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March 2015 WIPP National Partner of the Month: Misty Mayes

Monday, March 2, 2015  
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 March 2015 WIPP National Partner of the Month: Misty Mayes

 President and Founder, Management Solutions, LLC - Knoxville, TN


WIPP sat down with March’s WIPP National Partner of the Month, Misty Mayes, to hear a little bit more about her business and her relationship with WIPP.

Tell us a little about your company and its mission.

Management Solutions is a project management/project controls services solutions company.  Our mission is to assist clients deliver their projects on time, on budget, every time. We were founded with the goal of providing superior services to enable successful project management – providing customers with the tools and services needed to meet project cost, schedule, and technical requirements - so this goal is measured by customer project success. If we are generating a sense of excitement about the future potential for continued improvement within our customers’ organizations and with our own employees, then we are successful. We also promote a work environment that recognizes we are part of something larger; we believe in being good stewards in our local community and offer opportunities to our employees to participate in technical organizations and charitable work with a larger cause. This ability to engage and give back strengthens our own sense of family and community, improves our teamwork skills as an organization, and adds strength to our individual and collective desire and ability to resolve problems.


Have you always been an entrepreneur?  If not, what, or who, inspired you to take this leap?

I do feel like I have always had the entrepreneur bug.  My first entrepreneurial effort was when I was a junior in high school.  I partnered with a local graphic designer to create and sell sorority and fraternity apparel/novelties.  I loved the idea of creating something that people would pay for, I loved pursuing the “sell” and I had a huge adrenaline rush each time we launched into another successful market. I also created a company during my freshman year of college and in addition to Management Solutions, I have started three other companies.  Perhaps I’m a serial entrepreneur.

My early post-college professional career involved project controls for companies performing large federal government projects.  Early on, I recognized project management/project controls services as a market niche but couldn’t generate management interest in pursuing it as a business line.  So, in 2002, I founded my own project management/project controls firm, Management Solutions, LLC (MSLLC), with the goal of building a specialty niche firm focused on providing clients with the tools and services needed to meet project cost, schedule, and technical requirements.   I started MSLLC by focusing on the federal project market with which I was most familiar. Federal contracts impose strict project control requirements, and I recognized the need for major federal contractors to augment their project staff in this area to most efficiently and compliantly meet peak project loads. Staffing jobs in this area requires personnel trained in the federal requirements for project management and experienced in specific project controls software systems. This was a key focus of mine when launching the business.


How are you engaged in your community (or state or national scene) in philanthropic or political causes?

In addition to launching a company that excelled in project management/project controls,  Management Solutions was formed with the goal of promoting our communities – employee, professional, business, and the larger humanitarian community embraced by non-profits.  We’ve always promoted a work environment that recognizes we are part of something larger. We believe in being good stewards in our communities. For example, we provide trainers quarterly for the Project Management Institute’s Project Management Professional training classes. We are active in our local and regional business community, including the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce, the East Tennessee Economic Council, and small business associations. I serve on the Tennessee State Legislative Council for Business, and the firm, which formerly served as a protégé, now serves as a mentor for another small business. And, of course, I am proud to serve on the Executive Advisory Board of Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), helping to make a difference for women-owned small business in the federal contracting arena.  In fact, our staff gives back in so many ways and in the last few years we’ve supported The Restoration House of East Tennessee, Mission of Hope, Atanie’s Hope (rebuilding orphanages in Haiti), St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Alzheimer’s Tennessee and American Diabetes Association and Golf Fore Africa and more.  We even created a video Christmas card in lieu of the standard mailer that not only highlighted the giving back spirit of the MSLLC team, but also challenged others to see what they will do in their communities. We are proud to help others in need and strive to make a positive impact on the lives of others.


Have you advocated for an issue or a cause important to you (for example:  called or written to your elected official, spoken publicly, or written an op-ed).

Over the years I have advocated on behalf of small business owners, women-owned business and opportunities for women business owners working in the federal arena. In particular, after the sequestration in 2013 I wrote to U.S. Senators Corkers and Alexander to impress upon them the role they play in the everyday lives of the citizens and small business owners of the state of Tennessee. It is my hope that in the future, when bipartisan lines are deeply divided, that they will remember my story and act in a way that supports the foundation of so many small businesses that are the future of this great country.  Also, I speak at ORNL women-owned small business day each year and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has asked me to speak at two of their national conferences on the importance and impact small businesses can have.  In fact, I will be speaking at a conference next week that DOE is hosting. The DOE asked ORNL for two small business success stories and they asked us to participate.  This will be a great opportunity again to showcase the impact small , woman owned  businesses can have in doing work with the Federal government.


What value/resources has WIPP brought you (training or education, member or political connections/access, awareness of policies that affect your business and its growth, Annual Leadership Meeting, etc.) that have been helpful to you?

My membership and involvement with WIPP (and the broader WIPP community) has been invaluable.  I have been on purpose to utilize the depth and breadth of resources available.  I have sat in on several of the Give me 5 webcasts and found them very helpful for continuous education relative to navigating government contracts and I actually presented for one session on government reporting.  In addition, I serve on the Executive Advisory Board and because of working on this committee; I have developed relationships and partnered with other committee members firms to support new federal contracts.  Lastly, I look forward each month to the monthly newsletter; I love Ann Sullivan’s updates on the legislative agenda and the profiles of other successful women across the country.  However, my favorite experience was the opportunity to join other WIPP members and be a part of the congressional hearing on Entrepreneur…  That experience was instrumental in my developing deeper relationships with national, state and local elected officials.


Click here to view Misty’s full biography. 


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