2 is better than 1: strategies for a successful partnership

Posted in: Architecture & Interiors, Aviation, Building Engineering, Environmental, Water


Mead & Hunt staff
Left to Right: Debbie Dent, Jeremy Bluhm, Jeff Sorenson, Miro Kurka, Laurie Whitney, Scott Cary, Mac Crawford, Dave Phillips

Winning federal pursuits is far from easy. The high level of experience needed to meet client requirements means it can be difficult for a single (especially small or mid-sized) firm to check every box. To mitigate this challenge, Mead & Hunt has experienced great success forming partnerships for key federal pursuits.

In my last blog about recent Air Force Reserve contracts we have won, I identified a Joint-Venture (JV) partnership with another capable firm as key to our success. To create a successful JV, several aspects must be considered. These strategies can be applied to any partnering relationship:

  1. Look for a firm with similar culture and values. These drive both individual and corporate behavior and can produce either synergy and strength, or conflict and difficulty. A firm with a single profit center, for example, will behave differently than one with multiple profit centers. Business size is much less important than how well you collaborate; you will spend a lot of time together, so the relationships should be enjoyable.
  2. Seek a firm that has the client experience that you may not have. In a recent JV, we had the right office location and relevant project experience for the pursuit, but no direct experience with the client. We teamed with a firm that was an incumbent with the client but needed to strengthen their position with additional capabilities for the recompete. By forming a JV, both needs were satisfied, and we won the contract.
  3. Partner with a firm that complements the geography for your pursuit. For example, in another JV we formed, we had great successes with the client at several locations in four states. However, at the time, we did not have the office locations required for the client’s larger, nationwide pursuit. To remedy this, we teamed with a larger firm that had offices in nearly every state. The end result was a win for the JV and many years of successful projects.
  4. Start close to home. Experience working together is typically very important to federal clients, so start with firms that you already work with. Even if they don’t have federal experience, it may be advantageous to leverage project experience together for federal pursuits.

Well-executed partnerships, such as JVs, can lead to a win where neither firm might have been successful alone. Combining our skills and resources with those of other firms often means we are better able to serve our clients and our communities.


Jeff Sorenson, PE, CFM, DBIA

About the Author

Jeff Sorenson, (USAF-Ret) is the Federal Programs Market Leader for Mead & Hunt. He has broad expertise in federal contracting, and has provided environmental, planning, design and construction solutions to numerous federal agencies. Jeff is also the Practice Leader for utility privatization at Mead & Hunt, helping clients acquire military utility systems.

Read more posts by Jeff Sorenson, PE, CFM, DBIA

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