Every business, no matter how successful, always could use a little more help to increase operational performance and efficiency.
For the past two decades, Elkridge-based Edwards Performance Solutions has been helping clients find ways to improve productivity, profitability and security through technology and cybersecurity.
“By delivering the highest quality services while addressing cyber vulnerabilities, we ensure operational excellence and performance to drive overall success,” said President and CEO Gina Abate. “Edwards integrates security requirements into all technical and management perspectives, safeguarding information and organizations in the market.”
Founded in 1997, Edwards Performance Solutions became a certified Woman Owned Small Business and a Maryland Minority Business Enterprise in 2016.
Edwards maintains a focus on four core disciplines that include Enterprise Management, Learning and Development, Knowledge Management, and Cybersecurity.
“Our understanding of complex missions drives our competitive advantage in the federal and commercial marketplaces,” Abate said. “Edwards helps organizations understand their issues and works with them to mitigate risks, offering a complete solution from planning through implementation. Our employees also have real-world experience that helps us understand and mitigate customer concerns.”
Abate joined Edwards in 2013 as a senior vice president. She was appointed president in 2013, and CEO in May 2016.
Her background includes federal experience in information technology (IT) management positions at the Department of Veterans Affairs and leadership roles with NTT Data Federal Systems and BAE Systems, a unique perspective that’s advantageous for work in an environment rife with both government entities and federal contractors.
Edwards’s staff of 60 employees currently supports 12 customers in the Baltimore/Washington metropolitan area.
“Our clients include government agencies, commercial businesses and nonprofit organizations, ranging from mid-size companies to large federal agencies,” Abate said.
Among them are several behemoths, including Motorola, the National Association of Social Workers, University of Maryland Medical Systems and the Space Telescope Science Institute for the future James Webb Space Telescope, in addition to the intelligence community and the departments of Commerce, Defense, Health and Human Services and Justice.
“Customer needs vary depending on industry particulars, but our common theme is a focus on operational performance. We understand our strengths and work to customize our methodologies to address individual customer needs,” said Abate.
Companies that aim to help other businesses find their groove have a knack for identifying needs and acting to address them.
According to Abate, Edwards Performance Solutions takes a similar view when it comes to philanthropy and personal involvement in local communities.
“Our company-wide charitable program donates corporate money to support local important civic and philanthropic activities,” she said. “Edwards also matches employees’ charitable contributions, but it does not stop with a check: We volunteer in our community as a group and individually.”
The company’s employees were active in Ellicott City flood recovery efforts, and have worked to support the American Diabetes Association’s CEOs Stopping Diabetes, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Walk to End CF and the Alzheimer’s Association Walk.
Looking to become more involved in the business community, Edwards Performance Solutions joined the Howard County Chamber of Commerce (HCCC) three years ago.
“We have participated in many events with the HCCC … and those networking groups, dinners and seminars have provided beneficial introductions to local small and mid-sized companies, some resulting in direct work and others providing partnership opportunities,” Abate said. “Our relationship with HCCC … also aided public recognition when Edwards opened its new corporate offices in Elkridge with the Howard County executive in attendance to cut the celebratory ribbon.”
Cybersecurity represents a new area of competency for Edwards.
“We wanted to expand some of our solution sets, and one thing we kept finding when looking at optimizing a company’s operational performance was the increasing importance of security,” Abate said. “It’s one of the largest things that can put productivity and profit at risk.”
Earlier this year, Edwards acquired Evolved Cyber Solutions, a leader in cybersecurity risk analysis, and hired its founder, Brian Hubbard, to direct Edwards’s new Commercial Strategic Business Unit.
“By merging our operations and teams, we will continue to successfully deliver cybersecurity solutions to an even larger community,” Abate explained. “We also built strategic partnerships with some really strong Maryland cyber companies and enhanced our staff to help shore up our capabilities in this area.”
Within its own organization, Edwards is making an effort to invest in its own employees and their future.
“We put an emphasis on training, mentoring and career growth, encouraging employees to build new skills and refine current abilities by offering professional development incentives,” Abate said. “Employees are reimbursed for seminars, workshops and professional associations that enhance their education. [That] allows us to pass along the best savings and current solution expertise to our customers.”
As for the customer experience, “When our partners work with us, they’re frequently surprised at how organized we are for a company our size,” Abate said. “Our experienced, professional staff allows us to act like a much larger company than we really are, but we’re still the same small organization that’s able to give customers the same level of intimate attention they expect and deserve.”