Ad Hoc’s Greg Gershman plans to “shake up” the way government agencies manage service delivery with technology

Greg Gershman, ad-hoc

Veteran of the GovCon space, Greg Gershman set out to create a different kind of business when he and co-founder Paul Smith created digital services agency Ad Hoc.

In Gershman’s experience, contractors in general are good at… contracting. They have expertise in how to navigate complex federal procurement cycles and how to land the business. As CEO of Ad Hoc, Gershman said he was looking to shift the focus.

“We really want our focus to be on the technology itself, providing the kinds of technical talent that government needs to meet its service delivery challenges,” he said.

Government organizations recognize the need to evolve, but they face myriad obstacles. The complexity of procurement processes makes it difficult to keep track of emerging technologies. At the same time, government needs massively scalable solutions, and it must also meet the ever-increasing expectations of citizens and end users who see the powerful potential of technology in their privacy to improve service delivery.

Ad Hoc was started to help straighten out early unsuccessful efforts around the Healthcare.gov portal.

“We saw an acute need for experienced technicians,” Gershman said. “Our philosophy was to create a different kind of talent pool, to bring a different kind of culture into the government space.”

With that in mind, “we’ve tried to create an environment that really values ​​technical talent,” he said. “We help them grow and mature in their careers. We provide support internally.

Ad Hoc is a remote business that encourages people to work from home. Gershman also strives to engage its employees in work that they will find meaningful and challenging.

“It gives them a sense of accomplishment: they can really see the impact of the work they do,” he said.

The company has built practice areas around specific disciplines such as engineering, design, product management, and data analytics. These help set the performance bar.

“They always ask, what does good look like?” said Gerhsman. “And they provide a lot of support to our team members. There is always someone in the organization that they can get advice and learn from.

This approach has helped Ad Hoc achieve a number of impressive victories. In addition to helping the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rebuild Healthcare.gov, “we’ve rebuilt parts of Medicare.gov to make it faster and easier to use. We also worked extensively with the Department of Veterans Affairs, reimagining their entire digital presence in terms of interacting with veterans online and providing services to them,” Gerhsman said.

The company has used its experiences to elevate the GovCon industry at large, publishing field guides for internal and external use to document best practices and set expectations.

“As an organization, we’re really deeply interested in the problems of government and how best to solve them,” Gershman said.

Looking ahead, he sees opportunity to continue growing the company through a range of federal civilian agencies, including the Office of Personnel Management, Social Security Administration, Library of Congress and the Department of Agriculture, among others.

“We’re always looking at how we can get involved with one of these high-impact services that people use, to make it as easy and streamlined as possible,” he said.

Many GovCons work in the same field, of course. To claim his position, Gershman said he is always looking to the future to see what emerging capabilities could be put to use.

“Digital service delivery has really evolved a lot over the last 10 to 15 years,” he said. “We’re always looking for places where we can bring that and help agencies not just deliver, but scale and grow, do new things and expand their capabilities.”

Overall, the goal is “to help them embrace new ways of doing things,” he said. Under pressure from President Joe Biden’s executive order on transforming the federal customer experience and in the face of rising citizen expectations, “it’s time to really shake up the way government agencies are organized internally and the way they manage service delivery,” he said. .

This messaging has proven so effective that Gershman said his biggest challenge today is managing the company’s rapid growth.

“I spend a lot of time thinking about: Where are we going? What are the things we want to do for the government, and how can we best prepare for them? ” he said.

To find the right answers, Gershman focuses on hiring smart people.

“I think a lot about the team, making sure we have the right people in the right places, and that they’re organized around the things we need to grow, develop and evolve as a business,” did he declare.

On a personal level, he said, it’s satisfying when all those pieces fall into place.

“We had over 600 people at Ad Hoc who contributed their skills and experience to help the government deliver services to people,” he said. “And we brought in a lot of people who otherwise might not have seen government as a place where they could apply their technical skills. It’s one of the things I’m most proud of. »

Ashley C. Reynolds