Chantilly company acquires key business segment from Booz Allen

Chantilly-based contractor System High Corp. is expanding its technology expertise with its purchase of a Booz Allen Hamilton Corp. (NYSE: BAH) business segment that services the Missile Defense Agency (MDA). 

The deal, which closed Dec. 31, would allow System High to acquire the McLean company’s Technical, Engineering, Advisory, and Management Support (TEAMS) business, which includes 110 employees — many based in Huntsville, Alabama — with a history of contract work with the MDA. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

System High — which offers a range of engineering, information technology, cybersecurity, security and intelligence offerings, among other services — has subcontracted with Booz Allen on past work with the MDA, including on Research, Development, and Acquisition (RDA) programs.

President and CEO Rob Howe, said in a statement that the acquisition “is just one of the initiatives being executed to expand our impact to preserve national security, and MDA success is critical for sustaining this objective.”

Talks for the acquisition began in August, said System High Chairman Jason Rigoli, a partner at Chevy Chase government technology investment firm Enlightenment Capital, which has been an investor in the company since January 2019.

“The scope of the work and the 200-plus professionals that support the MDA TEAMS programs align well with System High’s service offering, including active support of cyber, intelligence, data-loss prevention and security missions,” Rigoli said. 

Booz Allen will continue to support MDA operations in the Huntsville area beyond any other portfolio changes that result from the deal, according to Lincoln Hudson, Booz Allen’s senior vice president overseeing defense programs in the company’s Huntsville office.

“We remain fully committed to MDA’s mission and to Huntsville, where we will continue to hire and develop talent,” he said.

That adds to System High’s other presence in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It also follows significant changes to its leadership roster, primarily in 2019, including a new president in Rob Howe, chief operating officer in Sarah Lord, chief financial officer in Allen Martirossien, vice president of strategic growth in Doug Kumbalek and board member in former Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work.

The company was launched in 2005 by CEO Kirk Blubaugh and four other partners, with the National Reconnaissance Office as its primary customer. The company grew to 200 employees by 2015, 160 in the region, thanks in part to a big contract win four years prior from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Its local headcount grew to 250 by 2019, according to Washington Business Journal research.