Event Calendar

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Monthly Briefing: How to Stand Out - A Guide to M&A Value Creation From the Buyer’s Perspective

Start Date: 2/9/2023 8:30 AM EST
End Date: 2/9/2023 10:15 AM EST

Venue Name: Westwood Country Club

800 Maple Ave E
Vienna, VA  United States  22180

Organization Name: SECAF Events

Julia Nelson
Email: info@secaf.org
Phone: 703-574-1117

Monthly Briefing: How to Stand Out - A Guide to M&A Value Creation From the Buyer’s Perspective 

  • Why do some businesses sell for outsized multiples, while others never transact?
  • Why do some companies receive constant acquisition overtures, while other never get a phone call?

If you have ever wondered what it takes to stand out in the eyes of a buyer, this session is for you. In this panel discussion, you will hear from experienced professionals who invest in differentiated GovCon small businesses. Between them, they have evaluated hundreds of companies, and invested in dozens of high-performing small businesses. They will share insights into what makes some businesses command a premium valuation, while others are passed by. Emphasis will be placed on how you as a business leader can use these insights to inform your strategy, regardless of whether a planned exit is in your future.

Among other topics, we will cover:

  • Valuation myth busting
  • Differentiation– is it in the eye of the beholder?
  • How to cultivate differentiation through strategic planning
  • Things to watch out for on your path

This conversation is tailored to CXOs at any growth stage, whether you are actively contemplating an exit or are merely curious about what it takes to achieve a differentiated outcome. The insights gained from this session will not be limited to just M&A, but will help your business stand out to customers, partners, and potential employees as well.

Moderator:  Meghan Gifford - Vice President of Corporate Development & Strategy, Octo
  • Gil Dussek - CEO, Gunnison Consulting Group
  • Morgan Higgins – Principal, Blue Delta Capital Partners
  • Dave Whitmire – President, Now Vertical Group Inc.


Gilbert Dussek is the Chief Executive Officer of Gunnison Consulting Group, also serving on its Board of Directors. He is an accomplished and experienced executive with a successful track record in the federal contracting industry, delivering complex solutions to Federal and State government clients and partnering to achieve their most important mission objectives. Dussek was appointed as CEO in August 2019 and brings over 18 years of wide-ranging public sector experience in the Federal Civilian, Intelligence Community and State & Local markets, demonstrating proficiency in driving strategic growth, business transformation and operations.

Dussek has significant hands-on business experience as a seasoned operations executive, serving in profit and loss leadership roles of increasing responsibility over the course of his career at both public and private companies. Preceding Gunnison, Dussek spent eight years at SRA International, CSRA Inc. and General Dynamics Information Technology. Prior to that, Dussek worked for Lockheed Martin Corporation supporting the Information Systems & Global Solutions business unit as well as Corporate Headquarters.

Dussek holds a Bachelor of Science from Carnegie Mellon University and Masters of Science from The George Washington University.

Morgan Higgins joined Blue Delta as a Principal in 2019.  She has been very actively involved Blue Delta Portfolio Companies, as well as sourcing new investment opportunities. Blue Delta Capital Partners provides minority equity and partners with founders to help grow their businesses. They have a particular focus on providing value beyond capital including tuck-in M&A ideas, talent, strategy, pipeline opportunities and more. Prior to Blue Delta, Ms. Higgins was an Executive Director at JPMC and one of the GovCon industry’s most prominent and successful commercial bankers, leading the banks efforts, locally and nationally, for the sector.    Ms. Higgins holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from James Madison University.

Dave Whitmire is an American businessman who has lead across the public and private sector. Joining the US Armed Forces at the age of 17, Mr. Whitmire quickly rose through the ranks as both a non-commissioned officer and commissioned officer in the US Special Operations Forces. After assignments throughout the operational continuum in joint and multinational task forces and organizations, Mr. Whitmire entered the private sector to continue leading teams and creating value for shareholders. A lifelong learner, Mr. Whitmire has received graduate degrees in Strategy and Planning, Project Management and Administration, Finance and Marketing, Audit and Assurance, and is completing his PhD in Industrial & Organizational Psychology emphasizing digital transformation and its influence on culture.

Mr. Whitmire rose through the ranks to senior NCO, and ultimately after commissioning as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry to a Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel. He served in the 3rd Infantry Division, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 75th Ranger Regiment, 10th Special Forces Group, and the Joint Special Operations Command. Mr. Whitmire’s occupational specialties included Special Operations engineering, Advanced Demolitions, Special Operations communications, and Special Operations Target Interdiction, and infiltration techniques. Commanding at the team, troop, company, and task force levels Mr. Whitmire completed his military service as a joint mission planner and Joint Interagency Task Force Director at the national level for Special Operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, North Africa, and the Levant. 

Mr. Whitmire has led federal and commercial businesses to grow in both revenue and profitability across various industries and economic environments. He has held business executive jobs across the c-suite as the CEO, COO, and CFO and advised and coached leaders in fortune 50 firms and multinational companies seeking mergers and acquisitions in the United States. He has overseen the evolution of businesses to Employee-owned organizations, privately held enterprises seeking exit, and publicly traded firms seeking to grow organically and through acquisition. In his current role, Mr. Whitmire leads acquisition strategies and integration operations of international services businesses in Latin America, Europe, Canada, and the United States. 

Mr. Whitmire has been recognized in both the military and the private sector. He is a distinguished graduate of non-commissioned officer development schools, the Officer Candidate School, and the Infantry Officer Basic Course. He was inducted into the Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame and has been awarded the National Order of Battlefield Commissioned Officers (Mustang) leadership award, the Robert P. Patterson Leadership award, and the Order of St. Maurice for distinguished character and leadership. He has also been awarded the Legion of Merit, 3 Bronze Stars, 4 Meritorious Service Medals, and multiple awards for exemplary service. He has also been awarded the Combat Infantryman’s badge, the Expert Infantryman’s Badge, Combat Diver, Military Freefall, Master Parachutist, Pathfinder, and Air Assault Badges, Special Forces and Ranger Tabs. He holds four graduate degrees from UNC Chapel Hill (MAC, and MBA), The School for Advanced Military Studies (Strategy & Operational Planning), and Central Michigan University (Administration and Project Management). He is currently completing his PhD in Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

Meghan Gifford is the Vice President of Corporate Development and Strategy at Octo, where she helps drive inorganic and organic growth initiatives. Before Octo, she was a Principal at Wolf Den Associates, the leading strategy and management consulting firm focused on helping federal market participants accelerate their growth. At Wolf Den, she focused on inorganic growth and led engagements across the federal M&A ecosystem.

Since 2014, Meghan has advised dozens of strategic acquirers and financial sponsors on billions of dollars of transaction value across defense, intelligence, civilian, and national security domains. Her federal market expertise is rooted in hands-on experience with strategic planning, capture and proposal, organizational optimization, and other organic growth initiatives.  

Meghan is currrently serving as the Chair of the SECAF Board of Directors.

Meghan is an alumna of Duke University with a B.A. in Public Policy and a Certificate in Markets and Management Studies.
  • $40 Register by 5:00 pm on February 6th
  • $50 After 5:00 pm on February 6th
  • $80 Register by 5:00 pm on February 6th
  • $90 After 5:00 pm on February 6th

***IMPORTANT: SECAF Health Policy for In-Person Events***

Before you register, please review the current SECAF Health Policy. If we can help answer any additional questions, please reach out to info@secaf.org