Editor’s note: The winner of the Chief Officer Awards Public Company CTO Award announced June 17 is Charles Onstott of SAIC.
On June 17, WashingtonExec will be virtually celebrating the most impactful and innovative C-suite executives in government and industry. These chief officers work in technology, security, data, operations, finance, business and more, excelling on both sides of the government contracting sector. Our team of judges have chosen the finalists for the inaugural Chief Officer Awards, so before we announce the winners during the event, we wanted to get to know the finalists a bit better. This Q&A series highlights their careers, successes, proud professional moments and notable risks.
Gil Tadmor is chief technology officer of DLH Corp. and a finalist in the Public Company CTO Award category.
What key achievements did you have in 2019?
Completed an all-encompassing digital transformation for a major federal client. The effort followed agency systems lifecycle guidelines while fostering agile methodologies. The client now benefits from: true electronic transactions, repeatable data management processes, scalable architecture and ubiquitous real-time access to data that now enables them to make data-driven decisions.
What has made you successful in your current role?
Leading by example — a good manager knows how to work with the team, roll up their sleeves and support alongside with hands-on work, mentor and trust the team and overall set a positive team framework. I am passionate about building cohesive and highly effective teams and that has served me well in my leadership positions throughout the years.
What are you most proud of having been a part of in your current organization?
We are uniquely positioned to truly deliver actual benefits directly to our communities through our project work. Everyone at DLH shares the same passion to support and improve health and care for military service members, veterans, children and families and our at-risk and underserved communities.
What are your primary focus areas going forward, and why are those so important to the future of the nation?
Two key focus areas most definitely are digital transformation and enabling automated data-driven decisions. Critical technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing and data visualization are important pursuits for these focus areas.
With the rollout of more understood, readily available and easily deployable solutions that integrate such complex technologies, the nation’s future will benefit from improved efficiencies in providing just-in-time services, predictive risk avoidance, and providing better health care for the well-being of the population.
How do you help shape the next generation of government leaders/industry leaders?
With most government leaders now fully immersed in the race to utilize their data, via means of analytics, AI/ML and visualization, I’ve been promoting the notion behind the question “What is your data-value-chain?” It’s important to understand that historically, data had always existed, but it was much less accessible to the data owners. In fact, the only way to leverage that data was to ask a question (query the database), retrieve the results for interpretation and repeat until done.
Fast forward, and today it’s quite a different experience. Data owners are better equipped with easy-to-use tools to browse data and visualize patterns, both of which are directly beneficial to proactive mitigation of issues and near-real-time data-driven decision-making.
This is where I have found some gaps in the understanding leaders have about their “data-value-chain,” from the system of record data integration, through curation/aggregation and followed by QA/QC, just to name a few areas. The leaders aren’t always aware of the preparation needed to create that reliable, repeatable and automated data pipeline that enables data accessibility and decision-making. Raising their awareness and understanding of their data ecosystem has resulted in improved collaboration, integration and utilization of data across the board.
Looking back at your career, what are you most proud of?
Being part of the original founding executive team on a telecom startup where I had the fortunate experience working with the brightest in the field of fiber optics. We developed the first true high-capacity, all-optical transmission and switching networking gear.
The demands of a high-paced R&D startup effort, product rollout and customer engagement were invaluable experiences. Over a period of three years, we grew from 30 to 2,500 employees, and completed a $1.1 billion IPO.