Before coming to MPS, Maria served as a political appointee in President Obama’s Administration. She started out at the White House in the Office of Presidential Personnel.
From there she went on to work in a variety of positions at the U.S. Department of State. As Deputy White House Liaison, she supported the Secretary’s leadership, helping manage the relationships of all political appointees. In the office of Commercial and Business Affairs, Maria provided strategic planning support to the Special Representative. She also served as a Foreign Affairs Officer in the U.S. Mission to the Organization of American States, where she represented U.S. interests on a multilateral stage.
Maria started her professional career as a Geometry teacher with Teach for America in Atlanta, Georgia. She received a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law and is admitted to the Texas Bar. She also holds a B.B.A. in Finance and B.A. in French from the University of Texas at Austin.
James Feinstein comes to MPS after serving at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the U.S. Government’s Development Finance Institution. As a Special Assistant in the Office of the President he helped advance American foreign policy and increase global economic stability by encouraging private sector investment into emerging markets. Prior to this he worked on Energy, Environment and Transportation policy for Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota.
James earned a B.A. from Luther College in Decorah, IA and served as a Fulbright Scholar in Thailand where he conducted research on voter motivation and taught English. He is currently pursuing his Master’s degree in Public Policy at Georgetown University. In his spare time James enjoys outdoor activities, reading and traveling.
Last week four intrepid MPS staffers – Zully Barrientos, Ira Casteel, Davin Hattaway, and Sarah Miles – took part in an unusual class at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in DC. “Acting for Business Professionals,” taught by Dan Crane, the Resident Teaching Artist, is designed to help participants articulate and deliver their message with maximum effectiveness.
Pauses, gestures, eye contact, physical presence in the room, intonation, and word choice are just some of the elements they dissected and practiced. Ira’s big takeaway was the presentation preparation. “Breaking up the text in logical beats and practicing out loud while walking around the room will be my new go-to method. Each punctuation mark warrants a physical turn, which forces you to slow down and truly notice pauses in your text.” For Davin, it was the realization that consultants and actors are essentially striving for the same thing. “Both professions need to faithfully represent complex information in a way that’s meaningful and impactful. The tools they provided will give me a new perspective as I consider my own presentations.”
MPS has been a proud sponsor of the Shakespeare Theatre Company since 2009.
MPS’s Quality Management System (QMS) was recently certified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) – internationally recognized as the gold standard for quality management. ISO-9001-2008 certification means that MPS maintains a QMS that adheres to the best practices as prescribed by ISO.
The requirements for ISO certification are stringent, and the process arduous, culminating in an intense 3-day audit. According to MPS staffer Wes Cronkite, who, along with Hoor Jangda, worked for over a year to prepare for the certification, “Many firms bring in external resources to obtain an ISO certification. At MPS we did it in-house, working with our internal management team. Our firm’s commitment to a quality, process-based corporate structure has long been in place so we decided to document and translate what we were already doing in a manner which enabled us to gain the certification. We simply built on our existing strategy and structure.”
The ISO certification ensures that quality permeates our organization at all levels: from hiring and performance management, to business development and service offerings, all the way through to client delivery and follow-through. At MPS we are proud of our Quality Management System, which is designed to fulfill our firm’s commitment to public service.
Shannon McGuire recently received her Master’s in Public Administration, with a concentration in nonprofit management, from The George Washington University (GWU). For her capstone project, she conducted research on women in the U.S. Coast Guard, specifically around the issue of low retention and attrition.
Prior to MPS, she was a graduate intern at Capitol Hill Partners, a consulting firm where she worked to provide effective services and targeted advocacy on behalf of nonprofit clients. In addition, Shannon volunteered at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, a holistic cancer healing nonprofit that provides yoga, cooking, and art classes for individuals affected by cancer.
During her undergraduate years (she has a B.A. in Human Services, also from GWU), Shannon worked at several nonprofits in the Washington, DC area, taking on development and management roles. Her professional interests include health issues, poverty alleviation, social enterprises, and nonprofit development. In her spare time, Shannon enjoys playing rugby, painting pottery, and volunteering in her local community.
Brad McCandless, the newest member of MPS’ PACE Cohort 11, got his initial consulting experience at the grassroots consulting firm, 270 Strategies, in Chicago, where he worked on strategy for political and nonprofit groups.
After earning his B.A. in Political Science and International Studies from Northwestern University, Brad came to DC to work at the Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategic advisory firm, where he specialized in commercial diplomacy, and at the National Democratic Institute, focusing on elections. Previously, he worked at the Council on Foreign Relations, doing research geared toward political and economic reform in the Middle East and North Africa.
At MPS, Brad is looking forward to developing strategies for clients and partners to bring about meaningful organizational change. Outside the firm, he enjoys playing squash, baseball, and all things outdoors, along with keeping up with contemporary film.
Sarah Dawn Miller holds an M.A. in International Relations with concentrations in International Economics and Middle East Studies from the Johns Hopkins University’s School for Advanced International Studies. For her graduate thesis, she examined Golda Meir’s manipulation of the gender binary during her tenure as Prime Minister of Israel. Sarah also completed a B.A. in French, with minors in Arabic, intelligence and security studies, and theatre, from the University of Mississippi, where she studied the perceptions of Muslims, Christians, and the non-religious in Mississippi, France, and Jordan.
Prior to joining MPS, Sarah was a research analyst with CEB, where she conducted extensive research on the management of corporate accounting functions in Fortune 500 companies. Sarah enjoys reading, cooking, and playing with her two cats, Nina and Professor Pip.
M Powered Strategies was awarded a contract for the General Service Administration’s (GSA) IT Schedule 70, also known as “IT-70”. IT-70 provides federal, state, and local customer agencies with the tools and expertise needed to shorten procurement cycles, ensure compliance, and obtain the best value for innovative technology products, services, and solutions. MPS is one of the newest of the 4,600 pre-vetted vendors that have access to bid government work through this vehicle.
While IT-70 offers a wide variety of products and services to the government, MPS has been approved to offer our IT Professional Services, Agile Delivery Services, as well as our Health IT Services as a prime contractor. Our experience providing these services both as prime and subcontractors across the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Health and Human Services, the International Trade Administration, and Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board for the past twelve years has aligned MPS to the services procured through IT-70.
“The government has demonstrated the viability and success these federal schedules have in creating fair competition and competitive prices,” says MPS President Kendall Lott. “For a small company, this schedule provides essential access to our clients and future clients for the services we provide. We look forward to continuing to empower our clients at IT organizations to drive organizational effectiveness, structure efficient development processes, and enable the rapid deployment of technology solutions.”
MPS is always looking for partners aligned to our mission of serving, changing, and empowering the government. If you are interested in learning more about our services offered on IT-70 or partnering with MPS, please email Allison Primack, Sales Operations Manager (email@example.com).
MPS is pleased to have one of our former Business Development Associates back on the team. Ira Casteel has an MA in International Development from American University’s School of International Service, and earned her MBA from American University’s Kogod School of Business earlier this year. She has consulted with startups in Israel and interned at American Councils, an international education nonprofit.
Prior to grad school, Ira worked at Apple and AT&T. She spent two years as an AmeriCorps volunteer, working first with the Red Cross in Oregon and then at a Conflict Resolution Center in Maryland.
Originally from Ukraine, Ira (pron. “EAR-ah”) speaks Russian, Ukrainian and Polish. She enjoys hiking, biking, camping and traveling.
A world traveler and published writer, Collin Furth recently joined MPS’ PACE Cohort 11 to begin his career in consulting. He hails from an eclectic background in literature, law and sales, that has coalesced into a love of client-facing work in the federal IT space. After earning a B.A. in English and Writing from Gettysburg College in 2014, Collin worked at a real estate law firm in New Jersey. More recently, he was an account representative at Carahsoft, an IT firm for the Federal Government.
In his spare time he pursues a number of artistic and athletic endeavors, including playing the guitar (mostly blues), doing gymnastics, and traveling to places such as Greece and New Zealand. Collin looks forward to working with the MPS team, to serve, change, and empower.