Does congressional candidate Michael Waltz’s company still hold ‘Women Owned’ status?
Photo from Metis Solutions Facebook page. A Metis Solutions-sponsored event promoting CEO Michael Waltz's book "Warrior Diplomat."


A defense contractor operated by congressional candidate Michael Waltz has continued to enjoy “Women-Owned Small Business” status on some contracts years after its female founder sold the company.

Waltz, CEO for Metis Solutions, in August won the Republican nomination to succeed Ron DeSantis in Florida’s 6th Congressional District. He faces Democrat Ambassador Nancy Soderberg.

And for eight years, he has worked at Metis Solutions, a company founded in 2010 by Mary Beth Long, the first woman confirmed by the Senate as Assistant Secretary of Defense. The business provided strategy and policy support to military and corporate clients, and since 2012 pulled in more than $100 million in federal contracts, mostly through the Defense Department.

The company as it sought federal contracts claimed both “women-owned business” and “women-owned small business” status, designations only awarded to companies for which women directly own or control 51 percent.

But Long in 2016 sold Metis in a private equity deal. Long could not be reached for comment but her staff said they did not believe she had any more ownership in the company. Now Waltz serves as CEO, Long’s former job.

Waltz’s campaign dismissed the insinuation of wrong-doing as a politically motivated attack.

“With just 21 days to go, Nancy Soderberg and her attack dogs at the Pelosi-run DCCC continue to desperately smear Michael Waltz with false and disrespectful lies,” said Waltz spokesman Erin Isaac.

A search of federal contracts for Metis Solutions continues to show “women-owned” status still on many projects, even some contracts that started as recently as last month.

For example, Metis Solutions started a contract Sept. 28 with the Department of Treasury worth up to $620,128 for intelligence analysis support and listed itself as WOB and WOSB. The business landed a Defense contract worth $283,000 over two months this year similarly listing those designations.

Metis nabbed a $27,353 contract for work at Camp Pendleton, and a $195,280 contract for design work in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

And a contract that started in June for analytical support with the Treasury Department guarantees more than $2.4 million and could be worth nearly $8 million for a year-long project in Virginia.

All these contracts get listed in federal spending databases as awards to WOB and WOSB contractors.

But a company’s status as a small, minority or woman-owned business is determined at the start of the bid process for a contract. Long still worked with the company when the bidding process first began.

That status extends to projects or task orders related to the original contract until the business has to re-certify.

A bid submitted by Metis today won’t include the WOB or WOSB status. Indeed, a number of contracts Metis Solutions holds with the federal government don’t list that status anywhere.

“As a combat veteran who was awarded four Bronze Stars, Michael Waltz is a war hero who, with his former business partner, returned home, played by the rules and built a company from the ground up that supports the efforts of the men and women of our armed forces,” Isaac said.

“It is disgraceful that Nancy Soderberg along with Nancy Pelosi, who both know full-well how the federal contracting process works, would play ignorant and turn a blind eye to these kinds of baseless attacks.”

Today, Waltz serves as CEO of Metis Solutions, and according to the company’s Treasury contracts, the company’s four highest paid executives are also male, an interesting fact considering those same contracts still show the WOB designation.

Waltz, according to the Treasury contracts, earns $439,974 as company CEO while Metis President Christopher Wynes earns $468,806. Executive Vice President Bill Antley gets paid $211,515 and Chief Financial Officer Joe Kuhlmann earns $201,152.

Jennifer Sammons, Metis’ vice president of Business Development and Proposals, earns $181,301, according to contract information. That’s hardly chump change, but with an income less than half that of Waltz, it hardly counts as majority or controlling interest for the company. And the Metis website lists Sammons as the only female executive on the team, a move away from the company’s woman-owned days.

Long herself explained to Inc. Magazine in 2014 the challenges of selling a WOSB-designated company. “It keeps the small and women-owned companies from having an equity event,” says Long.

But two years after that interview, she apparently sold the company in just that way.

Florida Politics has reached out to Metis Solutions but has not heard back.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


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