This summer, WashingtonExec is reaching out to successful leaders in government and government contracting to learn more about their habits, experiences and perspectives.
Jeff Gallimore is partner and co-founder at Excella.
WashingtonExec: Tell me about a time in your life when you had to really stretch yourself in order to learn and grow.
Gallimore: I started my professional career in IT as a developer. I worked in command lines and with code editors most of my day and often into the night and on weekends. And I loved it. I loved creating systems and making computers do useful things. I loved problem solving, the creativity involved, and the power of what technology could do. I discovered that the world of technology changes quickly and there were always new tools, new techniques, and new tricks to try out. I was totally hooked.
Shortly after starting my company, Excella, I had the opportunity to work on a government contract in a program management office. It was new territory for me. At the time, I didn’t even really know what a program management office did. We weren’t building any systems (directly, anyway). I wouldn’t be coding. In fact, there was no code in sight anywhere. What on earth was I supposed to be doing? It was uncomfortable for me — not knowing how to contribute confidently.
Well, I eventually figured out what I was supposed to do, and that engagement became one of the most professionally rewarding and transformative experiences of my career.
I learned the roles of the people and process involved in accomplishing business goals, in addition to the technology. I learned that process was more important than technology and that people were much more important than anything. I learned about the human element of technology, for this experience opened my eyes to what the real power of technology was — to make an impact on people’s lives. Those people could be the users of the system we built, the client asking us to build it, or those actually doing the building. I’m so thankful for the opportunity because of what I learned through it.
I realized the world of technology was so much more than command lines and code editors. That realization made my career so much more meaningful because it wasn’t about the elegance of the design and the efficiency of the code any more. It was about the impact I could have on people’s lives through the power of technology. Now that’s what I’m spending my days, nights and weekends doing. And I’m totally hooked.