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McKinsey Q&A: Mike

– McKinsey is excited about our recent acquisition of VisualDoD, the leading provider of defense market insights and analysis, and pleased to welcome its founder Mike Cadenazzi, to our growing New Ventures and Aerospace & Defense teams.


Mike has held leadership roles in multiple defense sector start-ups spanning signals intelligence, neurotechnology, risk management, business services and software design. He has technical and operational experience in telecommunications, data analysis, and information security; and has worked on research and system engineering for major government defense, intelligence, and homeland security programs.

Interviewer: Tell us about your professional journey.

Mike: I studied civil engineering at Tulane University and then electrical engineering at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. I spent ten years as a cryptologic officer in the U.S. Navy, and completed tours around the world – Guam, Italy, the United Kingdom. My first commercial effort was an intelligence start-up focused on technology for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. After spending time at Deutsche Bank on Wall Street, I came back to the defense industry through a series of start-ups that led to launching VisualDoD.

Interviewer: Where did you get the idea for VisualDoD? What were you trying to accomplish?

Mike: In my last startup, I was consulting for a series of defense firms and directly for the US Department of Defense. And I was spending an enormous amount of time organizing open source defense budget data the government makes available in a slew of formats. Basically, it was a time consuming and painful process. We streamlined that process into a series of tools that everyone could use – saving time for people suffering through the same arduous effort year after year.

Interviewer: What excites you most about becoming part of McKinsey?

Mike: McKinsey was initially a client. The team became increasingly interested in the depth and quality of our approach and wanted to do more and more with our data. With the acquisition, we have the opportunity to push our collective capacity to deliver more insight about defense issues, faster. That’s all the VisualDoD team has ever wanted.

Interviewer: How will your role leading VisualDoD evolve post-acquisition?

Mike: McKinsey will allow our team more time to work the analytic platforms. Rather than worrying about accounting and invoicing, we can focus on what we do best. It’s amazing to be part of a team that brings top-notch professional infrastructure and support.

McKinsey is also investing in VisualDoD, providing software engineers, marketing, and advanced analytics support — to grow our team, and our capabilities.

Collectively, that allows me more time to work directly with clients on their challenges. Now we can tailor solutions to a level that wasn’t possible before and deliver an array of solutions including technology, bespoke development, and fully integrated consulting.

Interviewer: What keeps you busy in your free time?

Mike: I’m the proud father of three daughters. That’s my biggest and best job. If the Nationals aren’t on the radio then I am trying to sneak in as many yoga classes as I can. I’m a history buff and love to read, especially about the application of intelligence in war.

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About Mike
Based in Washington, D.C., Mike is a solution leader and associate partner with VisualDoD by McKinsey, one of firm's 50+ New Ventures startups. Prior to founding VisualDoD, he held varied roles in the Professional Services, Financial Services, and Aerospace & Defense industries. He has an MBA from George Mason University, a master's in electrical engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School, and a bachelor's in civil engineering from Tulane University.