and breadth to provide both our partners and the government quick and reliable contracting solutions that include but are not limited to multiple SBIR phase III solutions, GWACs, and agency specific IDIQs.

From an individual perspective, the integration of the people and processes has been great, and we would not be able to achieve all that we have without a complete team effort. I believe we have a great model that starts with client delivery in order to establish and feed our ability to grow and we plan to scale that model across all of our new clients and sectors.

GovCon Wire: What can you tell us about the recent BPA from the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center to provide artificial intelligence-related test tools, capabilities, and services?

Patrick Collins: “Two of the more recent wins for us were the JAIC blanket purchase agreement for Test and Evaluation Services and the Data Readiness for Artificial Intelligence Development (DRAID) Services. These both enhance our strategy to provide tech-enabled value to our customers.

The JAIC is one of the cutting-edge organizations driving innovation throughout the DoD and we are excited to be involved. We believe we can provide value to JAIC and the broader community through these vehicles.

Overall, it drives our goals from a technology perspective and an innovation point of view. We are trying to take many of these processes that have been ongoing in legacy systems for 10, 20, or even 30 years and deliver enhanced solutions with new tech.

The BPAs will allow the DoD to solve some of these issues by process automation, artificial intelligence, and data analytics. We will be able to glean more out of the current systems, or present a path to move forward to the next feature, next step or next system.

We can accomplish that through a multitude of ways, but one is just bringing in the latest and greatest technical capabilities and solutions which this BPA provides.

We’re constantly looking at how to take those processes and the associated data and make it work for the customer. The BPA with JAIC lines up well with what we already deliver with our SBIR program, which is all based on services and process automation.

Aeyon also has internal Data and RPA centers of excellence that we believe can enhance or fill gaps when it comes to not only the innovation at the headquarters level but ensuring that the innovation and change reaches and supports our warfighters at the edge.

It takes a lot of expertise to play both sides of innovation and get the capabilities where they matter the most. We have an inherent ability to bridge that gap and take a unique look at the challenges to see if we can accelerate the process.

If not, we can at least provide some foresight of the hurdles to reach the final solution. It’s going to be fun but innovation is always an uphill battle and a worthy challenge.”

GovCon Wire: What can you tell us about the implementation of recent acquisitions you’ve made and how they’ve benefited your portfolio, technical capabilities and driven value for your company and customers?

Patrick Collins: “The two areas that I’ll go into are the capability and new market standpoints. MTS is a program management and engineering firm based out of Huntsville, Alabama. They do a ton of work with NASA and the MDA.

The company started and established itself in Huntsville. They execute much of the agency’s engineering and program management support structures and are in a multitude of NASA Centers.  One of the most recent program successes was the rolling out of the new SLS rocket to the launchpad.

Aeyon is looking to grow even more as we build our position in Huntsville from a capabilities perspective and take that engineering, program management, acquisition management, and adding it to our current offerings at Aeyon.

I look at acquisition management and program management as part of that pie. We now have a more complete picture for the growth of the company. The same can be said from Marick. In a different way, Marick is a human capital management and talent management system implementer.

They implement training, learning management systems, human capital management and analytics that track the workforce’s productivity and readiness. Aeyon has gone through system integrations as well as change management and everyone is talking about workforce development.

How do I track it? How do I keep it? How do I actually put that into place? That’s what Marick does. They bring all of that together in a deliverable format for the customer. We believe these capabilities along with Aeyon’s already established data and RPA practices will drive real value to our customers across the Federal Space.”

GovCon Wire: How does your company ensure long term success for your workforce to drive value for your employees as you continue to face the uphill challenge to recruit and retain the best talent in the federal marketplace?

Patrick Collins: “It goes without saying that culture is important. We believe Aeyon to be an employee-led organization. Our people are our most valuable asset and some of the most talented people supporting the government today.

Artlin-Sehlke both had very similar cultures as they came together. Both had a lot of veterans and former civil service employees and looked at employee treatment and client delivery the same way. It’s been similar with our recent acquisitions as well.

In my opinion, mergers and acquisitions rarely fail because the ideas are wrong. They fail because the people and the cultures can’t come together. Aeyon is taking a very focused approach in ensuring the culture’s working and we’re giving everybody time to feel comfortable.

We want the best ideas coming from everyone and we want everyone to come together as a team. Our company has a client first, employee first culture that I think everyone has appreciated. We obviously want to integrate and be one big team as soon as we can but we are also very deliberate in our actions and we live by ‘as fast as we can but as slow as we need to’ to make sure we are getting it right.

It will be a challenge as we continue to grow. I think we’ll have roughly 700 employees by year’s end and it gets harder to keep that culture strong. I believe we’re focused on ensuring people feel they have a home. They can build a career at Aeyon and we’re going to drive as hard as we can from there.”

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