BWG’s Coronavirus Response

It is the question on everyone’s mind — how did your organization respond to the Coronavirus? We believe strongly in integrity and servant leadership, so those are the principles that guided our response to the novel Coronavirus pandemic. A company’s core values are nice to talk about but frankly only matter if they represent reality. It is not always the case. Actions matter more than words, so here are key details from our COVID-19 response that underscore our core values: 

1. Early Communication. As the situation was unfolding in early March, leadership engaged in emergency meetings to develop, prepare, and deliver updates to staff via email and Microsoft Teams. 

2. Continued Communication. We identified main points of contact, sent out spot surveys and questions, had informal check-ins, included coronavirus-related discussions during meetings, and more. We supply as much information as we can and are transparent about how much we know (or don’t know). Monthly newsletters go out with in-depth information to our team members as well.

3. Emergency PTO bank. By the middle of March, our team members banded together to create a “PTO bank” for a worst-case scenario: either that one of our own got the virus and would need to take extra PTO to recover, or in case one of our contracts were negatively impacted. Together, we pooled hundreds of hours from our team members and enacted a policy on how to access it. 

4. Facilitated Transition to Work From Home (WFH) with our government clients, when applicable – encouraging the use of Microsoft Teams, shift work within cleared facilities, and more. 

5. Growth FocusLeadership continued to pursue new opportunities with heightened urgency. We invested in internal new hires to strategically further growth, geared towards maintaining our current team members and bringing on more. We avoided the scarcity mindset not only to continue delivering top-notch service to existing clients but also to expand our market footprint. 

6. We keep our offices clean, sanitized, and distant. Once stay-at-home orders were lifted in Virginia, in collaboration with our building management and in line with CDC guidelines, we created a sign-up sheet to ensure appropriate social distancing in our HQ office space. We also have masks and hand sanitizer readily available, as well as daily cleaning services throughout the facilities. Additionally, health and safety policies are in place to protect our team members when present.

7. We keep learning. Our leadership and HR teams have stayed up to date on important information from the CDC, health officials, and government agencies – and share it with our team members and prospective candidates.

We understand that this is an evolving situation. As a dynamic small business, we strive to achieve our goal of being Mission-Oriented. People-Driven. so ensuring the safety of all team members is paramount. We are grateful that we have an adaptable and understanding group that is dedicated to each other and our clients. Thank you to each team member for your trust as we continue to navigate this time together.  

BWG Honored on Inc. Magazine’s Annual List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies

Blake Willson Group, LLC Ranks No. 1065 on the 2020 Inc. 5000 With Three-Year Revenue Growth of 436 Percent

ARLINGTON, VA, August 18, 2020 – Blake Willson Group once again earned a spot on Inc. magazine’s Inc. 5000 listing of fastest-growing private companies!

Each year, Inc. magazine announces the most successful and fastest-growing private companies in America. This list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment — its independent small and mid-sized businesses.

This honor further recognizes BWG’s passion for growth as a team and that the dedication and hard work of our team members is truly paying off. It is especially telling this year, as the companies across the country face uncertain times, and this honor speaks to the strength of our team as a whole.

When asked about this recognition, R.J. Blake, CPA, CGFM, President & CEO, shared, “Blake Willson Group is honored to be ranked among the country’s most successful and innovative companies for the second year in a row.” Andrew Griffin, CDFM, Sr. Vice President, added, “We believe this is attributed to our steadfast commitment to the firm’s core values and our team members that share in those values, most importantly servant leadership.”

Congratulations to BWG’s Newest CPA

Kristin Heinle, BWG’s Newest CPA

Blake Willson Group celebrates Kristin Heinle, the company’s newest Certified Public Accountant! After months of dedication and hard work, Kristin passed the rigorous CPA exam in June 2020.

We sat down with Kristin, BWG’s first successful CPA candidate while employed with the company, to learn more about her CPA exam journey and what the designation means to her.

Inspiration
Kristin graduated from Elon University with her degree in accounting, which put her in the perfect position with the required number of college coursework hours to qualify for the exam. Inspired by her Dad to pursue this certification, she always knew that the CPA would be in her future but stressed the importance of making sure the timing is right. For Kristin, the timing was perfect, having a solid support system and home life to help balance the demands along with the support and encouragement from BWG.

Preparation
While prepping for the exams, Kristin dedicated time to researching the exam online and discovered the value of CPA Exam Review Forums. She discovered that this resource was rich with material suited for each person regardless of learning style. No matter your preferred study method, there are resources available for you online. While studying is time-consuming and, at times, seemingly endless, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Kristin recommends planning mini breaks or vacations after each exam to allow yourself much deserved R&R before hitting the books for the next exam.

Advice
Thinking about taking the exam? Kristin’s advice: Go for it. Seize the moment when the timing is right and take it one test at a time.

Despite advice to take the hardest test first, she recommends starting with the section you are most comfortable with. Doing so not only builds up your confidence, but helps you become familiar with the material as you learn how to study.

No matter your learning style or approach to the exam, the hard work pays off in the end. Kristin is more proud of her CPA certification than any other educational achievement and knows that the sky’s the limit for her now as a Certified Public Accountant.

Congratulations, Kristin Heinle, CPA, CGFM!

Screenshot of Mary Rowlett's BWG virtual retirement ceremony

BWG’s First Retirement Ceremony: A Virtual Success

Screenshot of Mary Rowlett's BWG virtual retirement ceremony

MICROSOFT TEAMS, June 17, 2020 – BWG celebrated Mary Rowlett, the company’s first retiree through the virtual communication and collaboration platform, Microsoft Teams. Members of several families were in attendance to include the BWG family, Mary’s work colleagues, and her own family. RJ Blake, President & CEO, and Drew Griffin, Senior Vice President, shared tributes to Mary, who played an integral role in the world of federal contracting for over 20 years. The evening was filled with kind words, well wishes, awards, and gifts to commemorate Mary’s life of dedicated service.

The ceremony transitioned seamlessly to the virtual environment amid social gathering restrictions and resulted in a memorable event for both the honoree and her guests. Blake Willson Group extends its congratulations to Mary and we wish her great joy and relaxation in the many years ahead!

Upholding Our Core Values: We Stand United with the Black Community

A company-wide message from Blake Willson Group CEO & President, RJ Blake. 

All,

I hope you are safe and staying sane and hopeful during these unprecedented times. From the COVID-19 pandemic to the civil unrest caused by the systemic injustices in America, the times have been undoubtedly challenging. Hearts are heavy, and emotions are high.

In line with our core values of Integrity, Servant-Leadership, Reliability, and Diversity, we acknowledge the injustices that negatively impact our Black community and, as an active response, plan to create an open dialogue within our team that will yield positive change. We must stop systemic racism and hold police accountable for unlawful actions.

The Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” These words are the foundation upon which America was built. However, these words on paper do not and have not translated as a reality for all, and this is something we must focus on changing, together.

Blake Willson Group is committed to upholding the fair, just, and inclusive culture that our team members deserve and benefit from. We cannot change the world alone, but we can together, starting with ourselves, our friends and families, and our communities. With this in mind, I respectfully ask and encourage our teams to have meaningful dialogue to understand how people are feeling and discuss ways we can continually improve our workplace and our communities, especially our Black communities right now.

We commit to creating a safe place to tackle issues in our daily lives and communities and to propose ways to take action and address change. With that said, we want to hear from you. Tomorrow, you will receive a survey to share your thoughts and feedback on how Blake Willson Group can effectively respond and encourage positive change. We are eager to receive your feedback.

Finally, I encourage you to reach out to me directly if you need to be heard or want to talk through any of this.

With love and respect to all,

RJ Blake, CPA, CGFM | President & CEO

Blake Willson Group Achieves ISO 9001:2015 Re-Certification

ARLINGTON, VA, April 27, 2020 – Blake Willson Group, LLC, is proud to announce our annual ISO 9001:2015 certification renewal.

ISO 9001 is the world’s most widely recognized quality management standard and helps businesses and organizations meet the expectations and needs of their customers. As part of the ISO 9001:2015 certification process, Blake Willson Group engaged in a rigorous audit of our business processes and quality management system. This annual audit is performed to ensure the system and processes in place at Blake Willson Group concerning quality management are operating to the highest degree in accordance with ISO 9001:2015 best practices and principles.

This certification further strengthens our commitment to provide top-tier services to our clients. Blake Willson Group will always strive to exceed the expectations of our customers and our team members. As our business continues to grow, our company remains committed to bringing high-quality services to clients in the months and years to come.

BWG is a Corporate Partner of AGA and ASMC

ARLINGTON, VA, March 17, 2020 – Blake Willson Group is a Corporate Partner with the Association of Government Accountants (AGA) and the American Society of Military Comptrollers (ASMC).

Association of Government Accountants (AGA) is the premier association in advancing government accountability and serves government accountability professionals by providing quality education, fostering professional development and certification, and supporting standards and research to advance government accountability. As an AGA Corporate Partner, Blake Willson Group participates in research studies and publications which promote innovative government financial management practices.

American Society of Military Comptrollers (ASMC) is the non-profit educational and professional organization for both military and civilian personnel involved in the overall field of military comptrollership. ASMC promotes the education and training of its members and supports the development and advancement of the profession of military comptrollership. As an ASMC Corporate Partner, Blake Willson Group participates in professional programs that keep members abreast of current issues and encourages the exchange of information, techniques, and approaches.

Thinking about joining the BWG Team? An Inside Look at Recruitment & Onboarding

An inside look at Blake Willson Group’s recruiting, onboarding, and overall experience to provide insight on joining the BWG team.

Dear Job Seeker:

Not too long ago, I was in your shoes. Sitting in front of a computer, researching various companies and assessing what my next career move would be.

 

I know what you are going through, you visit company websites, LinkedIn and Glassdoor profiles, and try to envision what it would be like to join their teams. For me, I wanted to join a company committed to excellence while operating with the highest level of ethical standards. Like many, I not only want to work a rewarding job, but I want to positively impact my community and others. I found exactly that with Blake Willson Group (BWG).

While you may have other reasons for looking into employment with BWG, personally, the company values drew me in, but my positive interactions with the team sealed the deal.

Across the board, Blake Willson Group leadership is an innovative force that consistently thinks outside of the box and puts employee satisfaction at the forefront. If your experience is anything like mine, you may have already noticed this with their recruitment efforts. Blake Willson Group’s efforts to reach out to top-tier talent is modern in its approach; this is a company that recognizes the digitally connected world we live in today and the value of the social network.

The level of efficiency at which the leadership team operated during my recruitment process left me impressed and simultaneously excited about joining a company with a strong team-based culture and a fast-paced atmosphere in which I already felt valued and encouraged to be successful.

From my first interaction with leadership, to my first day on the job and beyond, I have felt nothing but support and encouragement from all members of the team. Regardless of the role you may be considering with Blake Willson Group, you can be sure to expect an emphasis on collaboration, a high standard of respect, a safe communication environment focused on anyone providing the best idea(s), and empowerment to be successful.

 

At Blake Willson Group, you will feel valued, you will feel supported, and you will feel included.

 

For more information, go to www.blakewillsongroup.com or reach directly out to anyone below:

BWG Supports the American Heart Association at 2020 Heart Ball

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 24, 2020 – SERVANT LEADERSHIP: A value that Blake Willson Group (BWG) was founded on and one that is critically important now as the world faces the COVID-19 crisis. BWG has been focused on supporting its team members as we all navigate unchartered territory with COVID-19 but also know it’s important to continue serving the community as best we can. As supporters of the American Heart Association since 2014, the leadership of BWG is committed to serving an organization whose mission is to fight heart disease and stroke and save lives. Even now, a healthy heart is critical to avoid underlying health conditions in the face of COVID-19.

On Saturday, February 22, 2020, the American Heart Association hosted its annual Heart Ball at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. This event celebrates efforts to build a foundation of health in our community and ensure everyone lives a longer, healthier life. Whitney Blake (pictured on the second row, third from the left) served as this year’s Auction Committee Co-Chair and worked tirelessly to secure live and silent auction items. These items were vital in helping to raise $1.4 million dollars that evening.

Thank you for your work to change the lives of those affected by heart disease, Whitney!

During the coronavirus pandemic, we encourage you to stay informed, especially those who have heart disease or have survived a stroke. Please visit the American Heart Association’s website for more information and resources.

https://www.heart.org/en/about-us/coronavirus-covid-19-resources

Inc. Magazine Unveils Its Annual List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies – the Inc. 5000

Blake Willson Group, LLC Ranks No. 793 on the 2019 Inc. 5000 With Three-Year Revenue Growth of 542 Percent

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 14, 2019 – Inc. magazine today revealed that Blake Willson Group, LLC is No. 793 on its annual Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment—its independent small businesses. Microsoft, Dell, Domino’s Pizza, Pandora, Timberland, LinkedIn, Yelp, Zillow, and many other well-known names gained their first national exposure as honorees on the Inc. 5000.

“Blake Willson Group is honored to be named to the prestigious Inc. 5000 list. Being ranked on the same list as some of the country’s most successful and innovative companies, is a testament to how great of a team we have at Blake Willson Group. We share this achievement with all those who have helped us reach this important milestone,” said RJ Blake, the founder and President & CEO.

Drew Griffin, Sr. Vice President added, “Despite inherent challenges faced by all start-up small businesses, we are proud to see substantial revenue growth year over year since 2014. We believe this is attributed to our steadfast commitment to the firm’s core values and our team members that share in those values, most importantly servant leadership. “

Not only have the companies on the 2019 Inc. 5000 (which are listed online at Inc.com, with the top 500 companies featured in the September issue of Inc., available on newsstands August 20) been very competitive within their markets, but the list as a whole shows staggering growth compared with prior lists. The 2019 Inc. 5000 achieved an astounding three-year average growth of 454 percent, and a median rate of 157 percent. The Inc. 5000’s aggregate revenue was $237.7 billion in 2018, accounting for 1,216,308 jobs over the past three years.

Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at www.inc.com/inc5000.

“The companies on this year’s Inc. 5000 have followed so many different paths to success,” says Inc. editor in chief James Ledbetter. “There’s no single course you can follow or investment you can take that will guarantee this kind of spectacular growth. But what they have in common is persistence and seizing opportunities.”

The annual Inc. 5000 event honoring the companies on the list will be held October 10 to 12, 2019, at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa in Phoenix, Arizona. As always, speakers include some of the greatest innovators and business leaders of our generation.