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HX5 Owner Margarita Howard Bootstrapped Her Way to Success

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Margarita Howard and HX5 have genuinely stood out in the competitive world of government contracting. Howard turns every challenge into an opportunity by always being one step ahead, excelling in a male-dominated industry, and putting clients and her team first.

Howard’s leadership as the sole owner and CEO/president has propelled the service-disabled veteran, women-owned small business from a fledgling startup to a pivotal player in supporting federal government operations across 34 states and 90 government locations, including Hawaii and Alaska.

“Building strong relationships with government agencies is an invaluable asset for successful government contractors as it can serve to provide the contractor with positive performance appraisals and sometimes even lead to new or additional business,” she says.

Margarita Howard‘s story is one of grit and professionalism. From facing early life challenges and financial hurdles to further her education to her transformative experience in the Air Force, every step she took paved the way for her remarkable venture into entrepreneurship. Her experience in the military, coupled with her academic achievements, furnished her with a profound understanding of the necessity for meticulous operational planning and execution, setting the stage for HX5′s inception and growth.

Since its founding in 2004, the company has carved out a niche in delivering top-notch professional support services tailored to the unique demands of federal government entities. As an ISO 9001:2015 certified company, it’s built an enviable reputation for excellence in quality and customer service across a broad clientele, including prestigious organizations like the Army, Navy, Air Force, NASA, and the General Services Administration.

Under Howard’s guidance, HX5 distinguishes itself through a dedication to comprehensively understanding government clients’ nuanced needs and challenges, thereby fostering robust relationships with key governmental stakeholders.

The company is headquartered in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, with a dynamic team of over 1,000 employees across its many locations around the country. HX5’s services focus in the fields of research, development, test, and evaluation projects; and software and hardware engineering. Furthermore, its expertise extends to information technology, mission operations support, and comprehensive program management and logistics, highlighting its versatility and commitment to supporting the nation’s strategic interests and security.

“We have won some, for our size company, very large prime contracts. And we have large businesses as our subcontractors,” Margarita Howard says. “And then we’re a very good subcontractor as well. We have also been awarded a Prime-Subcontractor of the Year award in recognition of our outstanding performance as a subcontractor.”

Margarita Howard Talks Strategic Partnership

Howard offers this advice to anyone involved in government contracting: Always appreciate the importance of connections. “We attend industry events, networking functions, and government-sponsored outreach programs, as they allow us to establish new connections and stay informed about upcoming opportunities within the sectors we operate and support,” she says. The information that we learn through these activities is often important to the proposal writing process.”

She recognizes the multiple benefits of building strategic partnerships or teaming arrangements with other contractor firms. Those connections “enhance the respective teams’ capabilities and competitiveness.”

According to Margarita Howard, “We’ve found that in some situations, depending on the program or customer, effective collaboration with companies whose services are complementary to our own allows the combination of companies (i.e., the team) to offer the best overall comprehensive solutions that meet the needs of the government.”

The company is committed to diversity and inclusion, particularly in promoting women to leadership roles. Howard’s strategic vision for the company has been marked by a proactive stance against relying entirely on sole-source awards.

She has navigated HX5 toward competitive bidding, ensuring the company’s sustainability and growth. This forward-thinking approach, strengthened by an early investment in a government-approved accounting system and a robust operational infrastructure, along with the cultivation of a dedicated and experienced management team, lays a solid foundation for HX5′s operational excellence and competitive edge.

How HX5 Perfects Proposals

The firm invests significant time and resources in developing comprehensive and compelling proposals that address all aspects of the solicitation requirements they’re bidding on. “The proposal must demonstrate a deep understanding of the client’s needs, propose innovative solutions, and showcase the company’s ability to deliver value,” says Margarita Howard. “We’ve invested heavily over the years in the proposal development area as it’s a critical necessity for any firm that wants to be successful at competing.”

Howard adds that the company always does its “best to highlight its past performance and relevant qualifications to demonstrate our track record of success and capability to perform on government contracts. You must always leverage your respective past performance examples and client testimonials of outstanding performances to strengthen your credibility and, accordingly, your competitiveness.”

She notes, “Any successful proposal must always address how the company will ensure strict compliance with all applicable regulations, requirements, and standards that go along with performing on a government contract.”

The enterprise ensures that all proposals undergo a thorough review that includes verification that these items have all been addressed and, when appropriate, provides risk management processes to identify, assess, and mitigate potential risks that could impact contract performance or compliance.

“You have to actively highlight how your services can address the government’s needs and add value to their mission in a way that no other company can. You also need to emphasize quality, reliability, and performance in your proposals and project execution. Building a track record of successful contract performance enhances your credibility and your competitiveness,” Howard points out.

“These are some of the main strategies we use to win government contracts — they are not unique to HX5 by any means, but every company approaches them in whatever way it determines is most effective for its goals,” says Howard.

Looking ahead, the company stays committed to constant learning, strict compliance with laws and standards, and a relentless pursuit of quality. At the heart of everything HX5 does, Margarita Howard’s visionary leadership steers the ship, showcasing the power of a clear strategic direction, unwavering determination and a solid commitment to celebrating diverse voices. These elements are crucial to sparking significant change and securing a lasting presence in the competitive field of government contracting.

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