Meet Maggie Bauer, VP and General Manager of Enterprise Technologies, High Performance Technologies Group at Dynamics Research Corporation. Bauer is an accomplished women in the federal contracting business who recently won the “Best Executive” Stevie Award for Women in Business. Last year, DRC acquired HPTi and Bauer says the acquisition is going smoothly and it puts DRC in a good position to keep succeeding during these uncertain financial times.
“The whole federal contracting space is probably more challenging than it has been in a long time due to the overall economy”
WashingtonExec had a chance to speak with Bauer about her accomplishments and the new acquisition of HPTi. She spoke to us freely about her career and her concerns about how the federal budget will impact the contracting community.
WashingtonExec: What did you think when you won the best executive Stevie Award for Women in Business?
Maggie Bauer: It was very exciting for me to be in a room that was full of such accomplished women. There were a number of finalists in a wide array of technical and services categories, women in all different types of fields doing really exciting things. It was particularly gratifying to be a selected as a winner from a field of such distinguished and accomplished women.
WashingtonExec: What do you think would be the biggest challenge DRC will face in the next five years?
Maggie Bauer: Our challenge is really shared by all firms in the federal IT business and I would say it is what we’ve seen happening with the federal budget. We’ve seen continuing resolutions continue longer and longer throughout the year, which has an impact on our customers’ ability to release requirements for new work. The whole federal contracting space is probably more challenging than it has been in a long time due to the overall economy. Last year, HPTi was acquired by DRC. The good news is that now that DRC has new capabilities and a broader base from which to work we are better positioned to deliver a wider range of services to our clients when we do see new RFPs released.
WashingtonExec: How is the acquisition of HPTi going?
Maggie Bauer: It is going really well. I have the unenviable history of having been through five acquisitions and I would say that this is the smoothest, most thoughtful, and the most deliberative – and when I say deliberative I mean there’s no knee jerk reactions . . . ‘we’re going to do it this way because DRC does it that way’ but rather considering the best way to do business. It is far and away the best experience I’ve had having been through five of them.
WashingtonExec: In your opinion what is the most important book that you have ever read?
Maggie Bauer: I can’t pick just one. You’ve probably heard of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Myers and Briggs developed a tool to better understand that individuals have a particular way of seeing the world that informs and affects the way they interact with each other. Understanding that as a leader in the workplace really helps you better understand, respect and be more conscious of differences in behaviors and reactions and approaches to situations and problems. There are two books on my bookshelf right now that I frequently flip through – one is Type Talk and the other is Please Understand Me. They are both based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Another book that really made a lasting impression on me during my pursuit of my MS in Organizational Development is by Charles B. Handy and it’s called Understanding Organizations. The book describes different models of organizations. For example, one model is the organization as family. I really believe in that. I believe that when we accept that cultural dynamics exist just as they do in any family and make an effort to understand and respond and react to those dynamics, workplace conflicts are more readily recognized and resolvable..
WashingtonExec: Speaking of leadership – who are Maggie’s heroes? Who do you look up to?
Maggie Bauer: I have several heroes. This is not necessarily in order, but Katherine Hepburn is one of my heroes because she really stepped out. She was born in1907 to an upper class family and she went to Bryn Mawr. She became an actress, which for an upper class family was just not an appropriate choice at the time. She really did things her way. She went through a rough patch when her star really plummeted in Hollywood but she was persistent and pulled herself up by her bootstraps. Her lists of “firsts” in her line of business are really extensive. I find her inspirational because she completely stepped out of what was considered acceptable and the norm and to become the world’s greatest actress.
I admire Eleanor Roosevelt for some of the same reasons. She re-defined the role of First Lady as having a real mission of her own as well as being a support to the President beyond her role as wife. She was a great sounding board for FDR and was really his “legs” and traveled with an ease and frequency that was unavailable to him, which I think, was terrific. She was probably the first First Lady to do that in a way that really became known and widely respected both during FDR’s presidency and certainly afterward. Finally, Hillary Clinton is my contemporary hero. I remember when she announced that she was going to run for Senate at the end of the Clinton Presidency and I said to myself, “Honey, just go take a rest. Look what you’ve just been through!” But she went ahead and did it and she won, was a terrific Senator and now she is the Secretary of State and she is amazing at that. She is a tremendous role model.