Tony Poole worked collaboratively with AJW long before he joined the firm in 2013. He oversees AJW’s Document Security practice and provides his expertise across the company. His unique skill set in business strategy, marketing, government acquisition, and project management serves AJW’s clients and the comprehensive work undertaken by the firm.
Here are some insights from Tony of his decade as a partner at AJW.
Q: Tell us about how you were introduced to AJW and what inspired you to join the firm ten years ago?
TP: Long before I joined AJW, Chris Hessler and I worked together on shared clients – advising them on key government acquisition strategies. As we developed a mutual understanding of our respective and complementary skill sets, joining AJW just made sense. The opportunity to work together and grow a small company into a pre-eminent nationally – and internationally – respected consulting firm is something I couldn’t pass up. Today, our extensive client base of technology innovators supported by over sixty staff and key consultants sets the foundation for the next ten years.
Q: How does your Document Security practice fit into the decarbonization work that AJW is known for?
TP: The common themes of technology, government, and business applies to everything we do at AJW, and under these themes, each of my colleagues brings unique expertise to the firm. We are fortunate to have some of the nation’s leading experts in clean energy that are focused on the decarbonization of our world. Similarly, the team that I lead has perhaps the strongest understanding of the identity and secure document market out there.
What it boils down to is that everything we do at AJW serves the battle for the good.
For our energy work, we are fighting against alarming climate developments and are laser-focused on finding solutions that lead to meaningful reductions in carbon to promote environmental stabilization.
Our identity and document security work is focused on addressing frightening technology advancements used by counterfeiters to infiltrate society and undermine the well-being of many nations and their law-abiding citizens. We collaborate with governments to help them stay ahead of counterfeiters, terrorists, and other entities who have ill intent. The work we do helps our client innovators introduce technologies to protect our currency, our citizen documents, and so much more.
Where is the common link? Ultimately, it’s the intersection between governments and the private sector. It’s where we help our clients navigate a procurement process, determine a funding opportunity, or advocate for regulations that support the development of their technology.
Q: You have deep experience in government acquisition, which is a different skill set than AJW’s government affairs work – but crucial to helping AJW’s clients become government clients, or even recipients of government funding. How does your specific experience benefit these clients?
TP: The Federal Government is the largest purchaser of goods and services in the world and follows strict policies provided by the Federal Acquisition Regulations. Similarly, other national and state governments are guided by acquisition regulations. Understanding the ins and outs of these regulations and how to position for and respond to government solicitations is paramount to culminating success in the market.
The common denominator is how industry can benefit from working with government, either as a vendor or as a recipient of government funding such as loan guarantees and grants. My team uses a time-tested process to assist our clients to secure government contracts and government funding – whether they’re security-based or decarbonization-based.
Q: What stands out for you the most in terms of the firm’s evolution and what do you think the next ten years might bring to AJW?
TP: One of the hallmarks of our firm is the personal touch we provide to – and the enduring relationships we have established with – each of our clients. We have maintained this philosophy and focus even as we have grown. While expanding our firm with people that share our passion for excellence has not always been easy, where we are today is truly remarkable and exemplifies the hard work that we have put into our company. The team of staff and consultants that we have assembled is truly excellent and provides a strong foundation for us moving ahead.
I fully anticipate that the next ten years will involve a continuation of our quest to thwart those that are trying to undermine our economies by counterfeiting and identity theft, while finding and introducing workable solutions to solve climate change. How we do this will be impacted by evolving government policies and how to navigate them. I expect that we will grow and strengthen our company, while maintaining our core values. We will remain nimble and client focused, while keeping a close eye on market and policy developments.
Tony also is President of DSA (Document Security Alliance), helping grow the membership to more than 85 government, industry, and academic organizations that are dedicated to securing citizen documents such as drivers licenses, passports, currency, and more. Through DSA he helped launch the No Fake IDs initiative, a public service outreach campaign to educate the public about the dangers of acquiring and using fake IDs. He was an original founder of the Banknote Conference and is an active Advisory Board member of INTERGRAF Currency + Identity and Optical & Digital Document Security, both industry-leading conferences.
When Tony isn’t on the road working with clients or participating in industry events, he is based in Arlington, VA. You can find him at Washington Capitals, Washington Nationals, and JMU Dukes games as their #1 fan, and spending time with his wife, daughters, their circle of friends, and their dog, Luna.