It’s been less than two months since Ted Davies assumed the ranks as president of Unisys Federal Systems, and already his vision is in sharp focus. “I think we are going to get more excitement in the hallways here “” and I think the industry is going to see that as well,” says Davies. Recently Davies sat down with us to discuss these and other issues, including one that’s on everyone’s mind: what the change in administration will mean for Unisys and other companies within the government contracting community.
Tell us some of your new priorities and responsibilities.
Ted Davies: Since becoming president of Unisys Federal Systems barely two months ago, my focus has been on continuing to build a world-class team and streamlining what we do. It's a complex business, so the easier that I can make it for folks to do their jobs, the better we are going to do. That's what I'm working on right now.
How did your previous job as vice president of civilian agencies help prepare you?
Ted Davies: In the past, I've done a lot of work in the defense field, and I've been the leader for the civilian marketplace at Unisys for the past five years. Also when I was a partner at Booz Allen I managed a horizontal team. So I am familiar with leading services that cut across client domains, because I've seen both sides of this equation. That is the model that I'm trying to build here “” leveragability of solutions across marketplaces combined with deep client domain knowledge.
What, if anything, surprised you about your new role?
Ted Davies: Well, I didn't anticipate a new boss right away! The day after I started, my new boss “” our CEO “” was announced. It's been great working with Ed Coleman. He's an industry veteran who's turned around a number of businesses. He brings a very open approach to the company, and a fresh point of view. That was probably the biggest thing that I hadn't anticipated and a healthy change for us.
With a new administration, any changes to your business model?
Ted Davies: The business model is going to stay the same. President-Elect Obama and his administration are still going to have the same challenges to tackle; it's just about how they get it done. They have to wrestle with the financial crisis and its continuing impact on our economy. The global war on terror is not going anywhere. I think we are going to see an increased focus on cyber-security, and healthcare reform will be a focus area.
How do you plan to stay relevant to your clients?
Ted Davies: With the presidential transition, our clients are going to be under increased budget scrutiny and pressure. So any solution we bring forward has to help them get their mission accomplished at a lower cost. We have to focus on that to remain relevant.
How would you describe your leadership style?
Ted Davies: Very open. People find me easy to approach and work with. If you focus on allowing people to grow and achieve their goals, then I believe they will work to make clients successful. I also want to ensure that we have a performance-based culture. We must make sure we are rewarding folks for stepping up and doing a good job. Finally, I am focused on developing a leadership team that is positive and confident, mirroring my own personal style.
What's your favorite part of a typical day?
Ted Davies: I love working with our people to come up with better approaches to meeting our clients' needs. I also love helping our employees grow in their aspirations. I love to see the light bulbs go on when they get a new idea and we figure out how to take advantage of it. That's what keeps me coming to work.
If you could go back in your career and do something differently what would it be?
Ted Davies: I can't say that there is anything that I would do differently. I have enjoyed working with many different people, many different clients, and doing a lot of different things. I like the variety I have had in my career. I can't really say that I would change any of that; it has all prepared me for where I am today.
What's the most fun you have had at work?
Ted Davies: Building a business, building a team and delivering results for our clients. That's the most fun. I'd also add that I've done some really exciting charity and community work over the years, which I have found incredibly fulfilling. I really enjoy those and I want to build that into the culture as well.
What keeps you up at night?
Ted Davies: Not enough time in the day. There is just way too much to do. This is a big job. There's a lot to do to move the organization forward and I've set very aggressive plans for the first 30 to 90 days. We are trying to achieve those goals at the same time as we end our fiscal year December 31st. So we are finishing this year up and planning for next year. That's what keeps me up at night “” thinking through all of the things we have to accomplish.
What's something most people don't know about you?
Ted Davies: I'm an avid sports fanatic. I like to watch football, baseball and other major events but I also have become a very active runner. I run 10-milers and half marathons, and I was a rugby player for a lot of years, as well as a rugby coach.
Interview with Tom Davies was conducted by JD Kathuria
Read more interviews here: https://blog.executivebiz.com/category/interviews/