Blake Willson Group, LLC Named as a Finalist for SECAF’s Prestigious Government Contractor of the Year Award

April 5th, 2021, Arlington, Virginia – Blake Willson Group, today announced that it was selected as a finalist for the 13th Annual Small and Emerging Contractors Advisory Forum (SECAF) Awards. Winners will be announced at the virtual Awards Gala on Thursday, May 6, 2021. The event honors small and emerging government contractors and the players in the industry that rely on these businesses.

 

Blake Willson Group, LLC is a finalist for The Government Contractor of the Year (under $7.5million for 2020), which recognizes companies that have shown a compelling and profound commitment to excellence in financial performance.

RJ Blake, founder, and CEO at Blake Willson Group said, “2020 was a tough year for us all – spiritually, emotionally, and physically. We battled a Pandemic of a magnitude not seen in 100 years, a follow on recession, and civil unrest; all of which has challenged us as a company, and each individually – to do more with less – and I think we’ve come out on the other as a better company, as better people, with a brighter future. Receiving an award like this is a testament to the power of the human spirit. Only through each team member’s resilience and unwavering dedication to our people, our communities, and our clients were this award possible.”

 

“The SECAF Awards Gala shines a spotlight on the vision and success that enable the community of government contractors to deliver excellence year in and year out. It is a privilege to recognize Blake Willson Group, LLC as it mirrors the tenants of our own organization – leadership, fortitude, and commitment,” said Richard Pineda, CALIBRE President, and CEO, and SECAF Board Chair.

 

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About Blake Willson Group, LLC

Blake Willson Group is a licensed CPA firm with a skilled team of dynamic individuals dedicated to providing timely, cost-effective, and forward-thinking solutions to clients. Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, BWG serves the Washington, D.C. metro area and beyond. The firm holds Department of VA-certified (CVE) Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) status, is an SBA 8(a) program participant, and is ISO 9001:2015 certified.

 

About The 13th Annual SECAF Awards Gala

The 13th Annual SECAF Awards Gala is the premier commemorative event honoring the small and emerging government contractors and the players in the ecosystem that rely on small business. The event will be held virtually at 5:00PM ET on Thursday, May 6, 2021. To register or for more information, visit here.

 

About The Small and Emerging Contractors Advisory Forum

The Small and Emerging Contractors Advisory Forum (SECAF) enables the small and emerging government contractor to achieve maximum growth rates in a highly competitive marketplace. Providing members with business resources, access to influencers and government agencies, and advocacy opportunities and education, SECAF is an important resource for a growing company.  SECAF also serves medium to large government contractors, providing invaluable introductions to specialized small businesses that enable the overall contracting community to work successfully in tandem. For more information, visit www.secaf.org.

Blake Willson Group Wins $25M USDA Rural Development BPA Prime Contract

Blake Willson Group is proud to announce our recently awarded $25M Blank Purchase Agreement (BPA) prime contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development (USDA-RD). USDA-RD’s mission is to help improve the economy and quality of life in rural America through loans, grants and loan guarantees to support rural housing, small business, economic development, etc. USDA-RD also supports and guarantees loans to businesses through banks, credit unions and community-managed lending pools and provides technical assistance to help communities develop community empowerment programs.

This opportunity combines Blake Willson Group with Summit Consulting, a specialized analytics advisory firm that is an industry leader supporting federal agencies, financial institutions, and litigators as well as CohnReznick, one of our nation’s top accounting and advisory firms supporting federal, state, and local government agencies.

We are excited to bring together a dynamic team with complementary skill sets and backgrounds to support USDA-RD’s critical mission during one of our nation’s most difficult times.

R.J. Blake, Founder & CEO at Blake Willson Group said, “We are honored to have been awarded this contract and look forward to supporting USDA-RD’s mission in helping improve the economy and quality of life of rural Americans. This one is near and dear to our hearts.”

Drew Griffin, Sr. Vice President further stated, “This is a huge win for Blake Willson Group as it deepens our valued relationship with USDA where we’ve supported as prime under the OCFO since 2019 and brings us into new types of work serving as a testament to all the hard work, dedication, and professionalism shown by our entire team. A big component of winning this work was having strong past performance, only possible through the day-to-day impact every team member makes with our customers that leaves a positive reputation for us as a whole.”

About Blake Willson Group

Blake Willson Group is a licensed CPA firm with a skilled team of dynamic individuals dedicated to providing timely, cost-effective, and forward-thinking solutions to clients. Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, BWG serves the Washington, D.C. metro area and beyond. The firm holds Department of VA-certified (CVE) Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) status, is an SBA 8(a) program participant, and is ISO 9001:2015 certified.

Follow Blake Willson Group on LinkedInInstagram, and Facebook

Blake Willson Group Media Contact: Marilyn Dyess | HR & Operations Manager | mdyess@blakewillsongroup.com

For more information on Summit Consulting, visit http://www.summitllc.us

For more information on CohnReznick, visit http://www.cohnreznick.com

Blake Willson Group Named to Inc. Magazine and Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families Annual Vet100 List

Arlington, VA (December 7, 2020) – Blake Willson Group has been named to annual Vet100 list—a compilation of the nation’s fastest growing veteran-owned businesses. The ranking, created in partnership with Inc. magazine and Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), was born out of the iconic Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies based in the U.S. Both distinctions are considered hallmarks of entrepreneurial success. Originally established as the Vet50 list, this year’s list is the third iteration expanded to include 100 veteran-owned businesses in acknowledgement of the growing culture and success of veteran entrepreneurs.

President & CEO of Blake Willson Group,  R.J. Blake, CPA, CGFM, shared, “Blake Willson Group is pleased to be ranked among the most successful veteran-owned businesses in the country. It was a honor to serve our country while on active duty and a privilege to support the federal government with our services now.” Andrew Griffin, CDFM, Sr. Vice President, added, “I believe that the commitment we have to our core values of diversity, integrity, reliability, and servant leadership allows us to receive such recognition.”

Earlier this year, Blake Willson Group once again earned a spot on Inc. magazine’s Inc. 5000 listing of fastest-growing private companies. BWG takes great pride in providing quality services to the government with our financial audit, advisory, and accounting related services, and in 2019 and 2020, the company achieved ISO 9001:2015 certification. ISO 9001 is the world’s most widely recognized quality management standard and helps businesses and organizations meet and exceed the expectations and needs of their customers and BWG’s certification further strengthens our qualifications to serve the federal government.

“Business growth is a real economic driver in this country and the fact is that most of the new jobs in the economy—over 87 percent—are created by private businesses,” says Eric Schurenberg, CEO of Mansueto Ventures, publisher of Inc. Magazine. “Veteran entrepreneurs contribute their share to the job story, employing over 5.5 million. They deserve to be recognized for their continued service to the country.”

“Military experience provides veteran entrepreneurs with skills and knowledge we know to be valuable in the business world,” said Mike Haynie, Syracuse University Vice Chancellor and IVMF Founder and Executive Director. “The growth of this year’s list is a hopeful and inspiring indication of how important and valuable veteran entrepreneurs are to our society and economy. These businessmen and women not only served in defense of our collective freedom and security, they now continue to serve by bettering the economies in their communities and across the country. We are proud to partner again with Inc. magazine and are grateful for their efforts to shine a spotlight on the success of veteran-owned businesses.”

Vet100 honorees will be formally recognized during the Vet100 Awards dinner at IVMF’s Veteran EDGE Conference, to be held in Dallas, TX, in October 2021. EDGE is the first-of-its-kind coalition of large companies supporting the success of veteran-owned businesses, connecting them with entrepreneurial education, training, resources, and networking opportunities.

For more information on the Inc. Vet100 list, visit: https://ivmf.syracuse.edu/Vet100/

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About Blake Willson Group

Blake Willson Group (BWG) is a licensed CPA firm with a skilled team of dynamic individuals dedicated to providing timely, cost-effective, and forward-thinking solutions to clients. Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, BWG serves the Washington, D.C. metro area and beyond. The firm holds Department of VA-certified (CVE) Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) status, is an SBA 8(a) program participant, and is ISO 9001/2015 certified.

About Inc. and the Inc. 5000

Founded in 1979 and acquired in 2005 by Mansueto Ventures, Inc. is the only major brand dedicated exclusively to owners and managers of growing private companies, with the aim to deliver real solutions for today’s innovative company builders. Total monthly audience reach for the brand has grown significantly from 2,000,000 in 2010 to over 20,000,000 today. For more information, visit http://www.inc.com/.
The Inc. 5000 is a list of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. Now in its 40th year, this prestigious list of the nation’s most successful private companies has become the hallmark of entrepreneurial success.

About Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families

Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) delivers no-cost career training and entrepreneurship programs across the US and globally. And we help ease the transition after service back into communities for service members, veterans and their families as well as prepare them for successful careers and business ownership. We’ve supported over 150,000 to date. It’s our mission to support theirs. For more information, visit ivmf.syracuse.edu and follow the IVMF on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

RJ Blake invited to join Washington Business Journal Leadership Trust

ARLINGTON, VA., OCTOBER 20, 2020

RJ Blake, President & CEO of Blake Willson Group, has been invited to join the Washington Business Journal Leadership Trust, an exclusive community for influential business leaders, executives, and entrepreneurs in Greater Washington.

RJ was chosen for membership by the Washington Business Journal Leadership Trust Selection Committee due to his experience, leadership, and influence in the local business landscape and beyond. RJ is currently leading Blake Willson Group, a fast-growing company specializing in federal government contracting, providing specialized financial, accounting, and program management to the federal government.

“The Washington area’s thriving business community is powered by leaders like RJ,” said Peter Abrahams, president and publisher of The Washington Business Journal. “We’re honored to be creating a space where the region’s business influencers come together to increase their impact on the community, build their businesses, and connect with and strengthen one another.”

As an invited member, RJ will contribute articles to the Washington Business Journal website and participate alongside fellow members in Expert Panels. He will connect and collaborate with a vetted network of local leaders in a members-only directory and a private forum on the group’s mobile app. RJ will also benefit from leadership and business coaching, an Executive Profile on the Washington Business Journal website, select partner discounts and services, and ongoing support from the community’s concierge team.

RJ shared, “I am honored to be invited to the Washington Business Journal Leadership Trust team, and excited to share insights with the community, and learn from others as I continue to lead Blake Willson Group to new heights.”

The Washington Business Journal Leadership Trust team is honored to welcome RJ to the community and looks forward to helping him elevate his personal brand, strengthen his circle of trusted advisors and position him to further impact the Washington business community and beyond.

About Business Journals Leadership Trust:

Washington Business Journal Leadership Trust is a part of Business Journals Leadership Trust — a collective of invitation-only networks of influential business leaders, executives and entrepreneurs in your community. Membership is based on an application and selection committee review. Benefits include private online forums, the ability to publish insights on bizjournals.com, business and executive coaching, and a dedicated concierge team. To learn more and find out if you qualify, visit trust.bizjournals.com.

About Blake Willson Group:

Blake Willson Group (BWG) is a licensed CPA firm with a skilled team of dynamic individuals dedicated to providing timely, cost-effective, and forward-thinking solutions to clients. Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, BWG serves the Washington, D.C. metro area and beyond. The firm holds Department of VA-certified (CVE) Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) status, is an SBA 8(a) program participant, and is ISO 9001/2015 certified.

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.