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February 06, 2014
FIRM BLENDS EMPLOYEES AND AREA ENTREPRENEURS TO MAXIMIZE TALENT
McLean, VA — Solving the nation’s most complex problems requires a mix of diverse skills, resources, and entrepreneurialism working in harmonious collaboration toward the solution. Booz Allen Hamilton demonstrated this mix in an unconventional way when it brought together a team of employees and area entrepreneurs to solve an energy challenge, winning first place at the 25-hour “Apps for Energy II” Hackathon.
The competition, co-sponsored by the Department of Energy and Washington D.C. startup incubator 1776, runs through October 2014 and consists of four stages as part of the DoE’s year-long American Energy Data Challenge. Participating teams are tasked with building and presenting applications designed with DoE goals in mind, including reducing national energy consumption, engaging and educating the public about energy efficiency and incentivizing home owners and sellers to make energy efficiency improvements.
The Hackathon kicked off part two of the contest, and within hours, Mehdi Esmail, Lowell Usrey, Seif Kobrosly, Adil Kadir, and Tom Gamon organized a team to participate. This team of Booz Allen employees were then joined by three participants outside of Booz Allen, Leonadro Petry, Daniel Klothe, and Carolyn Zelikow. While unknown to one another prior to the competition, they collectively embraced a multi-disciplinary approach to their work and together created the winning “Black Sheep” map interface.
The “Black Sheep” iOS application rates and displays homes by color (black sheep / white sheep) based on a home’s energy score. It uses the DoE’s Home Energy Scoring tool, annual electricity and gas consumption data, as well as Zillow’s real estate mapping software, to rate a home. Those with a higher energy score appear as “white sheep” and include energy efficient products like lights, windows and furnace. Those homes labeled as poorer performers are recognized as grey or black sheep. The goal of the app is to two-fold; motivate homeowners to improve their scores and think responsibly and also enable prospective buyers and renters to easily find and compare energy costs of each unit for purchase/rent.
“The team demonstrated groundbreaking thinking when designing and presenting its ‘Black Sheep’ application,” said 1776 co-founder Donna Harris. “Voted to victory by their peer participants for the quality of their idea, creative presentation and use of public DoE data, the success of the team – and all thirteen participating teams - underscores the value of open collaboration when working to solve the most difficult, contemporary challenges.”
“The team’s victory is a testament to Booz Allen Hamilton’s recognition that entrepreneurial talent is in abundance and should be tapped,” said Michael Farber, Booz Allen Executive Vice President. “Strategic minds with diverse skills exist inside and outside the firm. When we can pair the right skill sets in the right teams, we can create something powerful.”
The group of eight will continue to work through early March to iterate and enhance the functionality of the app. The final version will compete against four other regional Hackathon winners for a chance to claim the grand prize.
"My favorite thing about the DoE American Energy Hackathon at 1776 was my team,” said teammate Carolyn Zelikow, Marketing Director of Tom Tom Founders Festival. “It's the drive and intelligence that I encountered in them that makes me think our mobile energy app has a real chance to change America's sustainability landscape."
Members of the broader Booz Allen team will also participate in the firm’s Ideas Festival in early February. Both initiatives serve to reward employee creativity and collaboration and extend the company’s commitment to open innovation.
About Booz Allen
For more than 100 years, business, government, and military leaders have turned to Booz Allen Hamilton to solve their most complex problems. They trust us to bring together the right minds: those who devote themselves to the challenge at hand, who speak with relentless candor, and who act with courage and character. They expect original solutions where there are no roadmaps. They rely on us because they know that—together—we will find the answers and change the world.
We solve the most difficult management and technology problems through a combination of consulting, analytics, digital solutions, engineering, and cyber expertise. With global headquarters in McLean, Virginia, our firm employs approximately 24,600 people globally, and had revenue of $6.17 billion for the 12 months ended March 31, 2018. To learn more, visit www.boozallen.com. (NYSE: BAH)