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Our History

From Venture Capital Firm to the Next Generation of Professional Services

In 1969, former Tuskegee Airman C.D. Lester began a venture capital firm in the Washington, D.C., area with the goal of powering the next great businesses in the city -- and the world. Lester was joined by three analysts from the U.S. Department of Defense to form the Inner City Fund. In 1972 the firm reorganized into a consulting firm and became ICF Incorporated.

With a focus on solving energy challenges in the public and private sectors throughout the 1970s, ICF expanded to help address the world’s environmental concerns in the 1980s while fortifying its engineering capabilities.

The turn of the century marked ICF’s foray into the global market. In 2006, ICF Consulting was renamed ICF International to reflect a growing geographic presence and increased scope of service offerings from advisory services to execution, implementation, and improvement. In 2014, ICF acquired Olson, an integrated marketing technology and digital services provider widely recognized for their innovative strategic advisory work, software-driven customer loyalty programs, and analytics-based marketing. We also welcomed Mostra SA, a leading communications agency based in Brussels, Belgium, to complement our policy work and enhance our strategy of providing both advisory and implementation services.

In 2019, the company will launch ICF Next, a global marketing services agency. ICF Next marks the convergence of ICF’s best-in-class marketing, communications and technology businesses and consultancies. The agency supports a full range of capabilities – all grounded in behavioral insights, creative engagement and technology.

ICF is a global, diversified firm that combines the entrepreneurship and dynamism of a new company with a solid reputation and expertise in the consulting industry—offering solutions that help clients worldwide solve their biggest challenges to achieve their most formidable goals.

See a full timeline of our acquisitions.