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Our History

From Venture Capital Firm to Client-Focused Consulting

Founded in 1969 as the Inner City Fund, ICF got its start as a venture capital firm with a mission to finance inner-city businesses in the Washington, D.C area of the United States. C.D. Lester, a former Tuskegee Airman, was our first president and was joined in the firm by three U.S. Department of Defense analysts. Our consulting business proved more successful than our investments and in 1972 the firm was reorganized as a consulting firm and renamed ICF Incorporated.

With a focus on solving energy challenges for United States federal agencies and for industry throughout the 1970s, ICF expanded into helping address the world’s environmental concerns in the 1980s and also began to build its engineering capabilities. In 1988, ICF acquired Kaiser Engineers, which had originated as the engineering unit of Henry J. Kaiser's industrial empire and grew to rank among the largest engineering and construction companies in the world. The following year, the combined company went public and eventually traded stock on the New York Stock Exchange, operating as "ICF Kaiser," with the consulting unit remaining largely intact.

In 1999, ICF Consulting ended its decade-long affiliation with Kaiser Engineers through a leveraged buyout, financed in part by the CM Equity Partners, LP, a New York City-based equity investment firm.

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. The firm also pursued an Initial Public Offering (IPO) and now is a publicly traded firm listed on the NASDAQ under the symbol ICFI. Today, the company is known simply as “ICF,” while still retaining its international presence. With more than 40 years of consulting experience, 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.