720-388-9807

Arlington, VA

©2018 by Constance O'Brien

OPERATIONAL RESTRUCTURE STRATEGIC PLAN

I assumed Chief Operating Officer responsibilities during a period of chaos and uncertainty. CEO was disengaged and was focused solely on growth, when the organization was incapable of handling any additional revenue or growth. External auditors issued a going concern letter to management upon completion of the annual audit.  Bank was unwilling to expand the company's line of credit, unless we showed profitability improvements; we were forced to move to a factoring company to finance operations. 


As the new CFO and I dug into the data, we realized that the project sites were failing; both financially and operationally. Multi-year contracts that had been bid several years prior, had become inflated due to lack of corporate oversight. Several customers were threatening to terminate contracts, for cause. Many other clients were downgrading CPARs ratings. Termination of contracts would not only make matters worse, due to the structure of the federal contracting system, it would have made it impossible for the company to bid and win future contracts. Concurrently, the corporate office suffered from severe morale issues and subsequent turnover. 


We identified areas where cutting costs would have an immediate, positive impact. Created a strategic plan, with a tactical checklist and timebound milestones, to remedy the situation, within six months. 


Results included:

  • Increased cash position, without a need for major recapitalization.

  • Increased overall profitability from -3.7% to 2.8%, in six months. 

  • Realized $750k/year in savings by moving the HQ to Colorado. 

  • Financial auditors, at our request and after their review, issued a follow-up management letter, removing the going concern. 

  • Within two years, repositioned the company as an attractive candidate for traditional financing, saving $200k/year in fees and reduced interest rate by 1.5%.

  • Decreased G&A by 2.2% over one year, setting the company up for future competitive bidding success. 

  • Eliminated overhead rates by reallocating costs direct to project sites. Another competitive bidding advantage.

  • Comprehensive and updated set of policies and procedures to mitigate likelihood of same issues occurring in the future. 


Actions included:

  • Moved corporate office from Miami, FL to Boulder, CO. Closing down the corporate office, we were able to eliminate a great deal of both fixed and variable costs. 

    • Engaged local workforce center to assist the employees impacted by the closure.Prepared termination and severance, with guidance from counsel. Ensured employees were treated with respect and dignity. 

    • Remedied miscommunication of the sensitive situation sent from uninvolved member's of the executive team. Generated new clear and transparent communication that was sent to all employees, customers, vendors and other stakeholders. 

    • Worked with corporate attorney to convert the Florida entity to a Colorado entity. Ensured all financing and subsequent UCC filings were handled in a manner that did not create issues with the company's debt. 

    • Terminated all service contracts and leases tied to the Florida office. Negotiated down all termination fees and penalties. 

    • Reevaluated corporate staffing requirements. Implemented administrative software and processes to increase efficiencies in operations, decreasing spreadsheets and other offline tracking mechanisms. Right-sized labor and talent needs, then hired new staff in Colorado. 

    • Identified new office space, negotiated and secured lease, office furniture, IT and other services, as needed. 

    • Worked with insurance carrier to make all necessary adjustments and endorsement changes. 

    • Collaborated with City and County of Boulder to gain economic incentives tied to the move.

  • Analyzed outsourced Human Resource provider contract and determined that the outsourced services were costing the company nearly 2x what they would cost if performed in-house. Further research unveiled that not only would the transition be more cost effective, the company would gain additional efficiencies and the employees would have a better experience when working with the department. 

    • Created phase-out and phase-in transition plan, along with contingency plans, should the outsourced Human Resources provider not agree to cooperate with the transition. 

    • Engaged legal counsel to terminate contract with Human Resources provider. 

    • Ultimately teamed with Human Resource provider, after working through numerous obstacles during the on-set, implementing a 60-day transition. 

    • Hired in-house talent, integrating them into the plan, in advance of the 60-day start. 

    • Led entire transition, often addressing internal conflict and contention, completing the project on-time and within budget. 

    • Decision was embraced by those who initially expressed concerns once all of the documents (benefit statements, vendor invoices, etc.) were received and it was uncovered that the company had overspent $150k within three months due to unnecessary payments for benefit premiums and egregious DOL violations were uncovered. 


  • Galvanized project site profitability by teaming with CFO and project managers to unveil a wide variety of cost-savings and operational efficiencies.

    • Deployed field teams to assess every project site and develop a turnaround plan. 
    • Implemented field technician scheduling software, increasing labor efficiency by 22%, in just six months.

    • Revamped supply and material ordering systems, instituting just in time processes. Reduced spend on direct materials, drew down inventory levels, increasing profitability.

    • Sold unproductive assets.

    • Right sized labor on firm fixed price contracts.

    • Worked with historically inflexible government customers, implementing fast pay processes.

    • Conducted make vs. buy analysis, bringing numerous project site functions, in-house.

    • ​Average direct impact to project site profitability,12%. 300% improvement over six months.
    • Collaborated with IT to create real-time dashboards, eliminating rear view mirror approach to managing expenses. 

    • Redesigned project site budgets, addressing need for gross margin growth. Created systems and incentives to hold project managers accountable.

STRATEGIC PLANNING SUCCESS