Rich Martin has more than 20 years of IT and management experience with creating successful IT organizations and technical infrastructures. He brought that experience to his current role, as Chief Information Officer (CIO) to LGS Innovations.
Prior to his role as CIO for LGS, Martin served as CIO of Transaction Network Services, a global financial and telecommunications company in Reston, Va. The role of CIO in the federal marketplace has taken a hit as of late due to budget cuts of IT spending.
WashingtonExec spoke to Martin on the topic of budget cuts, current trends in the industry and why he bleeds orange and brown.
WashingtonExec: The recently released IT budget request includes a two percent increase for IT spending. What is your opinion on the budget request and do you think it has a good chance of passing through Congress.
Rich Martin: There is a strong focus within the U.S. government on reducing IT costs through efforts such as data center consolidations, while also aggressively implementing the government’s digital and shared services strategies. In addition, there is a significant effort to implement new IT technologies such as cloud computing in the hopes of reducing future IT costs. Given the very different FY 2014 budgets in the House and Senate, it is hard to predict what level of IT funding will be passed.
WashingtonExec: As Chief Information Officer at LGS, what is your number one priority on a day-to-day basis?
Rich Martin: As the chief information officer (CIO) for LGS, my number one priority for IT is to provide value to the business. Whether that value is in the form of providing laptops for employees to access corporate assets, providing access to critical business applications, or deploying networks that allow for collaboration on key programs, it is all about deriving business value from IT. We review what we are doing, and how we are doing it on a day-to day basis to maintain the proper business focus.
“I continue to see a migration to a more mobile workforce, and IT must keep pace in providing the capability the business, and the government, needs to meet this challenge”
WashingtonExec: What are the current trends in your industry?
Rich Martin: One of the key trends I see within our industry is the continued mobilization of IT. Our users, and our customers, want to work from anywhere, at any time. This is apparent throughout our market as evidenced by the recent announcements that the Department of Defense will allow iPhones and Android devices on its networks. I continue to see a migration to a more mobile workforce, and IT must keep pace in providing the capability the business, and the government, needs to meet this challenge. With that said, maintaining a secure environment for these devices remains a key challenge to providing this level of access.
WashingtonExec: What are the company’s goals within the next five years?
Rich Martin: LGS’ goals are to continue to design, implement, and maintain highly secure, highly reliable networks for the U.S. government in environments such as campus networks, tactical (battlefield and first responder) and data centers. Our solutions combine both certified commercial products such as core IP routers and leading optical backhaul solutions as well as emerging custom solutions thorough our Advanced Research and Technology programs. By leveraging our Bell Labs heritage, LGS will continue to provide the U.S. government with trusted network solutions.
WashingtonExec: What keeps you up at night?
Rich Martin: Without question, my biggest ongoing concern is maintaining a secure IT environment for our users. In the days before the Internet, this was a much more manageable problem as one generally knew who had access to the IT assets. Today, we spend a tremendous amount of money and effort ensuring we maintain the proper security profile through firewalls, intrusion detection systems and other means since connectivity to the public Internet is a required aspect of doing business.
All companies are constantly being probed through their Internet access for holes a hacker can penetrate. Our challenge is to stay in front of them by ensuring we maintain the proper patch levels and firewall rules as well as identify potential issues through intrusion detection systems.
WashingtonExec: Where abroad are you seeing the most growth?
Rich Martin: As the wholly-owned subsidiary of Alcatel-Lucent focused solely on the U.S. government, overseas business development is not a key priority for LGS Innovations.
WashingtonExec: Do you have a favorite sports team?
Rich Martin: While I am a fan of many sports, by far my favorite professional sport is the NFL. This time of year, I enjoy following how teams are preparing for the upcoming season while I prepare for my Fantasy Football drafts. Having grown up in Northeastern Ohio, I have to admit I am a tortured Cleveland Browns fan; I bleed orange and brown. However, I’ve lived in the D.C. area for over 20 years, and as such, I have become a Redskins fan as well; unless they are playing the Browns.