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Executive Spotlight: Stephanie Hill, Lockheed IS&GS President on the Federal Budget and Becoming an Engineer

Executive Spotlight: Stephanie Hill, Lockheed IS&GS President on the Federal Budget and Becoming an Engineer - top government contractors - best government contracting event

Hill_StephanieStephanie C. Hill serves as the president of Lockheed Martin's Information Systems & Global Solutions’ civil product line where she oversees a team of around 10,000 people.

She joined the company in 1987 as a software engineer and has served in various leadership roles, including VP of corporate internal audit.

Last year, Hill received the “career achievement in industry” from the Women of Color Science, Technology, Engineering and Math conference.

In her conversation with ExecutiveBiz, Hill discusses her work with STEM, a recent cloud contract with the EPA and what she sees as the government’s procurement priorities moving forward.

 

ExecutiveBiz:  As civilian president of information systems at Global Solutions, what are your responsibilities?

Stephanie C. Hill:  As president of the civil portion of Lockheed Martin, I have the privilege of serving all of the civilian, non-defense parts of the U.S. government and of the governments that we do business with internationally.  I also oversee a commercial business that serves the energy market, the health market and the cybersecurity market.

In that capacity, we do all kinds of things that range from air traffic management systems that control 60 percent of the world’s air space to controlling 80 percent of the world’s oceanic space.  We help the National Science Foundation ensure that more than 700 scientists have everything they need to complete their valuable research in Antarctica.

We work with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to help them from an infrastructure perspective, to be able to implement the Affordable Care Act in the most efficient and effective ways.

We have a wonderful team of about 10,000 employees who are in all 50 states and in eight countries who support us in supporting our customers’ vision.  As the president of the business, I’m responsible for ensuring that we are executing and delighting our customers and making sure that they’re successful in their missions as well as making sure that we’re taking care of the people, because it’s the people that help us to be able to get all of our work done.

 

ExecutiveBiz:  With the budget uncertainties currently straining GovCon, how do you intend to grow the unit that you’re in charge of?

Hill:  My main focus right now is on all of the great partnerships that we have with our federal civilian customers as they are going through this time of great budget uncertainty.  My team and I want to make sure that the solutions that we are offering to them are ones that enable them to achieve their critical missions for less cost.

We are proud to be the leader in providing information technology to the federal government for the past 18 years. We’re working with technology and we’re trying to ensure that our technological solutions enable their mission and give them cost savings so that they can take those savings back into the mission.  And that’s very key as we work with our customers through this very difficult time.

We have had success with delivering cost“‘saving efficiencies that have helped the customer.  As we look to growth, the federal budget is one that is under significant pressure.  And so we are also looking internationally.  And what’s very good about many of our solutions is that they have been implemented by the U.S. government with such successful outcomes, so international governments are very interested in those proven solutions.

And we’re also looking at the adjacent markets where we’re looking to expand to non-federal customers, as we support some of the nation’s imperatives which include energy, health, and cyber.

 

ExecutiveBiz:  What did it mean to you to win the STEM award in 2012?  How important is STEM to the future of science and math in this country?

Hill:  It was such an honor to be recognized especially because I consider myself an accidental engineer.

I didn’t intend to become an engineer out of college because I didn’t really know what an engineer did. I didn’t know any engineers. Nobody in my family was an engineer.  I didn’t have anybody, really, that was in my life to say, “Boy, engineering could be a good career.“  I knew I was really good at math and tried to find something that would utilize those skills.

After I decided to become an engineer, a number of people said to me, “Why are you going to be a software engineer?  That can’t be fun.“  And I think that thought process is still pervasive in the world, especially with the young people, especially with our women, and especially with our minorities.

So when I think about this award and what the Career Communications Group does as its mission, they try to highlight the true excitement of engineering and the career paths that are possible. I’ve worked for Lockheed Martin for 26 years.  Most of those years have been in the technological field, and I have never been bored. And I have had the opportunity to make a difference like I never imagined.  I want our young people to know that they can have a similar, rewarding experience!

I want our young people to understand this because ensuring we have a strong STEM pipeline is very important not only for our industry, but also for our country- so that we remain competitive in this global economy.

And so, for me, if this award inspired one person, a young woman, a young minority, or whomever to reconsider a career in STEM, then, I’m just more grateful than you can imagine for being recognized, and for the other people who were recognized, because it shines the spotlight on what it is possible. We owe it to our young people to show them the possibility in each of them!

 

ExecutiveBiz:  You’ve been in the industry for quite a while now. How do you think the industry has evolved during your years as an engineer and now as an executive at Lockheed?

Hill:  I’ll tell you that the idea of ensuring that we’re meeting the mission hasn't changed.  In the space that we have worked in and I’ve worked in “‘“‘ it was always very clear what the mission was and that people and the contractors who supported that mission were completely focused on the security and well-being of our Nation.

I think in the last 10 years, there has been a higher sensitivity and a laser focus on the budgets and making sure that we are delivering as cost effectively as we can.  And I think it’s very important.  Our customer's budgets are under greater pressure, while their mission responsibility is increasing.  At this time, we must be focused on solutions that deliver cost savings to our customers so that they can accomplish their missions more effectively.  We are committed to this partnership.

The other change that I think that we’ve seen, and it goes back to the STEM piece of it, needing to ensure that we have the right pipeline and a large enough pipeline of talent.  And we ““ industry, the federal government and academia – need to be very focused on making sure that that exists.

And so there is an even higher energy level around recommitting and doubling down, being in the community and helping to build that pipeline of talent, to be as innovative as we need our employees to be and as our customers need our employees to be, to be able to continue to deliver that mission as affordably as possible.

 

ExecutiveBiz:  Could you describe and talk about the recent contract that moved EPA to the Cloud?

Hill:  It was so exciting, because we really worked in complete partnership with the EPA on that project.  It was a technology advancement, where many of the government agencies are wanting to do this and EPA is one of the first to move their e“‘mail to the Cloud.  We really wanted to make sure that, from the very beginning “‘“‘ and when I say we, I mean that the entire team, the government team, the industry team “‘“‘ that we really made it successful right out of the gate.

To ensure success, we needed open communication and collaboration, working through challenges as they arose, and not being afraid to share what those challenges were, so that they were fixed very quickly.  Moving 22,000 employees from Lotus Notes to Cloud based e“‘mail was a tremendous feat.  And the partnership was what made it work.

The customer actually gave us a quote for the news release, and his quote affirmed for me that he felt the partnership that I felt. He said that we “exceeded his expectations and that there was excitement in the user community“¦“

Going back to your first and second question about my role and how we would grow the business — if we continue to be focused on partnership with our customers and helping them to be successful in their missions and give them money back in that process, at the end of the day, that’s what it’s really all about ““ Partnership and being completely focused on meeting your customer's goals!!

 

ExecutiveBiz:  What areas do you think will drive growth? What parts of government contracting, whether it be C4ISR or cloud:  What are the things that you’re looking at now?

Hill:  We’re looking at the huge challenge that our customers have in different areas with information overload.  I want to say data overload, and so, as you look at some of the challenges of so much information, in particularly the health market, and then needing to get information from that data for decision making, it’s a big focus for us.

And what’s on everybody’s mind? Cyber.  How can the cyber threat to our federal government be defused?  And we have a very differentiating capability that is resonating with our customers.

 

ExecutiveBiz:  As a senior“‘level executive at the biggest Gov“‘Con firm in the industry, what are you excited about for yourself?

Hill:  What really gets me excited is supporting our customers’ missions because what we do every day affects people lives, citizens’ lives.

And as I look at our future, we want to continue to partner with our current customers, as well as our new customers, to deliver solutions that really make a difference. And we will continue with our international expansion and our growth in the commercial adjacent market space.

I think it’s also exciting to talk about the 10,000 people that I have the privilege to work with. When I talk to many of them, I notice what gets them excited and keeps them dedicated and focused on is making sure that we really are helping our customers.  As a leader, there’s not a lot more energizing than knowing you’ve got a great mission that you’re supporting, that you’ve got a great team that’s completely focused and in the midst of all of that, your employee base is able to figure out how to find fulfilling careers.

It’s about touching people’s lives from a citizen perspective, touching people’s lives from an employee perspective, and that’s what takes excitement to the next level!

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Written by David J. Barton

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