Interview with “Executive of the Year” Nominee Raymond F. Lopez, Jr.: Awarding Scholarships & the Importance of Ethics

Raymond F. Lopez, Jr., CEO of ESN

WashingtonExec Series: Want To Be GovCon Executive Of The Year?

The finalists for this year’s Greater Washington Government Contractor Awards were announced last month, and as promised, WashingtonExec is bringing you its annual series with GovCon Award nominees all this month before the winners are unveiled November 1.

The winners will be announced at the annual gala at Marriott Wardman Park hotel in Washington, D.C., and the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, Professional Services Council (PSC) and Washington Technology magazine will present the awards. With over 1,300 business and public sector leaders attending the event, our series will keep you up-to-date with all the finalists for this year–who they are, what they do, and why they are worthy of winning.

Today’s series presents Raymond F. Lopez, Jr., President & CEO of Engineering Services Network, Inc (ESN)., for his nomination of “Executive of the Year” in the under $75 million division.

WashingtonExec: How do you differentiate your company from its competitors? What is unique about your approach?

Raymond F. Lopez, Jr.: Expanding all the lessons I learned in the Navy and coaching football, bringing that to bear in the workplace. Those lessons: leadership, compassion, steadfastness and loyalty. Maintaining the original corporate culture, despite our growth. New managers instilled with culture like newbies going to a Navy destroyer, all learning the culture, working as a team!

WashingtonExec: How have you grown the company as the government asks the private sector to “do more with less?”

Raymond F. Lopez, Jr.: Better utilization of our limited funds and targeting specific tasking that meets our market offerings, and determining if additional training is needed. And continuing to diversify to different government agencies.

WashingtonExec: What is the fastest growing component of your business?

Raymond F. Lopez, Jr.: Information technology. IT has grown 400-500 percent in last three years.

WashingtonExec: Obtaining top talent in government contracting is fierce – how is your company able to not only recruit top talent, but also retain it?

Raymond F. Lopez, Jr.: Offering incentives to people within the company to find qualified individuals. Senior management as a team becomes directly involved in hiring new talent. Once they are exposed to the corporate culture, they pretty much come onboard.

WashingtonExec: What is your corporate culture? How do you maintain satisfied employees?

Raymond F. Lopez, Jr.: Corporate culture is one of inclusiveness. Again, we are in the service business. It’s all about our people. Providing excellent working conditions, additional training as required and personal mentoring throughout the company. And we have employee recognition events.

WashingtonExec: How has the government contracting industry changed since you entered the sector?

Raymond F. Lopez, Jr.: Now that we have gone from a small to mid-tier company, plus the fact that government now is awarding more multiple award contracts like MACs and IDIQ [indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity]contracts, we not only have to bid to play, we also have to bid to win delivery orders and task orders. Costs are greater for us now.

WashingtonExec: Does your company have a Bring Your Own Device Policy (BYOD)? What has been your largest challenge with this policy? How is the “mobile workforce” changing the way you conduct business within your company and with the federal government?

Raymond F. Lopez, Jr.: We have developed our own telework policy, and so far it’s worked out for us and our customers when utilized.

WashingtonExec: How is your company involved in the community?

Raymond F. Lopez, Jr.: Over the years, ESN has donated well over $100,000 to worthwhile programs, including awarding 25 college scholarships valued well over $30,000. ESN employees donate thousands of hours of their own time. In West Virginia, for example, one ESN employee and his therapeutic dog spend most Saturdays at military hospitals visiting the wounded. For over the last seven years, ESN has sponsored the Washington Capitals Military Night by donating about 150 hockey tickets to active duty military and their families. We donate close to $5,000 a year on average since 2005 to the Toyota Joy Fund Charity Bowl Football Game in Hampton Roads, helping saving it from extinction.

For CEO of the Year Award Nominees:

WashingtonExec: What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

Raymond F. Lopez, Jr.: Ethics transcends profit. Since you’re the guy that has to look yourself in the mirror every morning, you want to make sure the guy looking back at you has done the right thing for the right reason. And that is when I was in the Mentor-Protege program.

WashingtonExec: What is something most people might not know about you?

Raymond F. Lopez, Jr.: I’m a model railroad enthusiast.

WashingtonExec: What book do you recommend to young executives?

Raymond F. Lopez, Jr.: Death by Meetings.





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