Professional Development
Business development / Ceos / Q&As / Technology

Meet the new CEO of the recently merged GCOM and OnCore

Lisa Mascolo, who succeeds Kamal Bherwani as the CEO of the Columbia-based government software firm, aspires to “help government procure even better.”

Lisa Mascolo. (Courtesy Lisa Mascolo)
Update: This article has been updated since its initial publication to clarify several of GCOM CEO Lisa Mascolo's quotes. (9/28/2023, 4:02 p.m.) 

In a merger announced in August, Columbia, Maryland government software company GCOM joined forces with Sacramento, California’s OnCore Consulting.

The merge came just a few days before the announcement of a new leader at GCOM’s helm, Lisa Mascolo.

Mascolo boasts a diverse career, having held the position of managing director at IBM and founded Listen Learn Lead, LLC; the latter business is dedicated to culture change, leadership development and executive coaching, as indicated on her LinkedIn profile.

The new GCOM CEO also serves her alma mater, the Stevens Institute of Technology, as a trustee and chair of the New Jersey school’s HR and Compensation Committee. With over three decades of experience, including leadership roles in several IT companies, her expertise may be a valuable asset to the software company, which focuses on enhancing operational performance of state and local governments.

Mascolo’s predecessor, Kamal Bherwani, is set to return to his seat on the board of directors, as announced in a press release provided to Technical.ly. In 2021, Bherwani advocated for a holistic data approach and collaborated with a business intelligence and data analytics firm it acquired to integrate analytics into GCOM’s software-as-a-service products.

To explore the continuity and evolution of Bherwani’s initiatives, Technical.ly conducted a phone interview with Mascolo. During this conversation, she delved into her background and outlined her objectives for the new role. She also emphasized the expected advantages arising from the GCOM and OnCore Consulting merger and shared her vision for government technology solutions. This interview has been condensed for conciseness and clarity.

What prompted the decision to merge GCOM with OnCore Consulting? We know you might have some insight into the decision as you were a board member prior to your role as CEO.

So I was a board member for a relatively short period of time. There’s a lot of synergy to be gained and there’s a lot of value to be added to the community. So I’ve been at this stuff for a really long time — it’s been almost 40 years for me in the public sector. My clients have always been governments, state and local or national or other national governments. And these are two companies [GCOM and OnCore Consulting] that only serve the public sector, and the synergies to be gained are pretty significant in my view. And so that’s really what drove the decision to put the two companies together.

What are the primary strategic objectives behind this merger for GCOM and its clients in the public sector?

So, it’s really interesting as we think about the integration of these two companies over time. What I’ve said to my team is that we need to quickly get to value. I’m not saying we’re rushing into the integration of the two teams, but everybody’s really committed to the same thing, right? If you look at the headline for GCOM, it’s [creating] safer, healthier, more prosperous communities. If you look at the headlines for OnCore, it’s really the same thing. So the two companies are really focused on adding value in the public sector and GCOM has a pretty decent geographic spread, maybe 30 to 33 states. [OnCore]  was primarily in California. Both companies are doing work in health and human services, both companies are doing tax and revenue. So to put these together, we’ve got GCOM — which is largely about, I would say, products and solutions. OnCore [is] largely about more traditional IT services. We’ve got a big opportunity to combine products and services across a bigger geographic spread [for] more clients.

Could you provide more information about your track record in technology, strategy and business development, particularly in relation to government clients?

[Here is] a little backstory [on] why I care: See, when I was a kid, my grandfather was an employee for the city of New York, and I used to go with him in summer. And he was like 311 on feet. Today, you can dial 311 or 211 and get information. [Back then], he would go into his office and he would get, you know, trouble tickets, and he’d go door-to-door helping people solve whatever the issues were. Putting them in touch with the right government agency, referring it to other offices, etc. And I really got the, I got the bug about consulting because it’s kind of cool if you can help people solve the problems, and then I [got] the bug about the public sector, right. We do work largely in the IT space, drive better outcomes for people who will never know who we are. Whether those are children or immigrants or warfighters or veterans or mothers with families, we work with people who will never know who we are, and we will — by virtue of the work that we do, add value.

And when I first got out of school, I went to work for what was then Arthur Andersen. Ultimately, we became Accenture, and I was a founding partner at Accenture. [I] spent basically 14 years serving state and local governments, and then about 16 years serving US federal government and other national governments. [I spent] a lot of time in the tax and revenue business, which is cool for me because it is part of what both GCOM and OnCore do today. And so I brought all my clients —  who, for years, have always been public sector agencies, US and abroad — [together] to talk about business development. The best business development people are people who have actually had to deliver systems and solutions for clients. The best BD people are people who have actually delivered for clients, because then you understand what it really takes to get stuff done. You understand what happens when you hit the inevitable speed bumps, you understand that. You have to have a consistent set of expectations, and you’ve got to have relationships with clients so that you can help them deliver. So what I’ve done my whole career is public sector, quality, business development [and] really delivered to clients

What are the immediate priorities and goals that you plan to address upon taking on the role of CEO?

The primary goal, in my mind, in the short term, is bringing the two teams together. There’s always some level of nervousness, fear when you do a transaction like this. People need to wonder, “Geez, what’s going to happen now?”: So my primary goal is to bring the two leadership teams together and bring the two company teams together in a way that serves our clients — I like to say, even better, right? I’ve been saying [to] everybody, “GCOM plus OnCore equals even better.” What both companies have been doing so far is really great and important work; together, it’s going to be even better. So my primary goal and objective is to make sure we show that promise even better and make sure that the leaders of both teams, and the people on both teams, understand the value of coming together. And we do it in a way that [enables] fun in the work that we do, because it is hard work. But [we] do it in a way that drives this even better outcome for clients and our clients’ clients.

How many current employees do you have?

In Maryland, there’s about 130 employees. When you add GCOM and OnCore together, you’re probably in the neighborhood of about 1300+.

Can you outline some of the expected benefits or synergies that will result from combining the capabilities of GCOM and OnCore Consulting?

One of the things that’s really important to my way of thinking is that we have an opportunity to help governments procure even better. You look at the history of it, let’s call it services and solutions: Government, for us as taxpayers, spend a lot of money on a lot of really big programs — multi-year, multi-million-, multi-billion-dollar programs. [Government] spends a lot of taxpayer money on services and solutions. We need to figure out how to deliver even better solutions for even less investment, and even more quickly. …

This is where one of the synergies comes in: The work GCOM is currently doing with the Arizona Department of Revenue. My view is that it’s going to become a model for tax and revenue agencies of the future. Arizona has decided that they can procure the new integrated tax system sort of module-by-module, and that’s what GCOM has built and is continuing to build. We [can] take that theory and extend it to the services that OnCore provides to its clients, and figure out how to take that same platform and use it to modularize. Government has the opportunity to buy stuff, I like to say, smaller, smarter, faster, cheaper. And that’s a tagline that I had used previously. And I think to me, it really resonates right as a taxpayer. I’d like my governments to do what they said they’re going to do and spend a heck of a lot less money doing it.

How does the transition of Kamal Bherwani back to the board of directors impact the company’s governance and strategic direction?

So Kamal and I have been architecting this transition. And so, [from] my perspective, it’s gonna be really great to have him on the board. It’s really great to have Kamal as a partner in this transition. It’s been a great transition. We’re both aimed at the same thing and having somebody like him back on the board is great, right? As a CEO, I want people on the board who are committed to the same things that I’m committed to. Sure, at the end of the day, our objective is to drive return to shareholders. But our first objective is to serve our clients and their clients, and having somebody on the board who understands that and values that and wants [that is helpful].

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