These CEO City Slickers Have Their Share of Success- GovDelivery

For the last 13 years, the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) has honored 100 of the fastest growing inner city companies and this year, seven Vistage members made the list.  Each of their companies succeeded in growing at least 15% from 2005-2009, but expanding profits weren’t the only things they had in common.  The CEOs honored also invested in a positive internal culture, and showed dedication to the customer experience and integrity of their product.

2009 Revenues: $9.3 million

5-year Annual Growth Rate: 38%

ICIC Ranking: 38th

Location: St. Paul, MN

Industry: Digital Communication Software Platform for Governments

GovDelivery was built with a laser-like focus on creating value for its customers and a passionate belief that if they did this well, they would grow at the same time.  With this philosophy, they have not only grown 38% in the last five years, they have also had a positive impact on the communities around them.

“We’re lucky to be able to serve government because citizens are the ultimate customers,” CEO Scott Burns.

GovDelivery continually supports its client base by making it easier for clients to communicate effectively with the public at critical times. When disasters hit, like the recent tornadoes in Minneapolis, GovDelivery helps their customers use the its platform to respond quickly to the public.  They also support the community of government employees through scholarships, training, and the ownership and maintenance of the largest social network for government workers called GovLoop.

“Scott believes in the value of cities as potential hotbeds of innovation and growth.  He also has a continuous focus on developing the talent underneath him because it’s the people of the organization who realize the strategy,” Barry Johnson, Scott’s Vistage Chair.

As the economy faltered and local governments started to lose money, GovDelivery had to change their strategy to pull forward investment in new technology.  They had to prove to their customers that the GovDelivery platform would not only make them more efficient, but would also save them money.  They developed the “Real Value Calculator,” which is prominently displayed on their website, to give potential clients an idea of approximate savings.  This adaptability as well as team development has helped foster GovDelivery’s exponential growth.

“We are growing so fast that there are a lot of decisions that need to be made every day.  We rely on teammates to be thinking creatively all the time of how to solve problems for our customers.  They are people who make good decisions on their own without waiting for someone to walk them to the right answer,” Scott Burns.

Scott has a dynamic and effective team and he credits Vistage in providing the tools and support to recruit and further develop the talent underneath him.

“Vistage has helped me in a number of cases.  In one instance, I was making a key hire—the most senior person GovDelivery had ever hired—and my group helped me think through the decision; then they motivated me to pull the trigger…  In another instance, I heard a speaker at a Vistage meeting that did a lot of work on customer focus.  We do this well, but I was able to bring him in to show our people how we could do this even better… Joining Vistage was an experiment, and it’s turned out to be a good one.”


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