Monday, May 28, 2007
Position: Chief executive and president, SRA International of Fairfax, which provides technology and strategic consulting services and solutions to clients in national security, civil government, health care and public health.
Career Highlights: Executive vice president, integrated systems & solutions, Lockheed Martin; president, management and data systems, Lockheed Martin; executive vice president, management and data systems, Lockheed Martin; senior vice president, network systems, Lockheed Martin; vice president, ocean, radar and sensor systems, Lockheed Martin; chief executive, RLM Proprietary; program general manager, Martin Marietta; program manager, Martin Marietta; and business development director, Martin Marietta. Previously, he was a program manager at General Electric and aviation maintenance officer in the Navy.
Education: BS, aeronautics, Barry University; MA, human resources management, Pepperdine University; PhD, management, Weatherhead Business School, Case Western Reserve University.
Personal: Lives in Reston. He has two sons, Christopher, 34, a sales representative for a swimming pool company; and Jeremy, 32, an attorney.
How did you get to where you are?
I've always been willing to stretch myself. Things that I wasn't comfortable doing, I had to work harder at and learned something new. I've also worked with a lot of talented people and have been fortunate to learn a lot from them over the years. I've done a lot of different jobs over my career. I've been exposed to engineering, business development and program management. To have worked in different types of jobs has been a valuable experience.
I've been through a couple of cycles in the defense marketplace. Some of those were very challenging because they involved significant downsizing of businesses, or in some cases closing factories. And those were probably the most difficult. I had to keep the business healthy, vibrant, progressing and growing despite the short-term impact of cycles. When you downsize a workforce of 30 percent or 40 percent, that has a big impact on people. And so what we did was develop approaches to try to help as much as possible the people who were being out-placed settle somewhere else. We made a pretty big investment on retraining, outplacement, support and economic assistance. Morale is terrible in that kind of climate. One thing I learned was that it's much better to be honest with everybody and let them know what's happening, rather than trying to sugarcoat the situation.
Strategy is something that's always difficult in terms of deciding what the right course is for the business. And getting business moving down that course, particularly when market conditions are changing, can be tough. With federal funding, changes in spending patterns affect our strategy. You always have the fiscal year budget issues, but there are also changes in technologies that are likely to affect how government operates. It takes some time to implement. So you have to have lead time -- you have to plan for those things several years ahead. You have to adjust your business depending on government spending levels to position the business. If government is going to reduce spending you have to manage costs very carefully to keep the business viable. That's a short-term issue, but you have to be very responsive.
Having worked in a variety of the businesses -- G.E., Martin Marietta, then Lockheed Martin -- I think I have been exposed to a lot of good managers and a lot of good leaders. I've always tried to model myself using the better people that I've worked for. I learned a lot of lessons about leadership and how to deal with people, particularly in difficult circumstances -- layoffs, downsizing and planned plant closures. Also, I had some very good role models in terms of business acumen. Those experiences have benefited me well.
-- Judith Mbuya