Joseph Ciano serves as vice president of business development and strategy for Lockheed Martin Information Systems and Global Solutions (IS&GS)-Civil where he runs the BD function of the $3.5 billion business unit.
The 11-year company veteran has served in a number of roles at the Bethesda, Md-based firm including Deputy to the VP of BD for IS&GS National in his previous position and helping to grow Lockheed Martin Information Technology from a $100 million to a $1.1 billion business.
Ciano retired as a lieutenant colonel from the Marine Corps after serving for more than 20 years and has worked for HP and MicroStrategy in various management roles.
In his conversation with ExecutiveBiz, Ciano discussed how Lockheed Martin plans to expand its commercial footprint, how federal budget uncertainties are affecting his business and the company’s ongoing international expansion.
Executive Biz: What is your role at Lockheed and how is your team comprised?
Joseph Ciano: I am vice president of business development and strategy for Lockheed Martin Information Systems and Global Solutions (IS&GS) – Civil. At IS&GS-Civil, we work with civilian government agencies in the U.S., as well as international government clients. We are a big business — a $3 billion dollar organization. We have 10,000 employees in 40-plus states and 8 countries around the world. Our business development team is comprised of 60-plus individuals; our job is to work with our clients and make sure we are delivering value through innovative solutions and approaches.
Executive Biz: As such a large business, how have current federal budget uncertainties affected your role as a leader? How are you positioning your unit for growth?
Ciano: Sequestration has really posed a lot of uncertainty for the federal government as well as corporations that service the government. However there has never been a greater opportunity in the last 10 years to work with clients and partner in the delivery of innovative solutions, cost effective strategies and different business models.
For those companies that are nimble and creative, there is more opportunity now than I’ve seen in a long time simply because the market is so fluid. I really do believe it’s a great market. And we’re seeing that now; we have strong engagements with our clients and work with them to solve their complex problems.
Executive Biz: How are you preparing Lockheed to take advantage of current market opportunities?
Ciano: At Lockheed Martin IS&GS-Civil, we have 10 to 12 core U.S. government customers. A lot of these agencies are dealing with demanding fiscal requirements that have been placed on them. Given today’s budget pressures, it’s more important than ever to maintain our strong performance, work to anticipate our customers’ needs and provide creative and cost-effective solutions. We are also focused on expanding into international and adjacent markets, such as health, energy and cyber security.
There are many opportunities out there, but you have to be extremely focused on where you want to apply your resources.
Executive Biz: Where do you see your business evolving internationally?
Ciano: We are focused on engagements with governments in the U.K. and Australia this year. In the UK, we have further expanded our range of Information Technology (IT) cloud computing services available to government customers. In Australia, we are bidding on the country’s next-generation air traffic system that will support the civilian component of travel, plus the military.
At the same time, we’re looking at opportunities of working with customers in Canada and with certain clients in the Middle East. Our goal is to bring proven technologies, capabilities and cost-effective solutions that we have developed in the U.S. to other countries.
Executive Biz: What other markets are you looking to grow your footprint in?
Ciano: The government is always going to be an extraordinarily important customer for us. I’m a retired Marine Corps officer, so I’m very proud of what Lockheed Martin does in serving the United States.
But, as you look beyond the Department of Defense, and beyond the civilian agencies, Lockheed Martin is moving into a lot of new areas, where we’re again taking proven technologies, methodologies and models and bringing them to commercial markets such as civilian healthcare and energy. In my business, we’ll probably do nearly $200 million in commercial energy, including energy efficiency offerings, smart grid, and cyber protection. A few years ago, it was less than $20 million. It’s a very exciting part of our business.
We are also working in commercial cyber. We are taking the skills and technologies that we’ve learned in support of the government to select Fortune 500 companies and working with them to make their information systems and their key infrastructure more secure. Our cyber intelligence tools keep network defenders one step ahead of would-be attackers by tracking their tactics, analyzing their actions and anticipating what they’ll do next.
Those are some examples of the very exciting areas that we are moving into, and I kind of get goose bumps thinking about it because of the opportunities for our talented workforce. To work in commercial business, commercial healthcare, commercial energy, cyber, as well as all different U.S. government agencies and governments around the world: we are working with a lot of clients. It’s a really varied and exciting environment for us. If you can’t get excited about something in our organization, I don’t know what can get you excited. We really think we’re in a great space.
Executive Biz: How was your transition from the Marine Corps and public sector service over to private industry?
Ciano: I attended college at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, and upon graduation, I selected the Marine Corps. It was always something that I had wanted to do, and I served for 20-plus years. What I learned there that translates into my Lockheed Martin job is a commitment to the mission.
The Marine Corps is a very selfless type of organization that is very committed to working as a team. You are a team. You work together. There is a ton of camaraderie. You want to get the job done and you take great pride in that. And I find, being at Lockheed Martin, that those types of characteristics and attributes are very important to me and how I approach my work. We’re superbly led by Civil’s Vice President Stephanie C. Hill. She’s a charismatic leader that we want to follow and she leads by example. I find that to be similar to the attributes that I learned in the Marine Corps.
Executive Biz: What are you most excited about moving forward?
Ciano: I am very proud to be part of a company that is the leader in providing information technology to the federal government, and I’m excited about applying our expertise to commercial markets, expanding our international footprint and continuing our work in health, energy and cyber.
It’s really about serving our customers and giving them one heck of a great solution or outcome that’s going to benefit regular people. People that get their healthcare benefits, people that are dependent on the Social Security Administration, people that depend on the Department of Energy. Doing all the right things that the Department of Homeland Security needs to protect our country. Supporting these missions gives me tremendous satisfaction.
I’m also excited about the opportunities to partner with small-and-medium-sized businesses in the community and globally. Lockheed Martin is a great prime, a great company to work with. We always pay on time, we’re reliable, and we’re pretty easy to work with.
Our success is a result of a talented and dedicated workforce. So I really feel a commitment to them and their career growth. That’s why I’m creating opportunities for early-to-mid-career employees to have pretty significant leadership positions. We’ve stood up an IDIQ (i.e. task order) business, and we have two early-to-mid-career employees running that business. That’s unheard of in a major corporation. I believe we need to invest in our talent because an exceptional workforce is what helps set us apart in an increasingly competitive environment.