- Tech Insights
Chairman and CEO Daniel M. Jacobs demonstrates that FMG has 38 years of strategic business growth, and performance excellence in the government marketplace on a global scale. FMG has representation in DC, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Brussels and Tel Aviv.
FMG specializes in domestic and international public contracting. The annual U.S. Federal budget for supplies, data, and services averages $400 billion. The key for his success is that he practices The Art of the Possible by creating and maintaining an organization that is focused, disciplined, strategic thinkers and customer oriented.
Prior to starting FMG, Daniel founded and chaired Daniel Jacobs Mechanical Engineering and Contracting, Inc., in Hampton, VA, for 10 years before creating The Federal Market Group, Ltd. They specialized in publicly financed contracts for NASA Langley Research Center (NLRC), Langley Air Force Base (LAFB), and Tidewater Virginia Army and Navy clients.
Daniel's greatest obstacle is dealing with personnel who are not competent. The axiom “Outcomes are determined by people, not systems and processes” is one of his guidelines.
His best tool for communicating is LISTENING! Among his mentors were his family, who taught him values that included respect for others and to find a passion for your life’s work. Daniel's military training was enhanced by his former professors, coaches, and mentors. He married his life partner in college, and she has helped shape who he is for the past 60 years.
Work-family balance has always been the most challenging aspect of his work, including the workforce’s "Ivory Tower" misconception of a Chairman’s or CEO’s mindset that limits communications.
Another axiom that he follows is “In all work there is the known and the unknown”. The known is your written agreement with employees that outlines their roles and responsibilities, to include authority and support they will receive from the company. The unknown are expectations; manage expectations from the outset. Use an "Assignment Letter" with your team to spell out their responsibilities for projects. Provide an online “Toolbox” of formats, algorithms, checklist, etc. and let them know that you're behind them. Daniel also requires personnel to periodically commit to a 20-hour self-study program to read/review corporate Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Also mandatory for new hires.
Daniel requires monthly strategic plan updates. "What gets measured gets done!" Our goals, program/project management, and official communications plans define what, who, when, where and how much. A critical tool in support of scheduling and pricing is to identify the "Critical Path" using a Precedence Diagram. We identify those events that will take the longest and those that can be done in parallel. It also facilitates a Risk Management Plan. Software Gantt charts and other tools track schedules. He recommends every corporation build a comprehensive companywide communications plan and validate . Daniel proudly served in the U.S. Army for 3 years (including 18 months deployed) and 5 years as a Captain in the Reserves, where he honed his critical decision making skills.
Daniel says that a good leader should respect others, be available, eager to listen, focused and a strategic thinker, persistent, honest, trustworthy, and have integrity (A promise made is a promise kept.). He also says that leaders should be selfless, make critical decisions, be knowledgeable, and look into their options.
His latest book, "The Art of the Possible: Create an Organization with No Limitations." Is available on www.amazon.com.
In his book, he discusses how leaders create a focused, strategic, disciplined, and communicative team. The checklists in the book helps organize tasks, is practical and proven by creating an organization without limits. The book provides a proven and clear path to develop a team of talented professionals working toward the same goals without boundaries. An infinitely possible organization that practices the "Art of the Possible!"
FMG provides government and business transformational management, training, and research. Services include strategic planning; organizational development, capture planning, and winning over $30 billion in contracts for their clients, an 85% win rate. Extensive market research helps FMG identify opportunities. Training programs include PMI, NCMA, etc., They are also alternative training providers for the Defense Acquisition University (DAU).
The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is their most successful software tool for answering "What must be done?" It breaks down every task needed.
By breaking down the project into smaller components, a WBS can integrate scope, cost and deliverables into a single tool, says Daniel. The Graphic WBS is one of the most effective communications tool because you can see the entire Scope of the Contract on a single page, the Big Picture. It is included in Oracle Primavera and Microsoft Project software and aids in the development of organizational charts, schedules, costs, and risks.
In his previous company, Daniel Jacobs Mechanical Engineering and Contracting, his team designed and constructed NASA Langley Research Center’s (NLRC) first solar energy field. They were part of the design team for the National Transonic Facility (NTF), the first cryogenic wind tunnel for space plane testing. Daniel's two partners advised him to discuss NASA contract issues with senior management at NLRC about the NTF project. He met with the NLRC Contracts Director. Daniel discussed the issues with him and advised that they were stopping work until the issues are resolved. His response to Daniel was, "Fine, you’re fired." Daniel’s response was, "You can’t do that!" He said, "Read the contract. Every government contract has a Disputes Clause that states, during a dispute, you cannot stop work, thus you are in breach of contract, therefore you are fired."
He relented because he said they were satisfied with our work. It was evident that we didn't understand the "rules of the game." In public contracting there are unique requirements for documentation, accountability and standards of conduct. He suggested Daniel join the Hampton Roads Chapter of the National Contract Management Association (NCMA), which discussed publicly funded contracting in a monthly evening meeting each month. 110 government and industry professionals were members, half government and half industry. Daniel became Chapter President the next year and National President of the 20,000-member National Contract Management Association 10 years later.
Daniel says, “He mentored me and taught me a critical lesson: "Understand the rules of the game; read and understand the contract."
Daniel attended training and became a Certified Professional Contracts Manager (CPCM) and a Certified Management Consultant (CMC), both International Standardization Organizations(ISO) certifications. In addition, he received a Master’s Certificate in government contracting from George Washington University (GMU) School of Government and Business Administration and became an Adjunct Professor in the program. After selling his mechanical engineering firm to his two partners, he moved to Washington, DC, to establish FMG to practice contracts, projects and management consulting.
Examples of FMGs consulting include:
(a) In 2011, Congress established the Commission on Wartime Contracting to investigate contractors' poor performance in Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan. FMG was retained by DynCorp International to assess and recommend solutions. In that war zone, there were 130,000 military and 240,000 contractor personnel. Daniel, another FMG executive and a DynCorp VP spent 15 days in Afghanistan evaluating the issues. Their findings and recommended solutions were accepted as best practices by State, DOD, and Commission officials. From that experience, FMG created the Subcontract Management Institute (ScMI™).
(b) When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, USSR pensioners in the 33 former satellite countries were left with no income or healthcare.
The American and International Red Cross hired FMG to develop and deliver a month long training program for delegates from each of the 33 former USSR satellite republics in Skopje, Macedonia, on how to create and implement a business plan to feed, clothe, and provide healthcare to former USSR pensioners. FMG formed a team with the delegates from the 33 countries and began with a statement of the problem, performed a Root Cause Analysis, prepared a strategic plan and recommended solutions. The plan worked.
(c) Retained by Elizabeth Dole, President of The American Red Cross (ARC) to establish a professional contracting organization at ARC for the more than 30,000 ARC employees. Within 2 years, she saved more than $140 million in annual operating costs.
Daniel's succession planning includes selling the company. Concurrently, FMG is addressing a national workforce problem. In 2018, the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that by 2020, the government and business workforces would be comprised of more than 50% Millennials and 7% Gen Z. (born after 2000). In addition, they predicted that within five years (2023), 60% of the current workforce will retire. They're spot on— they now predict that millennials will form 75% of the workforce by 2025.
The axiom, “Outcomes are determined by People, not systems and processes.” is a reminder that we are not sufficiently meeting the challenges of the new generation’s development. The challenge is that current generations are not providing Millennials and Gen Z personnel sufficient training and support. Government training programs are turning out “Certified” personnel who are not “Qualified”. Contractors each have their own standards. The new generations are being dismissed and not given the same opportunities prior generations were given.
Daniel is a Director of the Procurement Round Table (PRT), a 60 member, by invitation only organization that provides pro bono support to Federal Departments and Executive Agencies on contract management challenges. They meet once a month for 10 months of the year at the George Washington University Law School. He is Chairman of the PRT Acquisition Workforce Working Group. They are working with government and industry organizations to change the paradigm and getting good results. It is essential that older generations mentor the new generations. We cannot afford to continually dismiss them.
Daniel M. Jacobs
Chairman of The Subcontract Management Institute & CEO
The Federal Market Group
The Federal Market Group are specialists in public contracting – recognized experts in the application of Project Management and Contract Management disciplines within the context of publicly funded contracts – government and industry, domestic and international.FMG is Certified Veteran Owned Small Business (VOSB)