As a 29-year U.S. Navy veteran and retired two-star admiral, Integrity Applications Inc. Senior Vice President Vic See is representative of the Chantilly, Va.-based work force where close to 45 percent of all employees bring a military background to their job.
See led the Navy’s space acquisition community while in the service and also served as commander of the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command’s space field activity and as the Navy’s program executive officer for space systems.
In this conversation with ExecutiveBiz, See told us about his role in expanding IAI’s customer base and locations, the impact of the firm’s recent acquisition of Pacific Defense Solutions, and the significance of the company’s position on an air and space intelligence contract.
ExecutiveBiz: What have your priorities been since you joined IAI four years ago?
Vic See: I joined IAI in March 2009 and since then the company has had good growth each year. My priorities have been pretty consistent since I joined. I work for the IAI president and the board of directors, and I help to manage all the program operations to satisfy our existing customer requirements.
I also help the company expand into new customer areas so that we can broaden the company’s portfolio. We were founded 14 years ago on the premise of hiring high‑quality people that were technical experts in their field to work the nation’s toughest problems.
And in our industry, the recent trend has been to downplay expert talent and move markets toward lowest price technically‑acceptable.
So, one of the roles I’ve taken on for the company is to continue to work with our customer base and to assist them in helping them to understand and appreciate the continued need for expert technical talent that a company like IAI can bring them.
IAI recently acquired Pacific Defense Solutions in Hawaii, and our mutual success is based on the fundamental understanding of a culture of excellence and exceeding our customer expectations in everything we do. We hope to continue to do that with this new acquisition as well.
ExecutiveBiz: IAI has opened several new offices recently. What does that mean for you and your company?
Vic See: We want to be located where we can best serve our customers and we’re broadening our customer base. As we continue to do that, it requires us to open up new offices and have an increase of resources and people. Just last year, we opened offices in Dayton and Albuquerque.
I assist program operations in making sure the new offices are integrated seamlessly into our businesses. We just delivered a prime proposal to the National Air and Space Intelligence Center at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton for the Advanced Technical Exploitation Program 2, or ATEP 2, and that’s a big support contract.
That’s an IDIQ contract worth up to $960 million over the next few years.
ATEP-II is expected to be awarded sometime in the summer of 2014. That’s big, and is a strong driver for opening the Dayton office. We had people in Dayton working various programs, but this is a prime contract. And we hope we’re going to do well there.
Down in Albuquerque, we’ve had an increase in requirements for IAI people in Operationally Responsive Space, AFRL and the Space and Missile Center work that’s going on there. So, a good reason to open an office in Albuquerque.
We’ll continue to look at our business base. And if we broaden to new customers we will make the assessments on when is the right time to look at opening other offices.
ExecutiveBiz: How does IAI plan to use the Pacific Defense Solutions acquisition as part of its space market push?
Vic See: IAI is always looking at opportunities. And in some of the business areas that we work, we plan to use Pacific Defense Solutions as part of our efforts to grow some of our space offerings.
We’re going to consolidate PDS, which is in Kihei, Maui, and their technologies into our engineering and software service offerings to help us actually work current opportunities and seek new opportunities.
We’re going to leverage PDS’s capabilities to deliver more space situational awareness and space control capabilities products, tools, and resources to our customers.
And we’re going to integrate a lot of PDS’s capabilities into our system engineering integration and acquisition groups at IAI. So it’s a good match for us on both sides on the table.
ExecutiveBiz: What unique things can veteran‑owned businesses like IAI bring to agencies?
Folks with this background have a unique perspective on how to deliver the most innovative solutions to the DOD customers and the intelligence customers. Veterans bring a very unique perspective.
They understand what’s required to fully integrate and appreciate all the steps needed to guarantee or ensure mission success, which is a very key goal that we all strive for.
IAI also has a contingent of folks in the Guard and Reserve, which we leverage as well, because they have good great connections with their Reserve/Guard organizations.
IAI was recognized by the Secretary of Defense as a winner of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Freedom Award in 2011. The Secretary of Defense gives out 15 awards each year to companies that take great care of their Guard and Reserve. That was a great recognition for the company.
In the current environment and dynamic of federal contracting, companies that have veterans have highly skilled individuals that can be flexible to meet the changing demand. This is key to helping our company as well as other companies be successful.
ExecutiveBiz: What advice do you have for others that move from the military into the GovCon sector?
Vic See: First of all, it’s important to understand that the skills and talent that you’ve acquired in your career as a military officer or civilian in the services translate to industry.
Their missions are to organize, train and equip our forces to be successful and we want to do the same thing when we leave the service. Those skills are equally required in the industry to ensure mission success. That’s a key talent that people that are transitioning out of the military can bring to industry.
It’s important for individuals to do their homework, do the proper research, look at the companies, look at the history, look at what they do, look at their missions to try and ensure that you have a good fit.
For me, I spent a lot of time interviewing with companies, doing my research, talking to other people, and IAI delivered a great environment, wonderful people, incredible culture, very family‑friendly atmosphere, but also lots of opportunities to make a difference and to contribute to organizations for mission success, I think this is something that we’re all well aware is paramount for the nation.
IAI was recognized as a great place to work by Fortune Magazine and The Great Place to Work Institute in 2012 as the number two, best medium company in the country to work for. The rankings are based a lot upon what I’m talking about, taking great care of your people while insuring mission success is most important.
Customer success is our top priority. We’ve also been recognized just recently by Washingtonian Magazine as one of the top 50 best companies to work for in the DC area. But again, I recommend doing your homework and bring the skills you’ve garnered in your career so that you can leverage that in your industry job; in as many ways, shapes, and forms, to make your company successful.