Leadership Team

Jim Ballard, Chief Executive Officer

As the CEO of Preferred Systems Solutions, Inc. (PSS), Mr. Ballard oversees and supports all facets of the PSS organization and sets the strategic direction of the company. Mr. Ballard previously served as President, PSS Federal Services Group after his company, Global Services & Solutions, Inc. (GSS), was acquired by PSS in 2014. GSS’ specialties included program management, continuity of operations, and acquisition support services for the Federal Government.

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Prior to founding GSS, Mr. Ballard served as President of Perot Systems Government Services (PSGS) and was responsible for strategy, management, operations, and business development. Under his leadership, PSGS grew from $57M to $650M in annual revenues.

Mr. Ballard also had a successful Naval career as an Engineering Duty Officer, Submarines, managing a diverse workforce of Civilian and Military personnel. He held both leadership and command roles in Naval shipyards, the Naval Sea Systems Command, and the Program Executive Office (PEO) Submarines. Mr. Ballard earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Master of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School. He is a graduate of Executive Development Programs at the Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University and at the Harvard Business School.

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Susan Day, Vice President of Accounting & Finance

As Senior Vice President of Accounting & Finance, Ms. Day is responsible for the direction of all financial activities for PSS. She manages the accounts receivable and payable departments, coordinates all company financial audits, works hand-in-hand with the CEO on major financial matters, and supports both short- and long-term company-wide financial planning. Additionally, Ms. Day provides financial management consulting to multiple commercial customers within PSS’ Financial Consulting Services Practice.

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Ms. Day has over 12 years of experience in the accounting and financial arenas, supporting companies with both Federal and Commercial clients. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Public/Business Administration from George Mason University.

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Mark Kockler, Chief Financial Officer

As Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Kockler oversees the company’s Finance, Accounting, and Human Resources functional areas.

His primary responsibilities include financial accounting and reporting, budgeting, forecasting, treasury, audit, tax management, business metrics reporting, banking relationships, employee benefits, compliance, and all general accounting functions. He is also directly involved in the identification and qualification of all acquisitions, and plays a key role in diligence, negotiation and structuring, and integration.

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Prior to joining PSS, Mr. Kockler worked at Blackbird Technologies as Vice President of Finance and as Principal Program Finance at BAE Systems. He brings more than 20 years of finance and financial reporting and analysis experience.

Mr. Kockler served as a Captain in the infantry for the U.S. Marine Corps. He holds a Master's Degree in Business Administration from the University of Virginia and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Government from Harvard.

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Kelly Davidson, Vice President of Contracts

Ms. Davidson oversees all facets of contract administration for PSS. She has expert knowledge and experience with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS), Cost Accounting Standards (CAS), and other Federal and Commercial regulations.

Prior to joining PSS, Ms. Davidson served in executive management roles at several small, mid-size, and large corporations.

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She is a Senior Contracts/Procurement Executive with over 25 years of experience with Federal Contracting in the IT arena, including all aspects of cradle-to-grave administration and pricing on CPAF, CPFF, T&M, FFP, and Performance Based Contracting. Ms. Davidson has demonstrated success in obtaining additional funding under Request for Equitable Adjustments, Claims, and Technology refreshes, and has been an effective contributor on transition teams during the corporate acquisition process. Her successes include negotiated extensions to the GSA IT Schedule, and she also developed pricing and negotiated terms and conditions under the GSA PES Schedule, along with numerous follow-on BPA arrangements.

In 1997, through the National Contracts Management Association (NCMA) she obtained her Certified Federal Contracts Manager (CFCM) certificate. That same year, she also received her Procurement and Contracts certificate from the University of Virginia.

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Dean McKendrick, Senior Vice President, National Security Group

As Senior Vice President of the National Security Group (NSG), Mr. McKendrick is responsible for leading NSG in serving the needs of the Intelligence Community (IC). He is an accomplished senior executive with a proven track record as a leader in the IT industry, demonstrating consistent achievement of complex IT initiatives in support of mission-oriented Intelligence, DoD, and Civilian agency objectives.

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Mr. McKendrick brings more than 35 years of experience managing large-scale technology consulting, integration, design, implementation, and management programs. He is also recognized as a key subject matter expert in Big Data Analytics and Insider Threat solutions. Prior to joining PSS, Mr. McKendrick managed a successful IC professional services organization for ManTech International – the Mission, Cyber, and Intelligence Solutions Group (MCIS). He also led an IC consulting services practice at Oracle USA – the National Security Group (NSG).

Mr. McKendrick managed the engineering, integration services, and technical support groups for Unisys. Under his leadership, Mr. McKendrick grew the professional services business three-fold. Prior to Unisys, Mr. McKendrick led teams at STG, DynCorp, and EDS, supporting DoD, Civilian, and IC agencies in disciplines that included network engineering and deployment, systems engineering, network management, software development, and hardware integration.

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Mike Murphy, Senior Vice President, Mission Solutions Group (Intel, Federal, and Defense)

In his role as Senior Vice President of the Mission Solutions Group, Mr. Murphy is responsible for leading and growing the Intel, Federal, and Defense organizations, including orchestrating business development initiatives across all market verticals and respective agencies, as well as identifying capture efforts to pursue a broader range of business prospects with FBI, DHS, GSA, DOJ, DOT, Army, SDDC/TRANSCOM, and Navy/NAVSEA.

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With over 25 years of experience, Mr. Murphy is a proven senior leader of small, mid-sized, and large businesses providing needs-based, results-driven, professional services to Federal Government (IC, Defense, and Civilian agencies) and Commercial clients (Fortune 200).

Prior to joining PSS, Mr. Murphy served as the Vice President of the Intelligence Division at GCS. He also held a number of senior roles in the professional services industry, including executive positions at Booz Allen Hamilton, Spherion, and McClendon. With his successes, Mr. Murphy has acquired an in-depth understanding of the Government acquisition process, as well as expertise in human capital management, program management, strategy and transformation, and training and education.

Mr. Murphy received a Master’s Degree in Information Technology Systems from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Humanities from the University of Maryland. He also served in the U.S. Navy as a Cryptologic Technical Interpretive (Persian Farsi).

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Board of Directors

Jim Ballard

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As the CEO of Preferred Systems Solutions, Inc. (PSS), Mr. Ballard oversees and supports all facets of the PSS organization and sets the strategic direction of the company. Mr. Ballard previously served as President, PSS Federal Services Group after his company, Global Services & Solutions, Inc. (GSS), was acquired by PSS in 2014. GSS’ specialties included program management, continuity of operations, and acquisition support services for the Federal Government. Prior to founding GSS, Mr. Ballard served as President of Perot Systems Government Services (PSGS) and was responsible for strategy, management, operations, and business development. Under his leadership, PSGS grew from $57M to $650M in annual revenues.

Mr. Ballard also had a successful Naval career as an Engineering Duty Officer, Submarines, managing a diverse workforce of Civilian and Military personnel. He held both leadership and command roles in Naval shipyards, the Naval Sea Systems Command, and the Program Executive Office (PEO) Submarines. Mr. Ballard earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Master of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School. He is a graduate of Executive Development Programs at the Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University and at the Harvard Business School.

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Michael Cromwell

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Mr. Cromwell co-founded WWC Capital Group in 1998. He focuses his efforts on companies in the IT and business services markets, where he has been responsible for both investing in growth stage companies as well as providing merger and acquisition advisory services. He represents WWC Capital on the Boards of BrightDoor Systems, Social Solutions, Catalyst IT Services, and Preferred Systems Solutions. Mr. Cromwell was previously on the Boards of Perficient and Lighthammer, which was sold to SAP, as well as other firms in the IT market. 

Prior to founding WWC, Mr. Cromwell’s experience combined substantial operating and financial management responsibility with significant visible success in executing an acquisition program of over 20 transactions and raising the capital to fund such transactions. He has been a Senior Executive with a major systems integrator, an Entrepreneur with a small software firm, and an Attorney in a large regional law firm. In his successful tenure as a Senior Operating and Financial Manager in the IT market, Mr. Cromwell worked extensively with services and enterprise software companies in the Government and commercial sectors. He has invested in IT companies and helped them to achieve merger and acquisition goals. He has advised on over $1B transactions. Mr. Cromwell has worked extensively in those segments of the IT markets that place a premium on strategic insight, including network security, healthcare information, transaction processing, and industrial data collection and control.

Mr. Cromwell received his BA degree from Yale University and his JD from Georgetown University. He is married with two children and lives in Potomac, Maryland.

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Mark J. Carmen

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Mark J. Carmen is a Managing Partner of CM Equity Partners, LP. Mark is focused on the aerospace and defense, specialty industrial and business services industries. Mr. Carmen is Chairman of the Board of Graco Supply & Integrated Services, a CMEP portfolio company. He was also previously a Board Member at Universal Weather & Aviation, Inc. (2009 to 2015) and a Board Member of Air Culinaire Worldwide, LLC (2011 to 2015).

As President of Universal Weather & Aviation Inc. (2009 to 2013) (a global company with 1,750+ employees providing business jet owners and operators international trip support services, ground handling, fuel, and software solutions), Mr. Carmen guided the acquisition and integration of Air Chef (rebranded Air Culinaire Worldwide), a general aviation catering business, identified prospective JV partners in India and negotiated an agreement, rationalized non-core and underperforming businesses, and created a new IT roadmap, all while growing Air Culinaire revenues 13% in a down market. Mr. Carmen created a pricing group, which developed and implemented a new dynamic fuel pricing strategy that increased gross profit 13% in the first six months. He made additional contributions by driving operational consistency, mitigating risks and building a stronger corporate culture.

In his previous position as Managing Director, Private Equity at Macquarie Capital Funds, Inc., the private equity arm of the Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG), Mr. Carmen led the private equity investment in Sentient Flight Group, a leader in private jet membership card programs, on-demand charters and fuel management. In this role he sourced and executed the Sentient complex carve-out acquisition, executed add-on acquisitions and worked on several Macquarie portfolio assets, including several restructurings.

Prior to Macquarie, Mr. Carmen had a 13-year career with Jefferies & Company, Inc. in New York City, a global investment bank and subsidiary of Leucadia National Corporation (NYSE: LUK), where he held positions as Managing Director Investment Banking, Jefferies Quarterdeck; Co-head of Aerospace, Defense & IT Services Group. In these roles he led numerous investment banking transactions across aerospace, defense, homeland security and IT services sectors; sourced and executed IPOs, follow-on equity offerings, high yield debt offerings, private placements, mergers and acquisitions and other financial advisory services; and structured and closed numerous complex and precedent setting transactions.

Mark received his MBA at Columbia University Graduate School of Business and his BA from Brandeis University.

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Peter M. Schulte

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Peter M. Schulte is a Managing Partner and a co-founder of CM Equity Partners. Mr. Schulte’s prior experience includes corporate public and private debt and equity financing and M&A at Salomon Brothers Inc. Mr. Schulte began his professional career in large systems marketing at IBM’s Data Processing Division.

Mr. Schulte has established successful publicly traded companies, ICF International (NASDAQ: ICFI) and ATS Corporation (formerly AMEX: ATSC), and serves as a director of ICF International. Mr. Schulte also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of several companies in which CMEP has an investment position, including The Level Playing Field, Corp., RGS Associates, Inc., Citizant, Inc., Preferred Systems Solutions, Inc., Graco Supply and Integrated Services and Systems Planning & Analysis. Inc.

Mr. Schulte is a graduate of Harvard College (AB) and holds a Master’s degree in Public and Private Management (MPPM) from Yale University. Mr. Schulte serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations, including Lasell College and the Rainforest Alliance. He is a former member of the boards of Marymount School in New York City, Deerfield Academy, Center for Business and the Environment at Yale University and the New York League of Conservation Voters.

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James P. Allen

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Mr. Allen has worked for 30 years as a Senior Financial Executive in the aerospace and defense and Federal Government technology services industry. He currently serves on the Boards of both private and public companies and is currently a Director and Audit Committee Chairman for NCI, Inc. He also provides financial, general management, and mergers and acquisitions advisory services to a number of Government contractors. He has served as the CFO of three publicly-traded companies in the Federal IT services sector, most recently leading the successful IPO of Veridian Corporation in June 2002. His experience covers a broad range of public and private financing activities, extensive work in investor relations, and a 20-year history of mergers and acquisitions.

Significant mergers and acquisitions activities include the purchase of Signal Corporation by Veridian in September 2002, the sale of GRC International to AT&T in March 2000, the sale of Veridian Corporation to General Dynamics Corporation in August 2003 and, most recently, the sale of QSS Group to Perot Systems in 2007. Mr. Allen received his BS and MBA from the University of Maryland and has been a CPA since 1974. He resides in Vienna, Virginia with his wife Rebecca.

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Richard F. Conway

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Mr. Conway has been a Managing Member of Lampe, Conway & Co. LLC, an investment firm, since its founding in October 1999. From January 1998 until October 1999, Mr. Conway was a Senior Research Analyst at Lone Star Securities Fund, a fund that invested primarily in the securities of real estate companies. From July 1994 until January 1998, Mr. Conway was a Vice President of Smith Management Company, a private investment firm. Mr. Conway has previously served as a Director of two public companies: Inland Resources, Inc. from 1995 until 1998 and Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. from 1996 until 1998. Mr. Conway received a BA degree from Harvard College and a MBA degree from Yale University.

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Scott Goss (Advisor to BOD)

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Mr. Goss has more than 25 years of experience in key leadership positions in the government contracting services industry. He previously served as President and CEO of Preferred Systems Solutions, Inc. (PSS) where he was responsible for all facets of the PSS organization and setting the strategic direction of the company. During this time the company transitioned into one of the leading mid-size firms recognized for providing world class leading edge technology services and acquisition management support. During his leadership of PSS, Mr. Goss made significant improvements to the corporate infrastructure, while strengthening PSS’ bottom line through six acquisitions and organic growth.

Prior to joining PSS, Mr. Goss was a consultant to various companies ranging in size from $5M to over $1B in the areas of Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Finance, Accounting, Operations, and Business Development. As the Executive Vice President of Dataline, Inc., Mr. Goss established the Northern Virginia office, adding several new customers, including the Department of Interior (DOI), Air Force, Navy, and Energy. Prior to Dataline, He was Vice President and General Manager at General Dynamics following its acquisition of Veridian Corporation. He also served as Senior Vice President of Veridian Corporation and President of Veridian Corporation’s IT Services Division (VITS). During his tenure as President of VITS, Mr. Goss grew the company to annual revenues of $315M and an IT services staff of 1,900. Prior to VITS, Mr. Goss served as CFO and CIO at SIGNAL Corporation and was instrumental in leading the acquisition of SIGNAL Corporation to Veridian.

In addition to his 25 years of experience, Mr. Goss has authored several articles related to the stock market, back office automation, budgeting, and various NYSE and NASDAQ trading companies. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and holds an MBA in Accounting and a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and Business Administration from American University.

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