Position: Vice president, federal solutions group, RWD Technologies, a Baltimore information technology company that helps companies train workers and improve workplace efficiency.
Career highlights: Vice president, sales marketing, RWD Technologies; director, sales marketing, RWD Technologies; industry manager, Kronos Inc.; president, Opal Technologies Inc.; director of government sales, Decision Support Systems Inc.; director, federal systems, CGES Federal; and, systems program manager, Sony Electronics.
Education: BS, business administration and finance, the College of William and Mary.
Personal: Lives in Ellicott City with wife, Kim, and their children, Sean, 15; Kelly, 11 and Conor, 10.
How did you get to where you are?
Four years ago, I was hired to start up a sales organization. RWD had read about my results as a finalist in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in Maryland. So they asked me to start a sales organization for them. And in four years we were able to increase sales from $100 million to $117 million. Back then, we were a consulting business, so the days of long-term contracts were going away. What I've convinced the company was that in order to get long-term contracts again, we have to make a concentrated effort into the federal market. I convinced them and that's when the board authorized the creation of the federal solutions. And what they did is history. I had been working with federal start-ups, starting with Sony, where we were able to grow from zero to $35 million in three years. Then I went on to work at Comark. I went to work at Decision Support Systems to go build their federal business. When I took over global technologies, my first focus was to start a federal organization there and that's why I was hired at Kronos here in the mid-Atlantic to start their federal business. So RWD now has said we understand you can't just dip your toe in the waters if you want to get into the federal business market. You have to have a commitment, from board level all the way down . . .
The most important thing is keeping up on the industry. You have to read constantly and be part of certain industries' special interest groups and organizations in order to stay on top. Regulations are constantly changing. You can never become complacent. And probably the best lesson along that line is as long as you stay a little paranoid, you'll be successful in this market. Always wonder what's going to happen next. Always look at the worst-case scenario.
I think there's a certain methodology that you have to follow in order to create federal presence. You have to have a product or service that's desirable, and understand where that fits in the government. And then it's also the personal network that you make through all those years. I think the thing that is probably my biggest strength is being able to understand what value I bring to the government and determining what agency to focus that attention . . .
Being a sales guy, I'm always motivated by the close. I enjoy meeting the customers at government agencies and locations and seeing things that most people will probably never see. And to be able to touch an F-16 aircraft or to stand on aircraft carriers. But the ultimate drive is to be successful. I travel five days a week and work 20-hour days during those five days. I limit myself to four hours of sleep. I guess you could say I'm a workaholic. But the weekends are for family. I turn off the cell phone, I don't look at the computer and I coach the kids in sports. While traveling, I have figured out a way to maintain contact with my family . . . I have a camera on my laptop that I use to talk and watch, which is fabulous.
-- Judith Mbuya