A conversation with Christopher Brandt, founder and managing partner, Audacious Inquiry, LLC

A Conversation with Christopher Brandt, Founder & Managing Partner, Audacious Inquiry, LLC
By Louis Ulman, Esq., Offit Kurman, Attorneys at Law

Chris Brandt is the EY Entrepreneur Of the Year 2014 Winner in Maryland in the “Health” category. For the fourth year in a row, Audacious Inquiry has been climbing the INC. 5000 list, reaching #1490 in 2014.

Someone once famously asked, “What’s in a name?” Plenty, according to Chris Brandt, Managing Partner of Audacious Inquiry, LLC. Chris crafted the message-rich name for his company when he founded it a decade ago.

Headquartered in Baltimore County, Maryland, Audacious Inquiry provides health information system, analytical service and web application services for government, business and nonprofit agencies. The company’s Encounter Notification Service (ENS) is currently employed to facilitate efficient transitions of care for over six million people across four U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Versatile strategy, technology and business intelligence capabilities have garnered the company multi-year client engagements with large regional hospitals and health systems; the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC); and state Health Information Exchange programs.

Chris paired two concepts for the company name: “audacious goal setting” and an imperative to “ask the tough questions.” To be sure, the name is memorable particularly in today’s swirl of acronym-ed business identities, often interchangeable, crossing industries. Chris says business partners tend to remember the name, and the brand has grown strong over ten years as a result of their top quality impactful work and great team.

Chris started the company while pursuing his MBA at Wharton, opting for entrepreneurship versus the corporate path. He shares with us the best business advice he’s received . . . right up there with “set audacious goals.”

Q. Is there more to the back story of the company’s intriguing name?

A. Around the time the company was formed in 2004, I was reading a management book, Good to Great, by Jim Collins, where Mr. Collins dedicates a chapter to setting and achieving “big, hairy audacious goals.” The idea resonated with me, as my audacious goal was to build a world-class information technology and consulting firm. Asking tough questions – or making critical inquiries – is important in the successful execution of technology development and in effective consulting.

Q. When did you know you were on the right track?

A. I wouldn’t say that there has been a specific moment, but the company is in an exciting place due to the hard work and innovative approach of a lot of people over several years. Growing the business since 2004, and positively impacting a lot of people along the way, has been a great experience.

Q. How would you describe your personal brand?

A. Collaborative and authentic.

Q. What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten? Given?

A. Presumably, you are looking for business advice, but either way, I think that the best advice I’ve ever received has been to treat other people as I’d wish to be treated (or the derivative – as they’d wish to be treated). Trite, but given the monumental importance of relationships in business and otherwise, it’s sage advice. The best advice I may have ever given has probably been the same – that and to advise my toddler son to not kick the dog.

Q. How would your executive team describe your leadership style?

A. I’d like to think that they would also say that my leadership style is collaborative and authentic, but you’d have to ask them…!

Connect with Chris on LinkedIn.

About EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year (www.ey.com/us/eoy) is the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. Now in its 28th year, the unique award makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership, and achievement. As the first and only truly global award of its kind, Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing, and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national, and global awards programs in more than 145 cities in more than 60 countries.

About the INC. 5000

The INC. 5000 annually recognizes the fastest growing privately held companies. 2014 marks its 33rd year.

Source: Offit | Kurman

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