Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Mission Critical is about as competitive as an organization can be. We innovate from start to finish, organize like fanatics and make sure the details are accurate. The answers to your questions about who we are and what we do can be found in the list below. If you have more specific questions, please contact us directly and we’ll be happy to provide the answers you’re looking for.

Company Information

Mission Critical is a proposal management firm exclusively serving the heavy civil construction industry we partner with clients to develop winning submissions for competitive procurement, which is a departure from traditional hard bid/low bid processes. We use specialized resources to best guide our client teams from kickoff through final submittal, developing content and an approach for the proposal response. We scrutinize the procurement requirements, manage compliance, and bring the best out of our client team members to create targeted, rock-solid content. We exceed scoring requirements in an innovative yet thorough manner, engaging the selection board through organic and original writing, design, graphics, and presentation. That drive is evident across our services:

  • Proposal Management
  • Technical Writing
  • Graphic Design and Technical Illustration
  • Web Design and Presentation Technology
  • Interview Preparation
  • 3D Modeling and Visualization

Mission Statement: To use fanatical creativity, technical expertise, and a passionate sense of integrity to build a dominating market presence for our clients.

Mission Critical specializes in the Heavy Civil Construction market. A keen understanding of subcontractor resource planning, the latest innovations in Green Construction, or knowledge of FAA acronyms makes all the difference in quickly and effectively developing high quality content. Because we are technically creative, we reduce the level of effort for our clients in winning competitive procurements.

Since 2012, we have provided winning submissions for the following market segments:

  • Civil and Transportation
  • Mining and Industrial
  • Water Treatment
  • Government
  • Commercial
  • Education and Healthcare
  • Private Development

Be sure to take a look at our latest work or feel free to contact us to discuss.

Matthew Costabile opened Mission Critical in 2012 as a one-man operation. Nine years, 400 projects, and over $2B in project value won later, the firm has grown into a 2,200 square foot office with seven full-time employees and global team of contracted subject matter experts.

See more about us and our ever-expanding team of experts here.

Mission Critical works with companies of all sizes, partnering with each to see how we can best fit into the project scope. We help small companies realize their potential through messaging and elevating their submission materials, helping them win jobs that move them from a subcontractor into a prime role. On the other end of that spectrum, titans of the construction industry call us when their teams need extra strategic help on their must-win, high-profile procurements.

However, Mission Critical finds that we are the most effective with firms whose size is $50M – $500M. If you fit into this range – or even if you don’t – and you’re interested in our services, please contact us. If you want to see more of what we can do for you, browse our latest work or review our specialized services.

Our current average shortlist rate is 68%. The alternative delivery market is still quite new, so there are no metrics to cite, but by our estimation the industry average is 50% or lower.

Read about our successful shortlist placements here.

As a technically creative firm, we work across multiple platforms to communicate, write, design, review, and produce winning work. We use collaborative workspaces to facilitate communication and use Adobe Design Suite to ensure our work looks as good as it reads. We also use intuitive software for 3D architectural and civil modeling, secure file transfer, and presentation suites.

Unlike a marketing firm which needs fully or near-fully developed content from a client to start designing a proposal, Mission Critical has the technical knowledge and a specialized understanding of the construction market to hit the ground running with client teams from Day 1 – developing clear, concise, and compelling content that demonstrates advantages in capacity, experience, and approach. Although marketing and copy editing are elements of what we provide, we are much more than just another marketing firm.

We bear the load of the proposal development and can turn blurry cell phone images or sketches on scrap paper into finished content and exhibits. We expedite communications with busy project managers to develop project approaches during their daily commute time. The result is less “loading” of client’s resources and a final deliverable that fully aligns with the needs and expectations of the procurement agency.

For many firms, large and small, Mission Critical provides specialized knowledge and resources in critical situations. Our expertise sparks an exchange of new ideas and a complete and total focus on the win, with no distractions from your day-to-day business. We manage the project from kickoff to award, coordinating and developing content, managing schedules and due dates, and directing our unique resources, as needed. In short, we create an atmosphere of universal accountability and teamwork. This is especially helpful in joint ventures where it’s imperative to strike the right balance. A traditional construction marketing team does not have the same breadth and depth of unique expertise to tackle these pursuits. For more information on the advantages of the Mission Critical team over an in-house team, visit our Five Reasons to Hire a Proposal Management Specialist article.

Mission Critical lives on the cutting edge of technology, serving clients all over the country with our in-house and remote staff. Since our clients typically preferred to have important conversations face-to-face, our team traveled across the country for years for everything from owner meetings to approach brainstorming to proposal document review sessions.

In the wake of COVID-19, we have made adjustments. While we miss good old-fashioned handshakes and working lunches in a client’s conference room, the course of events prompted us to shift gears overnight. Because we were already accustomed to remote work processes while on the road and with our remote staff, we seamlessly navigated this abrupt transition. Using a technology-enabled workflow, we work with clients remotely with easy-to-use solutions like Zoom for meetings and Filestage for streamlined document review.

Yes! Awards are a different type of pursuit from project procurement. Awards are usually pursued during construction or after project completion, depending on the award type, the agency or association, and the category. Mission Critical can write a compelling awards submission on your behalf without being involved in the project pursuit. Still, we need a similar engagement level from your team to provide interviews and the necessary documentation required for the award applications. Like our proposal management process, we write content, conduct interviews, hold review cycles, and manage application compliance to competitively position your firm. Award pursuits are an excellent way to build notoriety in the industry, and each win is a feather in your cap to be displayed in your next proposal.

Read about some of our successful awards submissions in our News section.

Projects & Procurements

Mission Critical has completed efforts on projects ranging from $1M to $1.1B USD, partnering with single or joint-venture project teams ranging from 1 to 50+ members. There is nothing typical about our team or the value of the projects we pursue. Mission Critical can mobilize both small and large teams to address any procurement or project effort. Notably, our average pursuit value increased exponentially from $12M in 2013 to $112M in 2017.

To see examples of some of our most recent works, please visit our Projects page.

We tailor our staffing for each project to achieve lean and cost-effective delivery for our clients.

While the Mission Critical Team includes technical writers, design professionals, project coordinators, and modeling and presentation experts, we create your project team based on the effort required by the procurement. We are technical, flexible and agile, mobilizing specific resources (i.e. Subject Matter Experts) for specific project efforts. We provide people, technology and experience which are the catalysts needed to give you the best opportunity for your firm to achieve the win.

Once a proposal has been submitted, our work is complete. However, we have the expertise and background to visit construction sites to understand projects more thoroughly and provide the service of writing project success stories. These on-site narratives could be added to your company’s website or used as a critical asset in submitting to industry awards, which we can do on your behalf.

We are not currently taking on federal procurements, but we can refer you to excellent resources that are.

We specialize in Alternative Delivery projects, including Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR), Construction Manager / General Contractor (CMGC), Design-Build (DB), Design-Assist, and Job Order Contracting (JOC). To browse the types of projects we do pursue, visit our Projects page.

Alternative Delivery is all we do. We have guided teams in winning over $2B in alternative delivery procurements including:

  • Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR)
  • Construction Manager / General Contractor (CMGC)
  • Design-Build (DB)
  • Job Order
  • Contracting (JOC)
  • Design-Assist

Visit our Projects page to see the latest alternative delivery projects we have pursued with client teams across the country.

If you have specific questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Pursuit Management

The most successful efforts, especially those deemed a critical win, occur when the team can leverage the full procurement cycle. Mission Critical is involved throughout the entire project lifecycle, partnering with our clients even before the solicitation release, when possible. With early onboarding, we maximize opportunities to plan the response, identify data requirements, and set the team on a path toward successful submittal.

That said, we know that urgent pursuits can be just as critical. Staffed internationally across multiple time zones, Mission Critical is uniquely positioned to maximize even the shortest timelines. Check out our Timeline of an Emergency Project to see how we created a full document for a client’s urgent project in just 92 hours.

We do not use templates or “boilerplate” content. Years of experience has proven that “Content is King” – we focus on technical writing and creating new content specifically targeted for each pursuit, paired with new, innovative ways of delivering content graphically. Every submission is fresh and unique.

If you are interested in multi-purpose or specific marketing materials outside of a proposal, we can create brochures, leave-behinds, or proposal inserts that can be used across projects and proposals. Take a look at some of our marketing materials success stories here and see what we can do for you or feel free to contact us to discuss.

Every procurement is unique, and we tailor our pricing structure to cost-effectively meet each project’s scope. To provide a project cost, we follow a three-step process:

  1. Individual team members review the project procurement, scope, and any related documentation.
  2. The Mission Critical Team internally meets to discuss the project effort and to identify clarifications needed.
  3. We provide a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) for client review.

We are always interested in discussing a new opportunity and usually arrive at a GMP within 48 hours. Questions? Feel free to contact us.

We are not an engineering firm; so, we do not create technical drawings in the traditional sense.  However, we have a world-class 3-D modeler in-house and graphic design staff that can beautifully and realistically convey ideas and concepts that differentiate your company and ideas from the competition. We outline these services on our Expertise page along with other graphic and illustration abilities.

Mission Critical delivers the final submission package to ensure compliance and, of course, our client’s total satisfaction – no matter where they are.

The pre-press and print processes are the final steps representing weeks or months of a team effort. Mission Critical manages and proofs the printing effort with the same diligence we show in our proposal management scope. On most projects, we use an experienced WBE (Women’s Business Enterprise) print provider in Phoenix, AZ, who has demonstrated a proven capacity, level of quality, and understanding of our unique project work and specifications. With this approach, we have the flexibility to manage the pre-press efforts for 10-page briefs or 500-page multi-volume technical submittals.

An added benefit is our ability to plan and execute shorter print cycles than would typically be available from your local print shop, providing additional time for our team to physically inspect the final product before delivering to our clients.

You own the files we create. Once a project has been successfully submitted, we provide you with the printed office copies and the packaged design files.

Mission Critical is committed to a project from inception to conclusion, including interview preparation for your team. Our interview preparation methodology is focused on content first, ensuring the team members have the knowledge, tools, and approaches needed to present before small or large selection committees. With a solid knowledge base and content preparation, your team will be able to respond to any question a panel might ask in a conversational and confident manner and will score strongly in scenario or challenge-based reviews.
Browse our Interview Preparation services here or contact us with any questions regarding this service.

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