What experiences in your childhood most prepared you for the IT field?
My dad was in the Navy, so we moved a lot. We were overseas for 10 years. I would say that moving frequently helped with adaptability. I would move and try new things and not be afraid to take on risks and look at everything as an opportunity.
What has been one of your proudest accomplishments?
At ATS, I really helped the company expand the customer base.
What leadership skills helped you do that?
I can build strong relationships with other companies. I build a strong management team. I integrate business development and operations together to make a successful organization.
What makes you successful at that?
I value honesty and integrity. It’s about true dedication and commitment to what you’re doing and a very realistic approach.
Can you give me an example?
With two of our customers, the U.S. Marine Corps and the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, we put together great teams and did presentations that were so successful PRC still has the contracts today. Most of the contracts we won at ATS are still there today. We built those relationships and strong teams where when one person leaves it doesn’t impact the whole team.
How do you hire the right people?
I can’t say that I always do it right, but in general I spend a lot of time talking to people. I let them talk to other people on the management team. I hire very slowly. I take my time. I never rush with hires. I also build commitment with people. I have a tendency to stay about eight to 10 years with a company, but when I leave, I typically have people that want to follow, and I think that comes from hiring the right people, treating them well and taking good care of the team.
What business books are you reading?
“Relevant Selling” by Jaynie L. Smith, “Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg and “Good to Great” by Jim Collins.
— Interview with Vanessa Small