Looking to understand how this cybersecurity, information technology, and supply chain services focused Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) and SBA Certified HUBZone small business has maintained culture over several years of significant growth, to include the acquisition of a company specialized in providing management, organizational, administrative, and analytical support to the Federal Government, and a spot on T4NG, we recently caught up with Lucy Martin, PingWind’s Director of Capture Management. Here she shares some of their strategy and offers advice to others.
Personal from Inception
Building on military, government and private sector leadership experience, PingWind CEO Aaron Moak founded PingWind with a personal view from the start. “A lot of people ask about our company name. Aaron and his wife were engaged in Antarctica and when he was thinking through names for the company and something with a personal meaning PingWind (say it without pronouncing the D and you may hear penguin) clicked,” says Martin.
Continuing its nod to that story, PingWind’s logo is a penguin, and the office is filled with stuffed penguins, setting the stage for a fun atmosphere and personality.
Leadership Focused on Authenticity
Growing to a team of about 150 after its latest acquisition, PingWind has avoided the layers of management that might be typical, Aaron maintains direct rapport with leadership, allowing them firsthand exposure they can then translate to their own actions.
An example of this came when PingWind made an asset purchase, acquiring a spot on T4NG and in the process, a portfolio of pre-existing tasks and staff that were active across the country. Lucy says Aaron displayed a genuine interest in getting to know every new member of the team, spending months having conversations, meeting with and building relationships with these new project managers, clients and teams, ensuring they felt part of their new community.
Combining a personal leadership style that brings together his Military path, his roles as an adjunct professor, and parenting two small children, Lucy says the company is guided by the principles of appreciating each employee for where they are at, then mentoring and guiding them to where they need or want to be.
She says the level of empowerment and trust that is evident at PingWind is not something she has experienced elsewhere and has seen the power behind valuing employees and enabling them to succeed at what they were hired to do, and beyond that, what they may want to do.
Dealing with multi-million-dollar contracts, money is truly on the line every day but PingWind operates on a culture that leans into a healthy amount of risk in decision-making, that encourages everyone to weigh the risks against what will serve the greater good of the company in the future.
That balance of risk and sound decision making has proven successful for PingWind through its prior acquisitions and no doubt will again as they look to future acquisitions that will make sense for its continued growth.
Many organizations now are beginning to understand the value of swag, of taking time to show employees they are thought of and appreciated and PingWind is setting the bar. From welcome packages to staff to holiday reminders, to impromptu gift cards, PingWind is making the investment to ensure its team knows they are valued.
In recent years, appreciation has also come in the form of listening, as utilizing great place to work surveys to engage with staff and offer the opportunity for honest and anonymous feedback. Going back to a genuine concern for and about its team, leadership then take that feedback, turning it into action and using it to influence documentation of processes and goals so that, as it grows, the culture on which it was built will remain embedded.
As it has grown, PingWind has remained focused on who it is, ensuring as it grows, that those who come along for the ride also understand those nuances. This includes staying focused on its strengths in cyber with a strong compliment of agile development, IT O&M across helpdesk and infrastructure and application sustainment.
From a work view, the team has found its niche in Federal health IT and supporting the Department of Veterans Affairs as both a subcontractor and as a Prime but will lend its support to partners as it makes sense, to include meeting socio-economic requirements.
From a team building view, that focus is based on understanding from its core that people choose to stay at jobs for many reasons beyond salary. Believing and trusting that is true and executing everything it does with that in mind, PingWind will grow entrusting its team and acting as if it has hired the right people to meet its needs. “Follow through is so critical,” says Lucy. “It may sound simple but it is amazing how many times employees are told one thing, yet it never comes to fruition. Listening, following through, believing and acting as if you trust your team seems small but has a huge impact on culture.”
A Manifesto for Growth
As its looks to its next steps, PingWind’s culture will be nurtured and embedded in each and every member of the team. Setting expectations around the values it holds true, a bar will be set for what makes an optimal employee, and stakeholder experience. “A lot of companies talk about all they do and are but it doesn’t take long to figure out what they are doing is providing lip service.”
Treating employees from a base of appreciation and valuing who and what they are, listening and being responsive, engaging with them in ongoing and positive ways, for PingWind translates to both a good internal culture, and an external culture that supports partners and clients. “We think about that everyday, that manifesto of customer service excellence. When everything we do from employee engagement, to responding to emails, to the content and products we produce is driven by that concept of doing the right thing, of being a good partner, we believe we have a recipe both for growth and for staying true to what we were built on.”
PingWind is a CVE certified Service-Disabled Veteran Owned (SDVOSB) and SBA certified HUBZone small business that focuses on increasing the security and performance of our customer’s IT and operational assets. PingWind’s founders have extensive experience with both Management Consulting and IT Services. We leverage federal government, military and Fortune 100 experience, both international and domestic, to deliver results.
With an employee base of more than 150 employees across 30 states and 2 offices in Washington DC and Virginia, PingWind provides mission-critical services for our Federal Government partners. PingWind is also a successor to Delta Research Associates (DRA), which was acquired and integrated in 2019