As a former naval officer in the Vietnam War, Everett Alvarez has his share of war stories: like the one about being the first US combat pilot shot down over Vietnam, or the one about being a prisoner of war for more than eight years in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton” prison. Not only did Alvarez survive those nightmarish ordeals, he incorporated vital lessons learned during his time at war to fearlessly lead his firm as founder and CEO of Alvarez & Associates.
In 1982, President Reagan recognized those very same leadership skills and appointed him deputy administrator of the Veterans Administration. “There is no standard format for leadership, it’s a very subjective concept,” Alvarez says. “In my case, leadership is setting the tone and establishing the culture and identity of the company. The most important thing I can do is represent the attributes I care most about and lead by example.”
In 2007, Alvarez & Associates, a Washington, DC-based IT solutions firm, was awarded the NASA SEWP lV Contract as a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses prime contractor. This designation has made it possible for the firm, which was started in 2004, to sell any IT product and most IT services to any federal government agency; the contract also helped to establish Alvarez & Associates as one of the leading firms in their field.
“Outside of our contract, our success comes directly from the individuals we hire,” Alvarez explains. “Our employees work with us on the vision we have for the future. Our team is full of people who have integrity, who understand the job, and who are committed to a team effort.” Kirk Hanson, general manager of the IT Solutions Division echoes Alvarez’s sentiments, “We recognize the need for teamwork. From an executive point of view, making sure our employees have all the tools necessary to achieve their tasks and goals is most important. We also strive to provide them with an environment that is suitable to delivering that.”
What is the biggest benefit to working at Alvarez & Associates?
Senior Demand Reduction Specialist
“Alvarez & Associates provides the opportunity to work directly with our federal clients, supporting their international drug-demand reduction efforts.”
Senior Demand Reduction Specialist
“The biggest benefit is knowing that you work for a company that values integrity, and that the company supports you and stands behind you.”
“Aside from working with a great American hero, Everett Alvarez, for whom it is a privilege and honor to work, the biggest benefit is working with a company where the corporate culture is not just a bunch of words on a website. Our culture is one driven by integrity: doing the right things for the right reasons.”
Part of the work Alvarez & Associates does to ensure that both the executive team and the employees are thriving in their positions is look to Profile XT, an employee profiling tool used by 45,000 companies in the United States when making a new hire. “We use this tool for my division to help us profile prospective candidates to make sure they’re a good match,” says Hanson of the online test that looks for and measures numerical reasoning and ability, how suited one will be for the company culture, as well as behavioral aspects. For example, if one shows strong marks in enterprising behavior, they’ll most likely be hired as a business development or sales candidate. “We use it to make sure we’re making fewer hiring mistakes, and to make sure that our employees are happy in their roles.”
Both Alvarez and Hanson look for employees who are dedicated to getting the job done and are able to understand how to execute the requirements of their position without constant supervision. This is a description that carries over when it comes to deciding what subcontractors and partners Alvarez & Associates choose to work with as well. “Everybody understands their place in the chain, that’s what keeps us productive,” says Alvarez. “We oversee things, but our employees, partners, and subcontractors make it work.”
As the work the firm performs requires a wide base of knowledge including federal acquisition regulation and federal procurement processes, Alvarez & Associates employees are trusted to be experts in their field. The firm provides IT solutions to government agencies like the Veteran’s Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Defense, and as much of their work is sensitive, integrity above all else is valued. “For us the word ‘integrity’ is very crucial,” Hanson explains. “It defines us in any situation. If our employees can make their decisions with integrity, they can rely upon the fact that management will support them. Integrity is what Mr. Alvarez leads with and what we are all happy to give to our jobs and employees.”