Reston, Virginia (August 26, 2021) — According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), about 20% of new U.S. small businesses fail within the first year, 50% fail during their first five years, and after 10 years only 33% have survived. Vantage Point Consulting has beaten those odds and is celebrating its 15th anniversary. What started out as a minority woman transitioning from the military has become a dynamic group of highly experienced management consultants with a shared passion for working on challenges related to postsecondary education and workforce development. Vantage Point has recently earned recognition as a 2020 Fastest Growing Firm, a Best Small Firm to Work for and a Hire Vets Medallion Award Recipient.
Vantage Point’s core operating principle, as reflected in its name, was and continues to be, viewing challenges and opportunities from a new vantage point, which unleashes innovation and delivers value to clients.
Vantage Point’s Journey
Cristine Carpenter completed her final active-duty mobilization with the Navy for Operation Enduring Freedom in 2006. She and her husband, Jeffrey Carpenter moved from Washington, DC to Portland, Oregon, where he was starting a new job and they were starting a family. Like many transitioning service members, she faced a lot of uncertainty about how she could re-engage into the civilian job market. A mentor referred Cristine to the Department of Labor Small Business Administration website resources to register as a small, woman, minority, and veteran-owned business and gave her some ideas on how her skills could be valuable.
In September 2006, Cristine and Jeff launched Vantage Point Consulting. Cristine is President and co-founder of Vantage Point Consulting and Jeff is Executive Vice President and co-founder.
Vantage Point’s first big project was a sub-contract with IBM to provide program mentorship to Active Duty and Reserve Service members who were using Tuition Assistance benefits. The goal of that program was to help increase degree completion rates by proactively reaching out to Service members taking college classes while they served, to help remove barriers to completion. From the start, Vantage Point had a shared interest in promoting opportunity for transitioning Service members and disadvantaged workers. Ruth Perez and Wendy Garcia were among Vantage Point’s first employees and are still with the firm today.
Vantage Point’s next big growth spurt was leading several new career readiness initiatives for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Personnel Readiness. Vantage Point developed a career advising tool to help Service members and their families understand their skills, make informed choices about how their military experience has prepared them for civilian jobs, and close any skill and education gaps prior to leaving the service. The tool uses data from the Department of Labor, O*NET, and Bureau of Labor Statistics along with many other data sources. Vantage Point’s ability to combine human-centered design, labor market, and education data has enabled the company to expand these areas of expertise beyond the Service member community into K-12 and other adult learner applications. Vantage Point is currently working on multiple projects aimed at 8th-12th graders, especially low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented minority populations, understand and explore postsecondary education options.
Vantage Point has grown from its roots as an early academic and career program mentor for Service members, to helping the American Council on Education develop an advanced technology platform that allows academic institutions to seamlessly award academic credit for military learning. In addition, Vantage Point deployed its change management expertise to promote adoption of this powerful new prior learning application by colleges and universities across the nation.
Vantage Point has always been, and remains, passionate about its ultimate goal of helping individuals access expanded opportunities and upward mobility through timely, personalized, and contextualized information that leads them to build skills, social capital, and credentials that can lead to expanded opportunity and upward mobility.
Vantage Point’s Team
Reflecting on Vantage Point’s history, Jeffrey Carpenter commented, “Our strategy of hiring diverse employees with core competencies of domain expertise in education and work force development, data science, user experience design, web-based development, change management and agile project management and then focusing all that talent on advancing career and education access for military learners and disadvantaged populations has fueled our team’s identity, motivation and growth.”
Harold Tran, Vice President of Education Strategy, joined Vantage Point after a decade working for Big 5 consulting firms. He was inspired by Vantage Point’s mission to help promote access, equity, and inclusivity of opportunity to all learners. Harold helped lead new projects with the University of Maryland Global Campus to make higher education more accessible to adult learners.
When asked about Vantage Point’s mission, Harold Tran shared, “We’ve always been a mission-oriented company that understands the need for multiple pathways to careers, other than the traditional four-year college to job route.” Harold explained that Vantage Point leverages the experiences of its minority and veteran employees in its approach, and he added, “As we’ve grown, we’ve intentionally added data scientists, human-centered designers, application developers, consultants and project leaders to make a real impact in the lives of disadvantaged populations with scalable applications and tools.”
Vantage Point’s Future
As Vantage Point moves forward, it is launching a new website, expanding its service offerings, and creating new products. “Thank you to all our dedicated employees, loyal and supportive clients over the years. It has been a privilege and we are looking forward to seeing where the next 15 years take us!” says Cristine Carpenter.
For more information on how Vantage Point Consulting can help your business or organization identify and solve the real problems facing users through empathetic human-centered design, visit www.vantagepoint-inc.com.