Executive Spotlight: An Interview With Bradley Feldmann, Chairman, President and CEO of Cubic Corporation

ExecutiveBiz spoke with Bradley Feldmann about Cubic Corporation’s recent contract wins, aggressive growth strategy and where he sees the 2018 federal services market heading.

“Put simply, ‘One Cubic’ is a collaboration, sharing strategy with a hybrid approach. So, on the one hand, we want to be decentralized with our businesses close to the customer to ensure speed and intimacy. On the other, the back office can be centralized so we can leverage it for maximum efficiency.” 

ExecutiveBiz:  I see you that you returned to Cubic in 2008 and have held responsibilities in overall strategy, performance and operations. Can you give our readers some perspective on your career and how you got to where you are today?

Bradley Feldmann: I went into the military through the Air Force Academy. My last posting, I was at Ramstein AFB and my job was to bed down communications equipment, as part of a program called TRI-TAC [Joint Tactical Communications]. I was to represent command and, while there, I learned about the acquisition community by interacting with acquisition program managers. I learned there’s some bureaucracy and that gave me perspective about users and specifying requirements, as well as being an in-country program manager.

I got recruited to Cubic in 1989 and was very fortunate to have good bosses and be able to hold different kinds of jobs. I started out working for the chief operating officer in defense and was involved with program control, which let me throw out the flag when programs would go off the rails, as well as help ensure we had good planning.

That led to some other positions and I became involved with the software quality department and information technology. Then, I ran the logistics profit and loss programs in defense, ultimately becoming a program director. I oversaw various product lines across the company and was chief operating officer when I left in 1999.

Years later, I ended up as COO at Omniplex, a security company, when I received a call about coming back to Cubic. I always really liked the people at Cubic, liked what we were doing – we were the prime contractor about 90 percent of the time – and felt there was an opportunity to make a difference. I’ve been here almost 10 years now.

ExecutiveBiz: You recently attended the 39th Annual Aerospace/Defense Conference in New York as a speaker alongside Cubic EVP/CFO Anshooman Aga. How did it go? Can you give our readers some highlights?

Bradley Feldmann: We’ve won several contracts in the last eight months, so I was sharing our momentum. In October, we won our recompete in New York to provide an upgraded fare system. With options, it’s over a billion dollars and these contracts usually grow, so we’re very fortunate to have that partnership. Right around the same time, we won a similar-sized contract in Boston and are in the middle of working out the financial arrangements.

We received an over $61 million-recompete award in November to support the Army’s Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk, Louisiana. And then, in early January we received a full rate production go-ahead for our GATR product. GATR is an inflatable satellite communications ground terminal used by the U.S. Army for their T2C2 [Transportable Tactical Command Communications] program.

In addition, we recently acquired a company called MotionDSP, a Silicon Valley-based artificial intelligence company that will help us enhance our full motion video processing capabilities. In terms of growing the company, we have an objective called Goal 2020 to reach $2 billion in revenue by 2020 via organic growth and company acquisitions.

ExecutiveBiz: Where do you see Cubic delivering the most value in 2018?

Bradley Feldmann: When Congress passed the continuing resolution, it also approved a budget cap waiver for the next couple of years. So, we’re excited there’s visibility regarding the defense budget which creates opportunities for us. I mentioned transportation previously, and I think there’s great growth there. We have a bid out in Brisbane, Australia, and are about to put out one in San Francisco. We’re seeing some exciting things regarding establishing a transportation platform in Los Angeles, where the tap card can be used for all transportation needs.

We’re also doing some things with joint aerial layer networks, which is sort of like putting ethernet in the sky. We won a JCTD [joint compatibility technology demonstration] with the Air Force for a high-capacity backbone that can support those networks. We’re also making investments in defense training, combining live, virtual and constructive simulation techniques to provide fighter pilots more stress using synthetic threats.

ExecutiveBiz: You have championed major initiatives within Cubic such as IdeaSpark, an internal innovation social ecosystem. What can you tell our readers about this?

Bradley Feldmann: IdeaSpark is a platform that allows us to collect employee ideas on what our customers need, what their “pain points” are. Our employees enter these ideas and we have staged reviews of them. First, the tech council meets to determine if the idea has legs and, if so, they make investment bets of long-term, short-term, incremental and game-changer. And then, they fund those ideas, generally starting out small. We call ideas funded in this way seedlings.  As we are a technology company, innovation is our life blood and has always been key to our growth.

We try to encourage teams to get customer input to hone the ideas. As you know, it’s very seldom that an idea at the upfront is the idea on the back end, as the idea gets better and more focused. Today, we have about 30 projects going on, with millions of dollars invested in each of them. We meet with each team regularly.  Additionally, every six months we look at our portfolio and make sure that we’re headed in the right direction in terms of overall investment. Since it has helped us devise better solutions in our proposals, we’ve noticed we’re winning more. It’s a key tool in growing the company.

ExecutiveBiz: In a LinkedIn article you published last year you wrote: “I am very passionate about living ‘One Cubic’ and ‘Winning the Customer.’” What do these phrases mean to you?

Bradley Feldmann: We know that businesses only exist to serve customers and we use “winning” with an “-ing” to suggest that we’re not just about winning once; we need to win all the time. We want to have: all our deliverables made early to the customer; faster innovation than the competition; absolute responsiveness; and empathy for our customers. Our customers have rules they’re bound by, so we want to be receptive whenever they have a need. And we’re working very hard at those behaviors.

In terms of living “One Cubic,” we’re trying to put everything in the business into a single system. We now have one SAP [systems, applications and products] that supports our global operations. For example, we went from seven supply chains to one and from seven factories to two. Put simply, One Cubic is a collaboration, sharing strategy with a hybrid approach. So, on the one hand, we want to be decentralized with our businesses close to the customer to ensure speed and intimacy. On the other, the back office can be centralized so we can leverage it for maximum efficiency.

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Bradley Feldmann is an active member of the National Defense Industrial Association, serving as a board member, executive committee member and finance committee chair. He is also an executive committee member of the Aerospace Industries Association, as well as National Association of Corporate Directors fellow and is the finance committee chair on UrbanLife’s board. Last year, the San Diego Business Journal named Feldmann their “Most Admired CEO.”


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