Guidehouse ready to guide commercial clients

After an acquisition and re-branding, Guidehouse is now running what had been the PricewaterhouseCoopers public-sector consulting practice at The Acropolis office park.

And though the practice on Commons Boulevard today is focused on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, under new owner private equity firm Veritas Capital, the practice is able to work with a greater array of clients, said Jim Ebel, the sole partner at the firm’s local office.

Now, the company can work with the original equipment manufacturers in aerospace and defense, as well as health care and insurance firms outside of the public sector.

“Now, those handcuffs are off,” Ebel said.

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In May, Veritas Capital finalized its acquisition of PwC’s U.S. public sector business. The business had been prized for its relationships with the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs and other government customers.

The business does not do audits, but it does advise clients getting ready for audits and it helps solve business problems.

With the acquisition, Veritas has taken in 1,500 partners and staff who had worked with PwC.

Ebel and Justin Lambert, a management consultant for Guidehouse in Beavercreek, said under new ownership, the practice feels like a well-funded small business.

“We’re a big start-up right now,” Lambert said. “We have a lot of backing; we have a lot of support. And we have a lot of intelligent people with good market knowledge that we can take to market and bring to bear.”

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In July, the re-branding as Guidehouse was complete.

With 50 employees, the Beavercreek office is now Guidehouse’s largest outside of its Washington, D.C. critical mass. So the local office is bigger than practices in Atlanta, Los Angeles, St. Louis and Indianapolis.

Under PwC, there was a clear separation between the practice for commercial clients and the practice for public-sector clients, Ebel said.

As well, the Securities and Exchange Commission closely regulates the audit industry. Companies are expected to preserve their independence for the audit, which meant restrictions on providing advisory services to businesses these firms audited.

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Now, however, Guidehouse is poised to take in the right commercial and health care clients.

“Our primary client here is Wright-Patterson Air Force Base,” Ebel said. “What’s good for the base is good for us and the Dayton area.”

But he added: “Dayton has a lot of other market opportunities — a thriving health care industry, there are (other) Dayton local businesses. We can bring that practice in, and those are our targets. We’re looking to grow.”

The office solves business and management problems for the Air Force, mainly life cycle management programs under the Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) umbrella.

The AFMC life cycle programs have a tremendous challenge, keeping older aircraft and equipment running well.

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For example, Ebel pointed to the Boeing KC-135 refueling aircraft.

If you look at how long the KC-135 has flown, and how long it’s projected to fly, it’s a very long era. The KC-135 first flew in the mid-1950s; it’s projected to fly until 2040 — some 85 years.

“To extend the life of those planes, there’s a lot of analytics that goes into that,” Ebel said. “We like to think we do a good job of helping the Air Force.”

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