Driven by Duty: The DFC Story – Terry Speegle

As we begin our third year of operations and launch our new website and blog, I thought it a great time to document the DFC story. It’s been an adventure, to say the least, and if you’d told the young cadet version of me that I’d be where I am today I wouldn’t have believed you. My career plans of serving as a commissioned officer in the United States Army changed with a much earlier than planned medical discharge in 1992. I had a West Point diploma in hand, but I lacked the civilian business experience that would help me launch a non-military career. It’s a problem we hear a lot about these days and I certainly understand the challenges.

I set off to pursue an MBA on a part time basis and was very fortunate to land an entry-level position with KPMG Peat Marwick (one of the former Big 6 accounting and consulting firms). I was immediately exposed to some outstanding mentors, and I began to cut my teeth on challenging client engagements, working many hours and learning a great deal. Over the next 16 years, I was able to serve in every level in the company as it became KPMG Consulting and then BearingPoint. I had delivered services or led projects in over 25 different client areas from NASA to state retirement systems to DoD. I was also honored to spend two years in New Zealand supporting the establishment of a systems integration business for BearingPoint. As I became a Managing Director, I focused my career on Federal Healthcare and provided leadership for teams at CMS, CDC, MHS, and VA.

In 2009 as BearingPoint went through a process of selling its North American business units to other consulting firms, I faced the biggest decision point in my business career. My team at the time was working primarily for the VA on a number of important initiatives and the buyer of this portfolio of business (Deloitte) was at that time the VA’s auditor. This created a conflict of interest situation that put the VA account in a pool of contracts that would not be purchased by Deloitte. I decided that this was my one big chance to operationalize a business concept that I had begun planning years earlier. Along with Ron Aument, my colleague at BearingPoint and former VA executive, we chose to take the steps to acquire these contracts and existing team to establish Duty First Consulting, a Service-Disabled, Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) focused on IT and management consulting for Federal clients.

Our vision was and is clear. We will build a professional services firm that will operate with the same standards, quality, and professionalism as a multi-billion dollar firm. We will serve clients where we can deliver world-class insight, expertise, and solutions. We will share risk with our clients, add value to their organizations, and create win-win situations. We will attract and retain the best and brightest cadre of professionals with superior academic and business credentials. And we will operate this business with integrity, ethical values, and attention to service in our community.

After two full years of business we believe we have made positive impacts on our clients’ challenges. And I’m proud that our clients have told us they agree. I’m also proud of each of our team member’s contributions and the work environment we have created. And while this career may not have been the one I had planned when I first went to West Point, it’s turned out to be better than I imagined.