Deep Water Point keeps an eye on Congress’ IT appropriations

Consulting firm brings together former agency execs who enjoy business

The founders of Deep Water Point say their corporate business plan includes having fun, and they aren’t giving any thought to an exit strategy. They say they are different from other Washington, D.C., consultants who occupy posh digs on K Street or the top floor of a steel-and-glass office tower inside the Beltway.

For the most part, the three partners and nine principals work from home, said Jack Neal, Deep Water Point’s founder. He started the company seven months ago. Deep Water Point is a consulting firm that identifies new government business opportunities for its clients and offers strategic planning services. The firm has leased shared office space and a mail drop on Connecticut Avenue in Washington, D.C.

Neal said Deep Water Point has a dozen experienced former federal executives who are proving they can broker successful contracts between their clients and federal agencies. “We won’t put people up before a government executive who are not qualified and who do not have something to say,” Neal said.

Deep Water Point’s newest partner is Scott Hastings, who retired last month as chief information officer of the Homeland Security Department’s U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology program. Neal said Hastings’ homeland security expertise is a valuable asset in dealing with DHS and the intelligence and defense communities.

Neal said one of the ways Deep Water Point distinguishes itself from other consulting firms is its focus on assessing congressional appropriations committees’ support for proposed IT programs. “We don’t try to influence the bills,” Neal said. “What we try to do is find out what [lawmakers] are going to spend money on.”

Howard Seeger, a Deep Water Point partner, said evaluating proposed government programs is critical because it often takes two to three years before legislation that will pay off for clients becomes law.

Merlin International, a small, 8(a)-certified systems integrator based in Vienna, Va., is a Deep Water Point client. Barbara Bridges, Merlin’s vice president of business development, said the company hired Deep Water Point because it wanted to expand its list of federal clients beyond the Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services departments.

She said Deep Water Point has been able to open a lot of doors. “What they really did was cut through a lot of the time and processes that it would normally take either to get in to see a customer or learn more about [the customer’s] programs,” she said.

“They give us access to what they’re hearing,” Bridges said.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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