Tina Dolph on ASRC Federal’s Data Analytics Initiatives, Her First 7 Months at Company

TinaDolphTina Dolph started another chapter of her 20-year GovCon market career in January when she joined ASRC Federal as president of the Beltsville, Md.-based company’s information and technical solutions operating group.

In prior executive roles at PAE, Dolph led efforts to integrate Computer Sciences Corp.’s applied technology division after PAE purchased that organization in 2013.

Dolph recently spoke to ExecutiveBiz for an in-depth conversation on her first seven months at ASRC Federal, the government services market’s current shape and the company’s work in the data analytics field for agencies.

ExecutiveBiz: What led you to join the company and what have you focused on since?

Tina Dolph: The thing that initially drew me to ASRC Federal was its success in the marketplace, especially now during a challenging time in the federal market. 2014 was successful for ASRC Federal subsidiaries in their new business growth, program operations tempo and performance for clients, which made it a very attractive organization in my eyes.

But what really convinced me to join the team was the culture that I found here as I began to meet the leadership. ASRC Federal is a subsidiary of an Alaskan native-owned corporation and our operations are grounded in the culture of our shareholders, which is pretty amazing.

The culture is built on integrity, respect for others, high-performance, cooperation and family, amongst others. Those values guide all the decisions made in the day-to-day business operations. Once I met the team and learned about them, I wanted to be part of this culture.

Besides getting up to speed and learning about the company, since I got here I have been focused on growth. I’ve been lucky that I inherited a group of very strong performers. I am in a position where I don’t have a lot to fix and I can focus on growth.

ExecutiveBiz: How would you describe the government services market’s current shape and how do you see it evolving in the year ahead?

Tina Dolph: The government services market is driven by the need for efficiency and the desire for integration. ASRC Federal companies are uniquely positioned to service those things. We bring an understanding of both the mission-side of our customers’ programs and the technology solutions that deliver both efficiency and integration to our customers. I think there is such a reliance today on technology and data in the market.

Our customers are looking for cost-effective, turn-key solutions as the government tries to be more efficient. We are seeing a transformation in how services are procured and delivered, especially through IDIQs and GWACs. So, as you look at the political and international events that are occurring around us, business-as-usual mentality won’t make you successful.

What will make an organization successful, is being able to deliver and integrate technology advancements faster and in a more efficient manner. ASRC Federal’s subsidiaries are leading the way in helping our customers upgrade and modernize their IT infrastructure to keep pace with their internal and external system demands.

We focus on ensuring that the right analytical tools are available and implemented properly. We help our customers make sense of the data they have in the most cost-effective way possible while placing the strongest emphasis on integrity of that data.

ExecutiveBiz: Which trends in data analytics are you watching?

Tina Dolph: Information is everywhere today. Our world has changed so fast and the volume, variety and velocity of data keep getting bigger and faster everyday. More and more we see our customers face the challenge of making sense of all the data they generate and acquire, and providing their stakeholders access to that data. We are watching three data analytics trends to help better understand our customers’ requirements.

The first one is related to the cloud. Everybody talks about the cloud and how will that affect us going forward. We think about how commercial cloud solutions like Amazon Redshift or Google BigQuery and data analytics services like IBM’s Bluemix cloud platform is going to evolve in the federal market space. We see a desire by government agencies to use those products. Part of our job is to help figure out how they can do that in an efficient manner.

Another trend is the integration of hardware and software for analytics. Here, we focus on understanding the different advanced analytic OEM offerings for our customers and the hardware that is pre-integrated and optimized to run an advanced analytic workload.

The third trend is the emergence of open source tools and applications. NoSQL generation platforms such as Cassandra and Norton Works are being rapidly deployed, so we track packaged applications and development tools that will become market leaders in these new platforms. Our goal for data analytics services is to ensure that we facilitate and enable greater insights in integration of new systems and their behavior on enterprise ecosystems.

Finally, recent public events have shown what happens when data is compromised. We pay close attention to that as well to help our customers mitigate against that risk going forward.

ExecutiveBiz: Which business support services do agencies seek from ASRC Federal?

Tina Dolph: ASRC Federal’s subsidiaries provide a variety of services to multiple agencies, like supporting the next generation of human space through our engineering group. Our focus is always on helping our customers execute their missions day to day. I’m running the information and technical solutions group and one our focus areas is mission-enabling IT.

Our data center and our network operations teams can be found at many agencies such as NASA, DEA and DoD. An example of the services we provide at one of our customers’ sites — we manage 200 servers, about 500 work stations, 5.5 exabytes of classified and unclassified data storage and over 280,000 data items. High-performing computing, analysis and visualization is another growth area we are focusing on based on customer demand.

There is just so much data out there. We are working with our customers to ensure the highest quality access throughout the entire data life cycle. Our expertise as a vendor and a platform diagnostic integrator affords us a deep understanding of the service and business management requirements in a hybrid heterogeneous environment, not only for big data or cloud environments but across the spectrum of support services.

Our ability to take a holistic approach in quickly integrating proven commercial technologies while providing expertise in functional support areas such as data generation, collection, transport, computation, storage, analysis and security ensures that we are value-add.

ExecutiveBiz: Where do you see more opportunity for public-private collaboration?

Tina Dolph: We are always looking for opportunities to bring more business to our customers’ sites. Often, we see that agencies will have the infrastructure in place for private companies to test their proof of concept or utilize a supercomputing capability to run analytics. It is really a win-win situation in that we can help build capacity in the public sector.

We’ve promoted the Cryogenics Test Lab at NASA Kennedy for example, as well as the wind tunnel research facilities at NASA Ames. HPC is another area that lends itself to public-private partnership.We are currently facilitating NASA’s implementation of Amazon Cloud Services — everything from requirements gathering, benchmarking to deployment.

The goal is to create a secure, collaborative and scientific computation-intensive platform that brings new tools to the research community in many different disciplines. Moving forward, there is a real synergy and desire between academia and the public and private sectors to collaborate and bring forth best practices in the high-performance computing arena.

I see those three sectors together at conferences, openly exchanging and sharing ideas, which I think will lead to stronger partnerships in the future. Our experience in working with stakeholders in the HPC market space positions us to continue delivering cost-effective high-performance computing solutions and further advancing our private-public collaboration.

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