Fostering a Culture of Excellence: Margarita Howard’s Management Philosophy at HX5

divya
5 min readFeb 15, 2024

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Margarita Howard’s, the sole owner and CEO/president of HX5 since its inception in 2004, embodies a management philosophy that seamlessly blends leadership with a steadfast commitment to excellence. Her approach has propelled the company, headquartered in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, to be a highly successful small business within the professional services field of government contracting. She serves in conjunction with other leaders of woman-owned companies to contribute to the building of a foundation that’s setting a new standard for leadership in a field historically dominated by men.

At the core of HX5’s accomplishments lies a culture deeply rooted in excellence, a principle Howard champions tirelessly. According to Howard, one secret to the company’s incredible accomplishments is that she knew “how to compete and build a good team.”

She emphasizes the symbiotic relationship between leadership and team dynamics. “At the end of the day, our great management and leadership team makes us successful,” says Margarita Howard. This focus on encouraging a supportive and inclusive environment has been instrumental in the company’s ability to innovate and excel in its projects.

For Howard, who holds Master of Public Administration and Bachelor of Arts degrees, promoting quality is an all-encompassing endeavor. It begins with setting a clear vision that resonates with the company’s values and goals and extends to empowering employees to reach their full potential. “You have to commit to a lot of hard work, and experience is very important. It just doesn’t happen,” she says.

“We were very selective of people that we chose for our management team,” Howard adds. “And really, I could not be more proud of the team that we have. Many of them have been with us for 10 years or so. We just have a highly dedicated, experienced management team. We could not do what we do without them.”

The Role of Culture in Modern Business Success

Workplace culture holds significant importance in 2024 due to its impact on employee productivity and the overall achievements of an organization. A positive workplace culture bolsters an environment where employees feel valued and engaged, leading to higher job satisfaction and reduced turnover rates. It encourages collaboration, innovation, and efficiency, improving performance and competitive advantage.

Moreover, in a time marked by rapid technological advancements and changing work dynamics, such as remote and hybrid work models, a strong culture helps maintain cohesion. It aligns employees with the organization’s goals and values. As companies navigate the challenges and opportunities of the modern business landscape, the role of workplace culture in attracting and retaining talent, championing diversity and inclusion, and adapting to change cannot be overstated.

To boost this positive culture, CEOs like Howard focus on clear communication, setting high standards, and empowering their staff. This involves creating a vision that aligns with the company’s goals and actively engaging with employees to ensure they have the resources and support needed to excel in their roles. Promoting diversity and inclusion are key strategies contributing to a thriving workplace.

By prioritizing these values, HX5 has achieved significant business milestones and contributed to advancing the standards of the government contracting industry.

HX5 Navigates the Complex Contracting Landscape

Understanding the nuances between prime contracts and subcontracts is crucial in government contracting. A service-disabled veteran, Howard, through HX5, balances prime contracts, which entail direct dealings with the government and encompass the overall responsibility of project completion, and subcontracts, where the prime contractor delegates portions of the work to other companies.

From the outset, Margarita Howard emphasized that the company would maintain highly competitive rates and benefits, distinguishing itself from other small businesses that become reliant on sole sourcing. She’s consistently aimed to ensure the enterprise’s competitiveness.

“We knew the investments that we had to make to be successful, to compete and not wait on those sole sources, and be attractive to the government and large businesses to work with us,” says Howard. “And both highly paid off. Really, it’s a mix. We have won some very large prime contracts. And we have large businesses as our subcontractors. We’re a very good subcontractor as well.” And in fact, the company has been recognized multiple times by large enterprises for its successful performance as a subcontractor. “We have been a very good teaming partner for those large businesses,” says Howard.

HX5 operates in 34 states and 90 government locations. Under Howard’s stewardship, the company has undertaken projects that span the gamut from engineering and technical services to research and development, including some very large government contracts, which account for HX5 currently having over 1,000 employees.

Her ability to lead her team through these complex and critical projects, each marked by the company’s signature merit, underscores her expertise and dedication to contributing meaningfully to national defense and security.

Margarita Howard: Breaking Barriers

Howard has also been an inspiration in her field. She says, “It’s rewarding to see that women are making significant strides in the government contracting industry, over the years, breaking barriers and more often assuming leadership roles in this industry and within government agencies that we work with.”

Despite progress, the path to leadership for women, especially in sectors like defense contracting, still needs to be solved. The statistics are telling: As of 2021, women held 31% of senior management roles globally, with a marked decrease as positions ascend the corporate ladder, showing 23% in executive roles, according to global nonprofit Catalyst.

According to Catalyst, women in the U.S. and Canada comprise 24% of the C-suite, highlighting the barriers women face in reaching the highest echelons of corporate America.

The landscape is even more challenging in the defense sector, where women’s representation has been historically low compared to male counterparts. Despite women constituting 46.8% of the United States labor force, top defense contractors have workforces that are less than a quarter female, according to Inkstick Media’s findings. This disparity underscores the importance of Howard’s achievements and the example she sets for aspiring women leaders in the industry.

But there is hope on the horizon. At NASA, many women are in higher leadership positions, such as center directors. Margarita Howard says, “NASA has done a good job of promoting women.”

Originally Published By TYCOONSTORY MEDIA

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