WashingtonExec has been reaching out to successful leaders in government and government contracting to learn more about their habits, experiences and perspectives.
Pete Tseronis is founder and CEO of Dots and Bridges LLC and spent nearly 30 years leading various cabinet-level and commercial entities. An accomplished entrepreneur, business executive and cybersecurity strategist, Tseronis maintains a passion for collaborating with government, industry, investor and academic ecosystems to unearth and stimulate transformative innovation while increasing private-sector commercialization.
What’s on your reading list?
“The One Thing”: A self-help book that discusses the value of simplifying one’s workload by focusing on the one most important task in any given project. As an entrepreneur, it is quite common to be counterbalancing multiple tasks each and every day, e.g. calendars, email, appointments, in addition to balancing your client portfolio. This particular read emphasizes that “activity is often unrelated to productivity, and busyness rarely takes care of business.”
“The Entrepreneur Rollercoaster”: A book that depicts the unique (and wild) journey of entrepreneurship and offers insights intended to develop my skills of independence, self-motivation and self-accountability. I reference this particular book quite a bit as I find myself in a constant state of professional formation, whether it’s focusing on relationship cultivation, time management, marketing communications, and, of course, business development. I enjoy this read as it reminds me that success takes strategic effort.
“Measure What Matters”: A book that speaks to objectives and key results as underpinnings for business success. A day doesn’t go by when I self-reflect on my personal and professional business goals. In doing so, I find myself in a continuum of reassessment but also taking stock of my accomplishments.
Tell me about a time in your life when you had to really stretch yourself in order to learn and grow.
When I was asked to develop an Office of the Chief Technology Officer at the U.S. Department of Energy, I was afforded the opportunity to design, develop and implement a program from scratch. I had no staff and no budget. What I did have was a blank canvas. I was the first-ever appointed CTO at the department. So, I developed the role into one that reflected a combination of technical, strategic and collaborative elements.
That being said, while my vision for the office was well-received by leadership and looked compelling on paper, I knew that commitment, dedication and passion would ultimately determine success (and a little bit of luck).
I recall challenging myself each and every day to learn something new, cultivate relationships and remain in a state of curiosity. Over time, as my staff and budget expanded, I remember thinking how exhilarating it felt to be in a constant state of learning and growth. And it was indeed an incredible adventure!
If you could go back and give your younger self career and/or life advice, what would you say?
It is impossible to work toward being the “smartest person in the room.” The digital landscape has unearthed the need for myriad services and proficiencies, and affiliating oneself with others who maintain complementary skill sets, experiences, and wisdom is, well, invaluable.
What’s your favorite city to visit? What do you enjoy doing there?
Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are special places. I was born in Philly, went to Villanova and love the vibe in the City of Brotherly Love. As for Pittsburgh, it is a “hidden in plain view” gem of a city. The people, the culture, the academia… it’s truly infectious.
When I visit the City of Bridges, I embrace its history, its renaissance and its reinvention. My wife maintains roots in the Steel City, so, visiting the ‘Burgh is kind of like going home. And it’s a small enough city to get into and out of the downtown district without dealing with traffic congestion (like we experience inside the Beltway).
Tell me about an app, device or type of technology you personally love and why.
I have become a fan of the “smart,” connected devices, e.g. thermostats, meters, home hubs. Our lives are becoming extremely dependent on internet infrastructure and accessing information at one’s fingertips.
Moreover, as computation scales, throughput accelerates and broadband expands, our ubiquitously connected world will exponentially evolve and achieve quantum leaps. My futurist-DNA and curiosity satiate an appetite for being an early adopter of technological transformation. The “smart, sustainable and secure cities” sector is of keen interest, as it combines advanced analytics-critical infrastructure-innovation, which, in essence, get me fired up.
Great perspectives from Pete. I have known Pete for over 20 years and know him to be an outstanding executive, leader, and person. He has had numerous successes in both government and the private sector. His successful transition from government to industry is a model for others.