You may know Jacobs from their series of surprising takeaway wins executed in recent years. As some of the recompetes for these wins approach, it’s important to explore how Jacobs has changed as a competitor over the past five years.
The most apparent indication of change at Jacobs is their rebranding effort. In August 2022, Jacobs implemented a new holding structure, which renamed Jacobs as “Jacobs Solutions, Inc.” from “Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc.” This rebranding is an effort to reflect Jacobs’ shift away from its history as an engineering and construction company to a global technology solutions provider.
Jacobs has identified climate response, data solutions, and consulting and advisory services as their three core accelerators. Examples of investment in these areas include:
- Data Solutions – The launch of a new business unit called Divergent Solutions in 2022 that focuses on developing and delivering next generation solutions in cloud computing, cybersecurity, data and other digital technologies.
- Consulting and Advisory – On a recent WT 360 podcast with John Karabias, Vice President of Strategy. Karabias highlighted Jacobs’ move into advisory support that is coupled with implementation work. He stressed a focus on helping clients find the right solutions for them, in areas like cloud, cyber, analytics, agile and DevOps software development, and then implementing those solutions via Jacobs’ own product portfolio or vendor partnerships.
- Climate Response and Data Solutions – In 2022, Jacobs announced a partnership with Palantir and the joint development of a water data analytics solution that will be used to aggregate and analyze water and wastewater treatment plant data to better manage and optimize O&M for these plants.
Jacobs has also undergone several senior leadership changes. Bob Pragada, previously the President and Chief Operating Officer, succeeded Steve Demetriou as the CEO of Jacobs in January. Before rejoining the company in 2016, Pragada worked at Jacobs from 2006 to 2014, holding several senior management positions.
In October 2022, Jacobs appointed Shannon Miller, a 25-year company veteran and most recently the Chief Growth Officer, the new Executive Vice President & President of their Divergent Solutions unit.
Steve Arnette, a nearly 28 year veteran of Jacobs, also took over leadership for the Critical Mission Solutions unit in March 2022.
Through these appointments, it is evident that the legacy Jacobs executives remain in control of the business.
Over the past few years, Jacobs has continued to make investments although not as much focused on acquisitions. Instead, Jacobs has begun to take minority ownership stakes in technology developers. This is in contrast to Jacobs’ significant acquisitions from 2017-2020 of businesses such as The Buffalo Group, KeyW Holding Corporation, CH2M Hill, and Blue Canopy.
Select recent M&A and investment activity worth highlighting includes:
- In November 2021, Jacobs acquired BlackLynx for their footprint in the Intelligence Community and solutions and products in edge computing, hybrid cloud infrastructure, and collection automation.
- In November 2021, Jacobs made a strategic minority investment in HawkEye 360, a provider of radio frequency (RF) geoanalytics, which conducts commercially available precise mapping of global RF emissions.
While their BlackLynx acquisition, similar to their Buffalo Group acquisition, shows a focus on building their technology solutions work within the intelligence community, their investment in geoanalytics through HawkEye represents a newer investment in GEOINT that could increase or enhance business with customers like the NGA.
Major Recompetes Coming Up
Jacobs faces a series of significant re-competes over the next two (2) years. In fact, the $150M ceiling value recompete for their ITSM TRANSCOM work, was already competed and taken away by SAIC last month. Other recompetes are featured below. Over the next few years, we will be able to assess whether Jacobs can defend what they have won or watch it erode.
|Contract Name||Ceiling Value||Estimated Completion Year||Scope|
|MDA Integrated Research & Development for Enterprise Solutions (IRES)|
Takeaway from Northrop Grumman
|$4.6B||2024||Provide integrated research and development support and IT environment operations for Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) components and platforms. Will be recompeted as MDA MIOES.|
|USSOCOM Special Operational Forces Information Technology Enterprise Contract II (SITEC II)||$1B to $3B (per GSA FEDSIM)||2024||Provide USSOCOM with global IT enterprise operations and maintenance solutions.|
|NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Test and Operations Support Contract (TOSC)||$2.6B||2023||Provide support for ground systems capabilities, flight hardware processing and launch operations at Kennedy Space Center.|
|NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) Center Maintenance, Operations, and Engineering (CMOE)||$742M||2024||Provide research facility operations, central utilities operations, technology development/ administration, research and institutional maintenance, and facility engineering.|
|DoD Cyber Crime Center (DC3), Cyber Training Academy (CTA) Contract|
Takeaway from legacy CSRA (acquired by GDIT)
|$217M||2024||Provide support to the DoD Cyber Crime Center (DC3) for modernization, design, development, and delivery of specialized cyber training for its Cyber Training Academy (CTA).|
Jacobs had tended to do well on management, staffing and cost competitiveness. Will those advantages hold true again? All these contracts are very large so we must expect significant competition. Jacobs will have to hope to have made great incumbent successes in order to hold these contracts while finding some way to leverage the new capabilities from their myriad of acquisitions.
FedSavvy Strategies Takeaway
- Through their acquisitions, investments, and partnerships, Jacobs is continuing their shift from an engineering and construction business to a technology solution provider.
- At the same time, the legacy Jacobs leadership continues to hold positions of power which makes us wonder how committed is Jacobs to this new direction.
- The next two years will be telling for whether Jacobs can retain some long-time or takeaway win work. If they cannot, competitors may smell blood in the water and a great blow may be made to Jacobs’ further evolution and growth.
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