The winners of this year’s GovCon Awards will be announced Nov. 1, and until then, WashingtonExec will highlight some of the finalists. Among them: The Ambit Group Co-founder and CEO Kim Hayes, a nominee for Executive of the Year (up to $75 million). Through her application of a human-centered design to planning and management, she has made The Ambit Group successful.
WashingtonExec had the opportunity to discuss with Hayes the importance of a positive work culture and future goals for The Ambit Group.
WashingtonExec: You’ve said you’re most proud of the culture that has been built at The Ambit Group. Can you expand more on what the day-to-day environment is like at your company?
Kim Hayes: Ambit is a collaborative, forward-leaning firm. We value individual input and we value delivering services and technical solutions that enable government to meet the needs of the citizens. Since 2004, we’ve continually invested in employee development, community involvement, and emerging technologies and solutions. Those investments help us maintain an energized work environment that meets the needs of our multigenerational workforce. “Good enough” isn’t accepted at Ambit. We strive for GREAT.
WashingtonExec: How do you feel about being nominated for Executive of the Year (up to $75 mil)?
Kim Hayes: I’m honored to be nominated as Executive of the Year. I firmly believe that the nomination is recognition of the impact that Ambit makes in our community. That impact is a result of our people and our dedication to excellence. This nomination is recognition of the hard work and dedication we deliver as a team. It’s exciting to see my vision for the firm realized and I’m thrilled to say this is my fifth year as a nominee.
WashingtonExec: What is one goal you hope to accomplish in the upcoming year?
Kim Hayes: In the coming year, I hope to see Ambit establish itself as a leader in smart environments and smart living. We’ve focused on redesigning the firm to be poised to deliver citizen services wherever they are needed. The Smart Communities initiatives is the core of this vision. In 2018, Ambit will deliver several first-to-market technologies that will enable smart living through smart environments, drive efficiencies in consulting services and advance our managed services portfolio. We’re positioning for the citizen of tomorrow.
WashingtonExec: How does your company adapt to the constant changes in technology?
Kim Hayes: We’ve invested in a technology and solutions design team that keeps Ambit connected, internally and externally. We routinely challenge our designers to rethink how we work and to assess the changing landscape in our customer environments. We deploy internal pilots to vet solutions and then share those advances with our clients. Technology is the application of knowledge for practical purposes. This is often forgotten. Our goal is to use technology to enable mission advancement that is lower in risk and higher on return. It’s the Ambit Way.
WashingtonExec: How has your military background influenced your management style?
Kim Hayes: My military background influences much of my daily life, including my management style. As an enlisted soldier, I learned early to focus on getting things done. That drive has helped me to create a “high-speed, low-drag” environment. I consistently challenge teams to stretch out of their comfort zones. As stewards of the tax dollar, we have a unique opportunity to help our nation once again value government. Many have lost their connection to the high-quality services provided by government to improve their lives. It’s our mission to change that perspective.
That change will require each of us to rethink how we do our jobs. As technologists, our world changes exponentially with each generation of new tech. That change cycle is more and more condensed. We can’t afford to wait for innovations, we must identify them, shape them and deliver them. Smarter. Faster. And cheaper.
WashingtonExec: What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
Kim Hayes: Embrace your curious mind. Make continuous learning a daily practice. Even if you just watch a TED Talk or read a few pages of a new book, ensuring that you have time in your schedule to stretch your horizons makes it much more likely you’ll do the same for the rest of your career.