“You can't get anything done on your own–You have to build a great team”
EM: How did your experience land you where you are today?
Ted Davies: When I started with Booz Allen I was a consultant and in many ways “grew up” there, eventually becoming a partner in the firm. My move to Unisys was interesting because when I left Booz, it was a privately-held company and Unisys was publicly traded. At that time Booz was more of a consulting company and Unisys was an IT solutions company. It was a big transition and a very interesting learning experience in terms of the breadth of things that Unisys did and the environment in a public company. What I learned during this period was to make sure that you focus the energy and the talents of your team and to constantly build differentiation in what is an extremely competitive marketplace. Anybody who operates in this market knows how crowded it is and you need to bring a unique value proposition to everything you do. When I moved to Altamira, I got the chance to take all of those things that I had done and focus them on one part of the market. At Altamira, we are focused on the national security community. Our differentiated solutions and services are built around high-end data analytics and advanced engineering services. At Altamira I have a board of directors and investors, but am given the full responsibility to make decisions to drive the business forward. In this role, I have to be strategic and set a direction–and at the same time, achieve tactical outcomes. I always keep in mind that you can't get anything done on your own–You have to build a great team, continue to win and grow while at the same time drive profitability.
EM: In regards to national security, what are some of the biggest challenges that the agency is facing?
Ted Davies: The biggest challenge for the national security community is the continual evolution and expansion of the threats facing our country. This mission is becoming evermore complex and diverse. Amplifying that challenge is the fact that the technology landscape continues to change rapidly, so solutions that our adversaries might have used before are changing and things that we would bring to bear to combat them are also changing quickly. There is a war for talent within the government and between contractors that support them for people who possess the right skills and clearances. You throw on top of all these challenges sequestration, budget uncertainty and the reliance on continuing resolutions as well as the public debate over privacy–lump all that together and you have a pressure-packed environment. On the positive side, there are thousands of amazingly talented and committed people in both government and industry that work together everyday to combat this growing threat. The American people owe a huge debt to those that are in harm's way or those that support the people that are in harm's way. At Altamira, we are very proud to be part of that community.
EM: When dealing with unstructured data, what sort of opportunities do you see your customers using that and turning it to actual intelligence?
Ted Davies: Machine learning and automated intelligence are being applied to virtually every industry in the world today. The intelligence community is no different. We are at the forefront of this effort with many of our customers. Most often they start by deciding what data to use. When you have a mountain of data, what data do you want to look at? How can that data be synthesized and visualized? From there you develop an overall data analytics strategy, assessing and implementing tools and algorithms that make sense and more importantly, determine how to integrate new data streams from a diverse set of sources and in formats that continue to evolve quickly and tend to be customer-unique in many cases. We are proud of the work we are doing with the ODNI on how to apply machine learning to the FMV mission. We also have built a data analytics and visualization platform called Lumify which we are implementing for our customers and that gives them the opportunity to take advantage of some of these technologies and approaches. We see this area as a breaking wave that is going to continue to shape the way both the government and the intelligence community deal with the volume and diversity of data that is coming at them every day.
EM: Where do you see Altamira going in the next few years? What does the future look like?
Ted Davies: We are going to keep building on what we've successfully accomplished to date. We have a strategy to continue to deepen our core offerings around data analytics and advanced engineering. We want to continue to expand our footprint to new agencies within the intelligence community. Over the next year we will begin to apply the skills and capabilities that we have built to support IC missions to others in the national security community including the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice. We will continue to pay close attention to what our customers need and are agile enough to bring innovation through introduction of new mission partners – smaller companies that don't have great access to the IC marketplace but have very relevant and interesting solutions. Our differentiated people-based programs allow us to attract, develop and retain great people. If we can't continue to do that, we aren't going to be able to accomplish anything for our customers. Focusing on people will remain a core part of the strategy moving forward.
EM: Do you have anything else to add?
Ted Davies: I think it is an extremely exciting and dynamic time in our marketplace. There was a time 20 years ago when it was a much more stable environment, traditional business models existed and things were sold on relationships. Today, companies that focus on their evolving customer needs, that are able to build differentiation and really truly focus on people are going to be successful. That is a challenge and opportunity for everybody.
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