ICF International

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Public corporation
Russell 2000 Component
IndustryProfessional services
HeadquartersFairfax, Virginia
Area served
Key people
Sudhakar Kesavan (CEO and Chairman)
John Wasson (President and COO)
James Morgan (CFO)
ServicesStrategic planning, research, program management, business process management, data analytics, technology, cybersecurity, marketing strategy and engagement marketing
RevenueUS $1.19 billion (2016)[1]
Number of employees
5,000 (2016)[2]

ICF International, Inc. is a global consulting and technology services company. It is headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, with approximately 5,000 employees working in more than 65 offices around the globe. It provides strategic planning, research, program management, business process management, data analytics, technology, cybersecurity, marketing strategy and engagement marketing services, particularly in the areas of government, energy, environment, infrastructure, transportation, health, education, social programs, public safety and security, consumer and financial markets.

Founded in 1969, ICF initially focused on government contracts in the United States. In the 2000s, it grew its emphasis on commercial and international clients while expanding its digital and tech services. As of 2016, ICF revenues reached US $1.19 billion, and Forbes included the company on its 2017 lists of the best midsize companies in the U.S. and best management consulting firms.


1969–2006: Early history[edit]

ICF was founded in 1969 as the Inner City Fund.[3] Its first president was Clarence "Lucky" Lester, a Tuskegee Airman, who was joined by three U.S. Department of Defense analysts.[3] As a venture capital firm, Inner City Fund sought to finance and help minority-owned businesses win government contracts.[4]

The company reorganized as a consulting firm and renamed itself ICF Incorporated. The firm switched gears from venture capital to consulting on energy issues for U.S. federal agencies, which was the company's main focus throughout the 1970s and into the 1980s.[4][5] ICF acquired Kaiser Engineering in 1988 and went public in 1989.[4] The combined company became known as ICF Kaiser.[6] Under this banner, the company worked in consulting, engineering and construction services.[7] ICF and Kaiser split in 1999 when an investment group bought the consulting business for about $70 million.[8] In 2006, the consultancy was renamed ICF International and in September that year, the company went public, trading on the NASDAQ as ICFI.[9] The company received criticism of its management of the Road Home program in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.[10] In an article in The Washington Post, the company said it had addressed problems raised in those criticisms, and that state and federal fraud-prevention rules were in flux and made the grants administration process more time-consuming.[11] The company later supported the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts for the State of New Jersey.[12]

2007–present: Expansion of commercial work[edit]

Beginning in the 2000s, ICF grew in size and scope through a series of acquisitions. These acquisitions expanded the services offered by ICF and moved the traditional government contractor more into the commercial space.[13] In 2007, federal, state and local government contracts generated 92 percent of company revenues.[13] Commercial work, which accounted for 6 percent of revenues in 2007, grew to 20 percent of revenues by 2011.[13] By the end of 2016, commercial work accounted for 35 percent of revenues.[14]

About the same time ICF began expanding into commercial work, it also targeted international business as a way to grow.[13] ICF acquired London-based GHK Holding Limited, a consulting agency working with government and commercial clients, in 2012.[13] In 2014, it expanded its European presence with the acquisition of Mostra S.A. in Belgium.[15] Through GHK and ICF Mostra, the company has worked with the European Commission.[16][17]

ICF's biggest move came in 2014, when the firm acquired advertising agency Olson for $295 million.[18] The company's work includes campaigns for Belize;[19] Skittles, whose "Marshawn Lynch’s Skittles Press Conference" was named PRWeek's Product Brand Development Campaign of the Year in 2016;[20] and Puppy Bowl sponsor Bissell.[21] In 2016, ICF created ICF Olson, a division of marketing, digital, public relations, loyalty and customer relations management and social media.[18] In addition to Olson, the new division absorbed other ICF acquisitions, including digital service firm Ironworks and engagement house CityTech.[18]

ICF International rebranded as ICF in 2016.[22]

ICF/ICF Olson experienced high growth in its public relations and digital business, PRWeek reported in 2017.[23] According to PRWeek, U.S. revenues increased 9.5 percent to $131.7 million and global revenues were up 8.7 percent to $155.5 million from 2015 to 2016.[23]

2019 - ICF NEXT[edit]

ICF Launches ICF NEXT as a subsidiary of ICF, becomes one of the top 50 independent agency in the world led by former IBM ix cofounder John Armstrong.

Operations and services[edit]

ICF is publicly traded on the NASDAQ. ICF is headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia.[24] As of year-end 2016, ICF employed around 5,000 workers in 55 regional offices throughout the U.S. and 10 offices in other countries, including Belgium, Canada, China, India and the United Kingdom.[25] Sudhakar Kesavan is chairman and chief executive officer.[26][27] John Wasson is president and chief operating officer. James Morgan is chief financial officer.[27][28]

The company provides management, technology and policy consulting, cybersecurity and implementation services in the following markets: government, energy, environment, infrastructure, transportation, health, education, social programs, public safety and security, consumer and financial.[29][30][31] ICF initially focused on federal government consulting contracts in energy and the environment.[4] While it continues to work in those areas, the company expanded its commercial work in recent years.[32]

Notable work[edit]

ICF's Integrated Planning Model (IPM) has been used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to project the impact of electric power business sector policies on the environment and to analyze the Clean Power Plan, Carbon Standards for New Power Plants, Mercury and Air Toxics Standards and the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule.[33] Other agencies, including the U.S. Forest Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Surface Transportation Board and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, have used IPM.[34][35]

The EPA has awarded contracts to ICF to assist with the agency's Energy Star program, including technical and analytical support.[36] The company also conducts the Demographic and Health Survey funded by the United States Agency for International Development.[37]

Major acquisitions[edit]

Below is a table of ICF's major acquisitions:

Year Company Business Country Value (USD) References
2002 Arthur D. Little's Environment & Risk and Public Sector Program Management divisions Consulting for environment, energy, applied technology and program management  United States $10.5 million [38]
2005 Synergy Defense  United States $19.5 million [39]
2005 Caliber Associates Human services consulting  United States $20.8 million [39][40]
2007 Z-Tech Software engineering, Web design and development, scientific computing  United States $27 million [41]
2007 Jones & Stokes Integrated planning and resources management  United States $50 million [42][43]
2007 Simat, Helliesen & Eichner (SH&E) Air transportation  United States $51 million [44]
2009 Jacob & Sundstrom Cybersecurity and identity management  United States $24 million [45]
2009 Macro International Advisory services, energy, cybersecurity, health  United States $155 million [46]
2011 Ironworks Consulting LLC Web development  United States $100 million [47]
2012 GHK Holding Limited Consulting  United Kingdom [48][49]
2014 Citytech, Inc. Digital interactive consultancy  United States [50]
2014 Mostra S.A. Communications  Belgium [15]
2014 Olson Advertising, public relations, communications  United States $295 million [18]
2018 The Future Customer Loyalty strategy and marketing  United Kingdom [51]

Rankings and recognition[edit]


  • Forbes ranked ICF No. 186 on its list of America's best midsize companies in 2017[52]
  • PRWeek ranked ICF No. 15 on its Agency Business report in 2017[53]
  • Advertising Age listed ICF Olson among its list of the 50 largest agencies in the world in 2016[54]


  • Women in Technology’s The Leadership Foundry presented its 2016 Corporate Leadership Award to ICF, whose eight-member board of directors includes three women[55]
  • ICF's Olson Engage won Best in Show at the In2 SABRE Awards in 2016 for its Skittles Super Bowl campaign[56]
  • ICF was named a “Fast Moving” brand by GBC, the research wing of the Government Executive Media Group, in its 2017 Leading Brands in Government study [57]


  1. ^ "Form 10-K". ICF. 28 February 2017. p. 32. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  2. ^ Form 10-K, p. 5
  3. ^ a b "ICF International Inc". The Washington Post. 12 May 2008. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d Hamilton, Martha M. (23 July 1990). "Cleaning up on environmental concerns". The Washington Post. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  5. ^ Webb, Margaret (23 January 1991). "American Capital renamed ICF". The Washington Post. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  6. ^ Gellene, Denise (2 March 1989). "Kaiser Engineers merging with unit of its Virginia parent firm". The Washington Post. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  7. ^ Hinden, Stan (20 September 1993). "This comeback story is a sure-fire thriller". The Washington Post. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  8. ^ "Managers and investment group to buy ICF Kaiser unit". The New York Times. 25 May 1999. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  9. ^ Gerin, Roseanne (27 November 2006). "IPOs fire fed market". Washington Technology. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  10. ^ "Consulting company targeted in Katrina blame". The Associated Press. 30 January 2007. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  11. ^ Goldfarb, Zachary A. (29 August 2007). "Va. Firm grows fast, but Katrina aid lags". The Washington Post. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  12. ^ Robert McClendon (7 April 2014). "New Jersey hires former Katrina contractor ICF for Sandy recovery work, WSJ reports". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  13. ^ a b c d e Censer, Marjorie (1 April 2012). "ICF International looks to commercial, international work for growth". The Washington Post. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  14. ^ Form 10-K, p. 13
  15. ^ a b Hoover, Mark (21 January 2014). "ICF acquires Brussels communications firm". Washington Technology. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  16. ^ Palmeri, Tara (11 July 2016). "American-owned firm wins €26 million contract to sell the EU". Politico. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  17. ^ Mark Hoover (29 May 2014). "ICF International changes name of London-based subsidiary". Washington Technology. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
  18. ^ a b c d Norfleet, Nicole (2 March 2016). "Minneapolis ad giant Olson gets bigger with consolidation by parent company ICF". Minneapolis Star Tribune. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  19. ^ Christine Birkner (26 August 2016). "This tourism campaign's 'no beachside honeymooners' rule boosted Belize's GDP". Adweek. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  20. ^ "Product Brand Development Campaign of the Year 2016". PRWeek. 18 March 2016. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  21. ^ Patrick Coffee (27 January 2016). "Can Bissell clean up this year's Puppy Bowl, which promises to make a giant mess?". Adweek. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  22. ^ "ICF introduces new brand, visual identity and website". Professional Services Close-Up. 30 September 2016. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  23. ^ a b "ICF/ICF Olson experienced a high rate of growth only two years after consultancy ICF International acquired Olson in 2014". PRWeek. 1 May 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  24. ^ Form 10-K, p. 5
  25. ^ Form 10-K, p. 5
  26. ^ Form 10-K, p. 54
  27. ^ a b "ICF International Inc (ICFI.O)". Reuters. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  28. ^ Form 10-K, p. 54
  29. ^ Form 10-K, p. F-7
  30. ^ Form 10-K, p. 9
  31. ^ Form 10-K, p. 11
  32. ^ Form 10-K, p. 13
  33. ^ "Clean Air Markets - Power Sector Modeling". U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  34. ^ "Roadless Area Conservation; National Forest System Lands in Colorado". Federal Register. 19 December 2016. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  35. ^ Peter H. Howard (June 2016). "The Bureau of Land Management's Modeling Choice for the Federal Coal Programmatic Review" (PDF). Institute for Policy Integrity. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  36. ^ David Hubler (30 March 2011). "ICF wins EPA Energy Star recomplete contract". Washington Technology. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  37. ^ Fears, Darryl. "African women are breaking their backs to get water for their families". The Washington Post. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  38. ^ Lincoln, Taylor (22 April 2002). "ICF Consulting to acquire two Arthur D. Little divisions". Boston Business Journal. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  39. ^ a b Hammer, Ben (19 May 2006). "ICF International plans $75M IPO". Washington Business Journal. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  40. ^ Gerin, Roseanne (11 October 2005). "ICF Consulting acquires human services consulting firm". Washington Technology. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  41. ^ Adler, Neil (29 June 2007). "ICF International buys Z-Tech". Washington Business Journal. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  42. ^ Killian, Erin (19 February 2008). "ICF wins $5.6M Homeland Security contract". Washington Business Journal. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  43. ^ "Form 10-Q (2008)". United States Securities and Exchange Commission. 2008. p. 7. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  44. ^ "ICF expanding transportation services with SH&E buy". Aviation Week. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
  45. ^ Echols, Tucker (1 December 2009). "ICF International to acquire Jacob & Sundstrom". Washington Business Journal. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  46. ^ Hubler, David (8 March 2010). "ICF's Macro acquisition moves it deeper into health care". Washington Technology. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
  47. ^ Clabaugh, Jeff (12 December 2011). "ICF International to acquire Ironworks Consulting". Washington Business Journal. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  48. ^ Censer, Marjorie (1 April 2012). "ICF International looks to commercial, international work for growth". The Washington Post. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  49. ^ Echols, Tucker (31 January 2012). "ICF International to acquire GHK Holdings, raises guidance". Washington Business Journal. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  50. ^ "ICF International acquires Chicago-based digital IT consulting firm". Washington Business Journal. 18 March 2014. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  51. ^ "ICF to Acquire The Future Customer". Yahoo Finance. 14 December 2017. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  52. ^ "America's Best Midsize Employers". Forbes. 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  53. ^ "Rankings Tables: PRWeek Agency Business Report 2017". PRWeek. 1 May 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  54. ^ "Agency Family Trees 2016". Advertising Age. 2016. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  55. ^ Lauren Budik (1 June 2016). "Women in Technology announces 17th annual leadership award winners". WashingtonExec. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  56. ^ "Olson Engage takes home top honors at 2016 in2 SABRE Awards for Skittles Super Bowl campaign". The Holmes Report. 17 February 2016. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  57. ^ "Leading brands in government". GovExec.com. 2017. Retrieved 21 June 2017.

External links[edit]