Looking back on the past three years, it’s incredible how much Quest Defense has grown. Back in May of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic took a serious toll on our business, and we were struggling to maintain a team of 30 people. Since then, we’ve greatly expanded our business operations, developed a thriving “working together” culture, and built a team of more than 300 people. It is a testament to the team’s hard work and dedication. So, as we celebrate our growth, it is important to reflect on our accomplishments and understand how we got here.

Building a Culture That Retains Talent

If I’m being honest, a big part of the reason that we’ve seen so much success is that we had a strong foundational culture set by Quest Global and our founder, Ajit Prabhu. When you look at Quest Global, you see an organization that encourages a blend of humility and hunger, openness and transparency displayed by its leaders daily. Also, a dedication to our customers has allowed us to accomplish so much over the past 27 years as a corporation Our leadership team at Quest Defense spends time on improving our culture. It’s important to them, and it’s a continuous journey. They realize we have to be different to meet the needs of the talent base in the market.

Another important factor in our company culture is the emphasis on the strengths and values of our people. When we have a new candidate, we want them to know what it’s like to work with us, who they would work with, and how we can help them further their career. New employees can join our team knowing they, too, have a voice in the company. If you aren’t listening to your people, you can’t expect them to stick around. It’s important for us to establish who we are and what Quest Defense has to offer.

Keeping Teams Motivated

Even with a culture that encourages growth-minded action, it’s the people who make a company successful. I’m lucky I have such an incredible team to work with. Humble, hungry, and eager to learn, they really live out our company’s values every single day. As the type of people who want to know how they are performing and what they do is delivering value, they need to be kept engaged and motivated, which is why our regular strategy sessions are so important.

When I do these strategy sessions, what I like to emphasize is that this isn’t my meeting, it’s the team’s meeting. When leading a team, it’s easy to get into the mindset that you need to take center stage, but a strategy session isn’t useful if you’re just inviting people to listen to you  talk. I want to hear them talk, both because I know that they have what it takes to deliver incredible work while learning from each other and also because that’s how you keep people engaged in their jobs. People want to know they are being heard, so let them speak!

Also important? Reaching out to your team members and showing that you’re invested in them. We conduct regular new-hire dinners to help people get to know each other better, myself included. Too often, high-level leaders are far removed from the people of the company, which can leave employees feeling like they have to walk on eggshells. I want people to feel comfortable around me because it builds that sense of connection and simply because I enjoy learning about what my people are up to. It’s a great learning opportunity for all of us. My employees regularly engage me when they see me. My hope is the more comfortable they feel with me, they will also share what I can do to make our company better.

Achieving Consistent Growth

With a strong team and an effective company culture, we have the foundations for consistent growth and a hunger for excellence in all we do. Much like our parent company, we try to pair sales and delivery by account, which not only delivers stronger results overall, but gets departments in the mindset of a mutual partnership. The goal is for the sales and delivery relationship to build from collaboration and trust, where ultimately, they are able to work each other’s lanes and support each other in a seamless way. In a high-growth culture, you sometimes need to step outside of the specifics of your specific title to get things done.

Equally important is establishing repeatable actions we can learn and apply elsewhere in the business. We need systems to empower others, offering continuous coaching and clear expectations while offering room to act on their own. We all know micromanaging drags teams down, but providing systems of accountability and empowerment paves the way for innovation and self-improvement, ultimately aligning with overarching business goals.

Our team also recognizes that we are not perfect and that everything does not always go as planned. We encourage a continuous learning environment and strive to make small improvements each and every day, and to have a hunger for making our company better.

The Fruits of Our Labor

We’ve accomplished so much in three years, and each team member can take pride in contributing to our success. Since May 2020, we have:

  • Opened a world-class office space in Cincinnati
  • Added EXB Solutions to our stable of Services
  • Added nearly 200 engineers with clearances
  • Expanded the GE team to over 166 people
  • Expanded the P&W team from less than 10 to nearly 100 people
  • Built considerable momentum towards our efforts with Lockheed Martin and Raytheon
  • Constructed a thriving “working together” culture

I attribute all of this and more to the incredible people we have here at Quest Defense. It is this group of talented, innovative, and humble folks that has made this company so successful. I look forward to seeing where the next three years take us all!

Written by Steve Gerber

on 12 Sep 2023

President and CEO - 

Quest Defense Systems & Solutions