One on One with MorganFranklin’s Chris Mann

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MorganFranklin Consulting has been on a roll, named by Inc. Magazine as one of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies and continually punching above its weight class, competing with much larger firms in competitive industries. This month has seen the firm pass the leadership baton from C.E. Andrews to Chris Mann, who says he is looking to build on the firm’s growth and continue its geographical expansion. We sat down with Mann to talk about the new leadership role and his hopes for the firm’s (and its clients’) success going forward.

Consulting: What will be your Day One priorities as Managing Partner?

Mann: My Day One priority is going to be on focusing on what are those key value drivers from the point of view of our client base, our target base and the other partners we work with to make sure we’re continuing to stay current, stay topical and stay in front of the many things that are driving buying decisions within our client base. At the end of the day, as service providers, that’s of utmost importance. We need to be top of mind and viewed as accretive to any organization’s strategies and plans. In order for us to do that, we’ve got to come to work every day ready to bring and prove our value day in and day out. 

Consulting: Is the plan to build on MorganFranklin’s growth and success?

Mann: Absolutely. We have had a run of success over the past several years and our plan is to continue that growth. One of the biggest things we’re focused on now is expanding our world a little from a geographical standpoint. We’ve planted a flag in Atlanta, we’ve also planted a flag in the Bay Area. We’re starting to build out those fundamental tenets that have made us so successful here in the DC metro area.

Consulting: Where does your billable headcount stand and where do you see it going?

Mann: Company-wide we’re close to 300. I would say 85 percent are client facing billable people. Still at this point the vast majority of the team is based in the DC area but we’re picking up many more client facing folks in our new geographies as well as nationwide. We have probably 20 cities across the country providing value to our clients as well, either from their home city or getting on a plane. We expect pretty quick growth in those new geographies. When I look at our hiring plans for this year that continues to be a large focus for us in both of those geographies and will be a big part of our growth in 2017 and beyond.

Consulting: How do you feel about this year overall?

Mann: We feel good about this year. We feel we should be able to stay on track to the growth we’ve had in the past. We always seek to be double-digit percentage wise growth and we feel good about that trajectory now. There’s some momentum we have no with big transaction activity and some new initiatives we’re focused on that are driving buying decisions and buying interest at our client base and our target base. We’re focused very heavily on the commercial side to two distinct markets: large global organizations and more growth oriented/middle market organizations. Both of those sectors we’re at a good trajectory for the balance of this year. On top of that we’ve seen a continued trend with our public sector business as well.

Consulting: How does a company of MorganFranklin’s size compete with much larger market players?

Mann: The way we look at it, given our size, we try to bucket our teams into specific solution areas where we try to group like-minded people. The reason we’ve established these solution groups is to have people really focused on what are the topics that are relevant in the marketplace right now and keeping those groups together to ensure we have cutting edge information and expertise we can put in front of the market. We have to take a very strategic view on what we’re going to focus on and make sure we’re placing the right bets in the right topical areas and not focusing on things or topics that aren’t as relevant. We spend a lot of time and attention on staying in front of those kinds of things.

Consulting: What is your vision for MorganFranklin during your tenure?

Mann: As I look out some number of years, my vision is that MorganFranklin Consulting will be a truly national firm with thriving offices and practices in multiple cities throughout the U.S. that are almost operating on their own. It will be a firm that has grown in size significantly from where we are now, both from a revenue and profitability standpoint as well as a headcount standpoint, and that we’ll be able to look back and see that we’ve built an organization that has stood the test of time, has grown up along the way and has people that are the best and brightest in the consulting industry and are taking their talents and delivering incredible value to our clients.

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