Garcia previously spent 14 years with the National Security Agency and served the U.S. Air Force and Air Force Reserves for 25 years.
In his interview with ExecutiveBiz, Garcia discussed challenges to penetrating the intelligence market, his transition from the military to private industry and new technologies Harris is developing for its federal customers.
ExecutiveBiz: Please describe your position of Vice President for Intelligence Programs at Harris CapRock?
Oz Garcia Jr: I’m responsible for sales for the company throughout all the 16 agencies that comprise the intelligence community.
I also oversee the facility and operations to an extent here in the Hanover, MD, office.
We provide end-to-end managed communications services, which include satellite, terrestrial and wireless solutions and equipment.
ExecutiveBiz: Can you explain your company’s recent UHF end-to-end service?
Oz Garcia: Harris CapRock teamed with Astrium Services to build the industry’s first end-to-end commercial UHF service.
As Astrium Services’ global channel partner, we’re offering dedicated 25 kHz and 5 kHz satellite channels throughout the Skynet fleet of military-grade geosynchronous communications satellites. Users will benefit from the significant added capability to split channels into multiple networks for simultaneous users. The service leverages strengths from throughout the Harris family to offer a comprehensive, next-generation technology solution. Several prevalent models of Harris radios, such as the Falcon II® and Falcon III® product lines, are compatible with the service.
ExecutiveBiz: Considering the current budget climate and with sequestration possibly coming into effect, is your ability to sell being altered?
Oz Garcia: The intelligence community is always a difficult market, mainly because of the nature of what we sell – primarily tactical services that fit more into the war fighter’s realm, not necessarily into the intelligence community mission.
While there are likely always going to be budgetary concerns, because of the vital importance of intelligence to the leadership here in the U.S., I don’t see a huge impact, especially in our market.
ExecutiveBiz: How do you organize your team for greatest efficiency?
Oz Garcia: I delegate them by agencies. When you’re serving the intelligence community, it’s really important to have people that have an understanding of the individual agencies. Each one is very unique just like each military service is unique. I retired from the Air Force. We were much different from the Marine Corps.
So I seek team members that either have a strong background with a designated agency as government employees, or have worked with the specific agency for a number of years. This ensures we understand each agency’s culture and understand their buying habits, the touch points.
ExecutiveBiz: How long were you in the Air Force and what did it teach you about being an executive in GovCon?
Oz Garcia: I served 25 total years. I did 10 ½ years on active duty and then another 15 years in the reserves, with a total of 20 what we call good years that counted towards retirement.
When you’re commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force, you’re given responsibility that I found that mid-level managers that have been working in the government for 10 years were just getting.
I started out as the Chief of Readiness and Logistics in a Civil Engineer Squadron. I also spent four years as a Minuteman III Missile Combat Crew Commander with the Minuteman III Command Data Buffer weapon system.
Upon returning to the Civil Engineer career field, I was assigned to the NSA as a Military Construction (MILCON) Project Manager. Half-way through my tour I was offered a civilian position, and finished up my military career on the Headquarters Air Staff at the Pentagon as a major MILCON project manager. I was given a lot of responsibility as an officer in the Air Force, and that really helped me when I transitioned into government and then the corporate world.
I was fortunate enough while I was in the government to be part of several executive-level development programs, multiyear development programs where I was able to move around to different organizations and go to different agencies. I spent a year at the Pentagon and spent three years overseas in England.
ExecutiveBiz: How important is it to have been in the military in some form before becoming an executive in GovCon?
Oz Garcia: I don’t want to speak in generalities. In my instance, it was invaluable because of the leadership training that I got at a very young age. The Air Force was very good at developing their officers. Depending upon where you were in your career, you were given more and more levels of responsibility.
I find that many industry executives that are very effective have been prior military officers or senior enlisted personnel.
ExecutiveBiz: Do you have any recommendations for people transitioning from the military to the private sector?
Oz Garcia: First of all, industry is not the military. You’ve got to remember that. You need to bring with you the discipline and the leadership skills you developed.
You need to leave behind the fact that you were the Captain and they were the Sergeant. That kind of mentality doesn’t work well in the private sector.
You do need to bring the teamwork. The military taught us teamwork from the start. Nothing happened individually, everything happened as a team. And those people that remember that and can transition that over, in my opinion, do very well on the outside.
ExecutiveBiz: Are there any specific technologies that you sell or your company is developing that you’d like to talk about?
Oz Garcia: Harris has developed .95-meter and 1.3-meter tri-band antennas that offer portability with an airline-checkable solution. The terminals use electronics, components and hardware common to several terminals within Harris CapRock’s product portfolio. This eases training, operation, logistics, repair and maintenance. Additionally, we’re introducing Reconn, a mobile SATCOM toolkit that combines several standard field equipment tools into one 10-pound unit.
I know people out there are familiar with our radios. People in the military will say that Harris products do not fail in the field. When the bullets are flying and the bombs are going off, they can always rely that their Harris products are going to operate and operate well.
So those antennas and Reconn will be robust, they’ll be ruggedized and they’ll provide the assured communications that we’re known for.
ExecutiveBiz: Is there anything you wanted to say about your personal life or your job that we haven’t covered?
Oz Garcia: I’m really privileged to be able to work for Harris CapRock. It’s a business that values quality. They’re incredibly ethical. They do what needs to be done to ensure that the mission doesn’t fail. We may even at times incur an expense that we might not be able to recoup, to ensure that our customers’ mission is successful.
Also, I can’t say enough about the culture here at Harris CapRock and Harris as a whole. It’s just a wonderful company to work for and I couldn’t envision working anywhere else.