By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.
We had interacted with Misty Mayes, the Founder and President of Management Solutions, at various meetings and events over the years, but our recent interview was the first extended one-on-one discussion we had experienced.
We quickly learned that the Knoxville native talks fast, no doubt a reflection of her self-admitted competitive nature, and that everything Mayes says is driven by deep-seated beliefs and experience.
“I attribute our success to supporting great people and making sure we add value,” she says simply. Yet, that short statement underscores the core philosophy Mayes has employed to build Management Solutions over the past 13 years.
The company provides a variety of project management offerings (see previous article in the series) as professional services for defined periods of time or staff augmentation for longer term engagements.
After taking a leap of faith to found Management Solutions, Mayes worked hard to land her first contract with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). It was for $85,000 to provide a Project Manager for simply a week a month.
“I thought I had arrived,” she said. Since then, Management Solutions’ relationship with ORNL has blossomed. The company was an ORNL Mentor-Protégé for two years and was nominated by the lab for the 2012 recognition as the U.S. Small Business Administration’s “National Subcontractor of the Year.”
The relationship with ORNL has also been financially beneficial with the value of all contracts over the years now totaling $25 million.
Mayes has applied her project management philosophy to growing Management Solutions.
“We are very methodical about sticking to what brought us to the dance,” she says. “If I don’t fully understand a new opportunity, we don’t accept it.”
This approach describes Management Solution’s incursion into healthcare, its fastest growing consulting area.
Mayes says she slowly built a team that now includes a physician, nurse, former hospital administrator, healthcare IT manager, and project manager. The process took three years before she felt comfortable going forward.
“We have one chance to make a great first impression,” Mayes says of any client. “You must be prepared.”
Moving into healthcare is a reflection of her recognition that diversification is important for Management Solutions’ future growth.
“You don’t want to rely too much on one client,” she advises.
NEXT: Mayes thoughts on building a solid and successful corporate culture.