John Steckel, vice president of Corporate Development at American Systems, one of the largest employee-owned federal contractors in the country, recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz regarding his appointment into a position with the company and its meaning to the future of the company.
In addition, Steckel also discussed the company culture as a significant driver of success as well as the influence of emerging technologies on every aspect of business in the federal sector, including how American Systems has been able to leverage those capabilities to stay ahead of innovation in the federal landscape during the latest Executive Spotlight interview.
“The combination of our strong culture and the responsibilities of my new role is very exciting. I not only have the ability to develop and implement tactical, operational, and strategic actions for growth; I do it within a culture where everyone in the company is personally accountable for sustained profitable growth. It really is a perfect climate.”
You can read the full interview with John Steckel below:
ExecutiveBiz: Congrats on recently assuming your new role as VP of Corporate Development at American Systems! What does this new role mean and what do you hope to accomplish with the company?
John Steckel: “The VP of Corporate Development is not only a new role for me, but also a new role at American Systems. For the last four years, I’ve served as VP of Business Development leading a very talented BD team in building our pipeline, winning new business, and growing the company.
In this new role, I not only maintain my BD responsibilities but have added responsibilities around our mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and legislative affairs. It’s an exciting opportunity where I wear multiple hats all aligned to growth.
My goal is to leverage these roles to bolster both our organic and inorganic growth efforts by working within our M&A processes to look for companies that complement our advanced engineering and IT services and fuel our continued growth.”
ExecutiveBiz: One of the key aspects of a company’s growth is its culture. What are the core values that are important to your company’s culture? How do these core values influence/impact your new role?
John Steckel: “I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years and have worked in some amazing companies. I feel American Systems has one of the strongest and more enduring cultures of any company I’ve worked for.
We’re 100% employee owned with one of the largest Employee Stock Ownership Plans, or ESOPs, in the country. Underlying our ESOP is a foundation of personal accountability where every employee-owner knows and understands their role and responsibilities to meet and exceed our goals around proposals submitted, bookings, and profit.
We measure those goals daily in what we call our Key Results with the ultimate objective of achieving sustained profitable growth. Why sustained profitable growth? Besides its obvious financial benefits, we feel it provides opportunity for all our employee-owners to have the opportunity for personal financial reward through our ESOP as well as opportunity for both personal and professional career growth.
The combination of our strong culture and the responsibilities of my new role is very exciting. I not only have the ability to develop and implement tactical, operational, and strategic actions for growth; I do it within a culture where everyone in the company is personally accountable for sustained profitable growth. It really is a perfect climate.”
ExecutiveBiz: With the influence of emerging technologies impacting every aspect of business, how has your company been able to leverage these emerging technologies to stay ahead of innovation in the federal landscape for yourself and your customers?
John Steckel: “We’ve always been a very strong engineering and IT services company, and we’re building on that to bring innovation to our customers.
Another aspect of our culture of accountability fosters innovation. And one of the areas we are innovating in is leveraging emerging technologies such as digital engineering, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and software development to provide value to our customers.
And this is more multi-dimensional than it seems. We’ve been around for over 45 years and over that time have developed a framework around providing consistent and repeatable results on all our programs. We call this framework Mission-Engaged Resources Geared for the Enterprise or MERGE.
We’ve incorporated emerging technologies into our framework where it makes sense for us and our customers. We have been practicing digital engineering for quite some time within some of our Navy programs.
Over time, we’ve developed our digital engineering framework called IDEAS. This framework incorporates our digital engineering practices and tools such as systems models forming the basis for future development and inclusion in the traditional systems engineering ‘V.’
But our approach is not necessarily all encompassing…we apply our digital engineering processes and tools in the “V” where it makes sense to reduce cost, decrease cycle time, and/or provide value to the customer.
Again, it’s a practical application that others may present simply as a theoretical approach. And it’s not just digital engineering. We’ve incorporated artificial intelligence/machine learning into our programs to help improve customer decision making.
And there’s more…we are using emerging technologies to improve how we operate as a business. From automated workflows running our processes to digitizing our procurement and teaming processes, we strive to incorporate technology wherever it makes sense to our customers.
Overall, American Systems is an amazing place to be.”