The HDP Group


When it comes to public sector projects, federal clients rely increasingly on experts with department specific experience to deliver their programs. HDP Group, an Ottawa-based consulting firm, specializes in supporting senior government executives with highly experienced former public servants to fulfill this need.

Founded in April 1993, HDP Group began operating as government was downsizing during ‘Program Review’. HDP recognized the demand for experienced support this created and focused on connecting retired public servants with projects where their skills were most in demand.

HDP was an instant success, and expanded quickly. Over the next decade HDP grew to 90 full-time consultants and successfully delivered many multi-million dollar projects. In the past several years, however, the company shifted its corporate focus to international markets at the expense of federal government clients in Ottawa.

In 2011 Stewart Robertson, Dr. Vijay Jog, and Mike Bradshaw purchased HDP with the intention of returning to its original focus and reinvigorating the company’s federal government market share.

“We made two main changes” explains HDP Principal Dr. Vijay Jog. “One, we reassessed who our consultants were, and ensured we had the very best experienced people working with us. Two, we decided to no longer be passive when it came to obtaining projects. We put together a team whose job is to find projects where we know we can be successful.”

Over the next two years, however, the consulting environment changed significantly.

Government austerity brought considerable downward pressure on rates as consultants competed for fewer contracts. Although the overall volume of work decreased and rates fell, the accelerated departure of senior leaders in the wake of government cutbacks and baby-boomer retirements increased the need for highly experienced, retired senior executives. The Principal’s realized that to remain competitive and take advantage of this demand they had to re-imagine their business model.

In January 2013, HDP began the transition to a virtual office. They maintained their proactive bidding approach while eliminating all but one physical office. Business is now conducted on-line leveraging modern technology.

Abandoning the ‘bricks and mortar’ business model enabled HDP to drastically reduce overhead costs, offer a larger per diem share to consultants and more competitive prices to government clients.

HDP also engaged a new team. Chris Lythgo, who has a strong engineering background in infrastructure, alternative energy and project management joined as VP Western Region. Tim McGrath joined as VP Corporate Development bringing substantial knowledge of federal government needs and requirements. Most recently HDP welcomed Julie Gagnon as VP Legal who has extensive experience in both the private and public sectors.

HDP Group’s history of success combined with their virtual business model positions the company for growth in the changing marketplace. HDP is optimistic their cost advantage and market positioning will make it one of Canada’s top public sector management consultancy firms.

The Benefits of Working with HDP

1. Brand Recognition

“We are well known for our work in several government communities and have a large network of consultants. When consultants seek work, they recognize our brand reputation and turn to us,” explains Principal Stewart Robertson.

In recent years, HDP has become known for its ability to manage the financial aspects of each project. As explained by Julie Gagnon, Vice President of Legal Services:

“The finance component is critical to every project; it is always a major aspect of each. A project can never get away from the financial implications of what is being done and how it is being done. The firm’s recognition for the high quality of its financial expertise is something that cuts across all areas and is an essential component of almost any project we face.”

2. Navigating the Government Contracting Process

Consultants generally prefer to contract to the federal government through consulting firms. Some do so for greater access to projects in their area of expertise. “Our consultants want to share the benefit of their years of experience while earning revenue,” explains Robertson. “We connect the right consultants with the right clients for the mutual benefit of all.” Others may wish to avoid the tedious administration of contracts negotiated directly with the government.

A more significant reason, however, is the challenge of navigating the highly complex federal government contracting process. This can be particularly hard for recently retired public servants who face systemic barriers to contracting with the federal government.

HDP has been in the federal government contracting business for over twenty years. Rita Monette, the company’s Business Manager, has over fifteen years’ experience with HDP in this area, and enjoys a comprehensive knowledge of the government contracting process. HDP leverages this knowledge advantage with its capacity to assist both consultants and government clients selecting the best contracting vehicle to meet their needs. The firm’s large suite of Standing Offers and Supply Arrangements places HDP in an ideal position to provide this service in support of both consultants and clients.

3. Corporate Transparency

HDP has adopted a ‘full disclosure’ approach to attract the best consultants. Consultants are offered full knowledge of the cost of HDP services. They see the savings and increased profits available from the firm’s virtual business approach, and work with confidence that they benefit from the highest share possible of their per-diem.

As explained by industry expert Tim McGrath, “HDP is strives to be as transparent as possible. It’s a critical element of the business approach. We want our consultants to have full knowledge of the contracts we negotiate on their behalf.”

“Consultants are entrepreneurs,” says Gagnon. “They want to know that their work makes a difference, and that they will receive the best recognition for the value for their work.”

Position for Future Growth

HDP expects to see growing demand for retired senior executives and believes they are uniquely positioned to meet this need. They have a large inventory of experienced consultants, good brand recognition, and a large suite of contracting vehicles all supported by a low overhead virtual business model that provides an advantage to both consultants and clients.

“We deliver more than just consulting services; we deliver solutions,” explains Gagnon.

“When you provide meaningful solutions at the executive level, it goes a long way. You increase your credibility, and truly enhance opportunities going forward.”

“We know decision makers in the government appreciate what HDP has to offer,” concludes Robertson. “They want the most experienced consultants at the best price with the least effort, and we can provide exactly that.”

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