Tech Consulting Firm Bayen Group Weighs in on the Value of Mentorship
Since the Bayen Group reserved the last open slot with Burns & McDonnell at a 2019 small business matchmaking event in Pasadena, California, its growth has accelerated. Within months of meeting with Burns & McDonnell, the technology consulting firm, which specializes in cybersecurity and business systems integration, signed a contract to streamline an electrical distribution program for San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E). The Bayen Group’s quick, quality work with SDG&E won the company two more large projects over subsequent years, resulting in being named as a 2022 Business Partner of the Year.
Together By Design sat down with Jonathan Leffert, California regional director for 1898 & Co., a part of Burns & McDonnell; Huy Nguyen, president and managing partner, Bayen Group; and Greg Saliba, vice president and managing partner of Bayen Group; to discuss what has made their partnership successful and how they are sustaining their relationship over the long term.
What are the primary reasons the partnership between Bayen Group and Burns & McDonnell has been so successful?
Greg Saliba: One reason is both companies have competent people that are very like-minded and have a similar approach to business. We are very focused on the client’s needs and making sure we deliver something that they're going to be happy and satisfied with. And we always focus on the highest ethical standards in operating with integrity.
Huy Nguyen: Yes, both companies are business-first and solution-oriented. We both partner with our clients to bring the best out of both sides. Burns & McDonnell is like an older sibling to us. They’re really protective of us and have gone to bat for us in a lot of negotiations. They are a mentor company and that works out well for everyone.
Jonathan Leffert: Like us, Bayen Group is really focused on client satisfaction and they look at me as their client. It’s the prime’s job to look after our small business partners and they really do value the relationship. We continually discuss how best to partner with each other and with other entities as well. They always deliver and always present themselves as part of our team. They always have a team mentality. That’s what makes things work really well.
What are the greatest benefits your company has realized from this partnership?
GS: We've learned a lot from Burns & McDonnell. The utility and construction industry was new to us, so we’ve expanded our capabilities. It was also reaffirming for us to find out that a large company like Burns & McDonnell uses a very similar process to ours. It’s been a great benefit to see that the process that we've been using in other industries scales really well.
HN: Burns & McDonnell gave us automatic name recognition. When you partner with someone well-established in an industry that’s always helpful. Their knowledge and experience means we’re always protected in anything we're trying to do. They make sure we’re negotiating good payment terms and they have great account managers to keep the relationships going with our clients. They allow us a seat at the table, which is a big advantage for us.
JL: One of the biggest benefits is the impact of us telling the story of our partnership to other people. There are other small businesses and prime contractors that want meaningful relationships, like the seemingly effortless one we have with Bayen. We hope other small and diverse businesses will hear our story and say: “I could do that.” Telling our story could create a ripple effect that partnerships like ours are possible if you can find the right match.
What should partner companies do to maintain a successful, long-term relationship?
GS: To protect our relationship with the Burns & McDonnell team, we must remain super flexible with what we need to do to deliver so that the client is satisfied. There needs to be a willingness to focus on the partnership to make sure it’s healthy. We talk a lot with Burns & McDonnell and our current clients. We talk all the time about strategy and how expectations will be met. And we’re doing a lot of active business development to source new clients together.
JL: Our long-term relationship with Bayen and other partners is strengthened by recognizing their exceptional work. In Bayen’s case they were recently recognized as a Partner of the Year at our inaugural Empowering Diverse Partnerships Awards ceremony. This helps get their story out there and assists in expanding their professional network. We continue to support supplier diversity as an organization and promote diverse businesses throughout many industries. We share the lessons learned with our partner companies and clients.
Are there any additional takeaways from your successful partnership that other companies can learn from?
HN: You must establish trust and transparency. We meet weekly and talk about everything from projects that are up and running to potential projects that we can work on together. We don't just sit and wait like a baby bird for them to feed us. We’re here to work hard for our bigger partner and we will bring opportunities to the table as well. We see this as a growth opportunity. We would never have had the chance to be in this arena without our partner, so we always look to expand our relationship to work with other account managers at Burns & McDonnell in addition to the person we started with. We want to work hard for the entire company. We have to bring something to the table that is innovative and we have to turn projects around faster. It’s a give-and-take relationship and that’s what makes this work.
JL: For us, Bayen Group is like a member of the Burns & McDonnell family. To keep a long-lasting partnership, it helps to create meaningful connections beyond work that can strengthen this relationship. We care about what’s going on in the lives of the people sitting across from us and we maneuver our business dealings around that. Partnerships endure when people care about people and provide excellent and high-quality service to one another.
This post is part of Together By Design, a quarterly business diversity newsletter published by Burns & McDonnell to advance a community of inclusion. This newsletter features stories of great opportunity, leaders who bring out the best in others, innovative approaches, and diverse perspectives that shape the business community and the world at large.