After refocusing on growth, Engility seeks to differentiate itself

By Marjorie Censer  / February 5, 2018

Nearly two years into her tenure as chief executive, Lynn Dugle is seeking new ways to differentiate Engility, looking to product toolkits to help the contractor stand out in competitive areas.

In an interview with Inside Defense late last month, Dugle said she spent her first year pursuing organic growth, remaking the workplace and managing the company's debt.

Now, she's starting on what she has dubbed "Engility 2.0."

"It's a lot around brand and culture and really, who is Engility?" she said. "To shift a brand doesn't happen in a few months."

As part of this focus, the company has issued several new products in recent months. Dugle said Engility is seeking to take technical capabilities that previously were isolated in one area of the company and create toolkits that help it apply those skills to a broader range of agencies.

In late May, Engility released the first one, known as Cloud ASCEND and focused on enterprise cloud architecture, migration and optimization.

"What that was is taking a lot of work we had done with one specific intelligence agency to help them once," Dugle said. "Let's package that for all of our other clients so we can very quickly run through that cycle and give them the benefit."

In October, Engility released Synthetic Analyst, a similar toolset but focused on artificial intelligence. While it was developed based on work Engility did for intelligence agencies, Dugle said the company has just made its first sale to a Pentagon organization.

"We will have other tool suites, toolkits coming out to help us do that, to not just have [capability] locked in a piece of our business, but to have codified that, put a methodology around it," she said. "That's been a part of our strategy that is gaining traction."

The contractor has also opened up what it calls "ENnovation centers" and is pursuing growth in several key regions and agencies.

The five ENnovation centers, meant to concentrate the company's expertise in key subjects, are focused in five areas: agile software development, AI, cyber, high performance computing and modeling and simulation.

Dugle said Engility is also focused on growing business in specific geographies, including Augusta, GA, and Orlando, FL. Last year, the company opened in Augusta a new facility to support customers at Ft. Gordon, GA.

In Orlando, she said, the company is seeking to win training and logistics work with the Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation and other agencies. Additionally, Engility is focused on expanding its work in key agencies, including NASA and the Missile Defense Agency.

Dugle said she remains optimistic about growing the defense budget, but said the ongoing series of continuing resolutions are creating challenges for the contracting workforce.

"We are very infrequently impacted by the fact that they can't start new programs or increase funding, but what does impact anybody in the sector is when people are worrying about a shutdown and then they're concentrating on getting ready for that versus maybe adjudicating proposals that have been submitted," she said. "It's just the distraction factor."

Dugle said Engility is still waiting for details on the specific areas of defense spending growth.

"We're still hearing generic terms like, [Defense Secretary Jim] Mattis will say we're going to invest in readiness," she said. "Readiness for the Air Force probably means more gasoline and more flight hours for pilots, readiness for the Army will mean training and so forth."

Even so, "I think it is a good picture for us," Dugle added. "It's so much more positive an environment than we've seen in the last few years that it feels good to see at least the discussion. And right now, we look to be in the areas that will receive money."