Todd Stottlemyer is no stranger to civil service, having grown up with a father with an international government career, which sparked an early interest in politics, people and serving the nation through leadership and technology.
Stottlemyer is currently CEO of CNSI and a member of the company’s board of directors, but his path to the corner office wasn’t a usual one. In fact, he calls it a “mysterious journey.”
The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-born executive grew up just outside New York City. His father was a member of the U.S. Foreign Service, worked at the United Nations and for the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (including at one point former diplomat and President George H.W. Bush).
Stottlemyer and his family later moved to Northern Virginia, when he went to high school, another result of his father’s work with the State Department.
“I actually studied government,” Stottlemyer said. “I think my father’s career and the people I got to meet as a young person growing up certainly impacted that.”
Stottlemyer got his bachelor’s degree in government from The College of William & Mary in Virginia in 1985. But his interest in politics was also genuine. At age 13, Stottlemyer helped organize a successful referendum to preserve open space in the town he grew up near New York City.
“That was my first involvement in politics,” he said. The referendum was put on the ballot and passed.
Stottlemyer would also come to greatly appreciate his father’s work with the U.N. and became accustomed to an international environment later in life as he started doing work internationally.
From Politics to Private Sector through People
Stottlemyer’s first post-college job was as an assistant policy director for a statewide gubernatorial campaign in Virginia, a role in which he learned valuable lessons.
“Working on a campaign gives you opportunities well beyond your chronological age and experience, which is really neat when you’re young to take on responsibilities that you wouldn’t get in almost any other setting,” Stottlemyer said.
One of those experiences was forming relationships and connections, perhaps the most impactful one with colleague Judy Peachee while working on the campaign. Peachee referred Stottlemyer to the interview of his first business job with tech company BDM International in 1985, where he ended up staying for 13 years.
And people would prove to be a recurring theme throughout his career.
“From the first job I had through the last job, there’s been some connection that I’ve had previously that led to the next job,” Stottlemyer said.
He was 22 when he started with BDM and was fortunate to have an “amazing boss and an incredible mentor” in George Newman, a World War II veteran.
Newman had served as a U.S. Foreign Services officer and an ambassador prior to working as an executive at BDM, and his mentorship was a critical part of Stottlemyer’s career development and progression.
“Working for George, I later found out he was considered the No. 1 mentor in the U.S. Foreign Service for young U.S. Foreign Services officers, men and women, and he really stressed to me the importance of stretching yourself in life, putting yourself in new, and very uncomfortable positions and also continuous learning and improvement,” Stottlemyer said.
Newman and other mentors at the company, including former BDM CEOs Earle Williams and Philip Odeen, gave Stottlemyer increasingly diverse responsibilities over his 13 years at the company spanning government and media relations, business development, finance, investor relations, corporate strategy, and mergers and acquisitions.
Having started in an entry-level professional position, Stottlemyer left as a corporate vice president and member of the senior executive management team at the time, at age 34.
“It was a great environment to learn and grow in,” he said.
Stottlemyer also attended and completed law school during his time at BDM from 1987-1991 at Georgetown University Law Center.
“I had an interest in law school early,” he said. “But when I went to law school, I really focused my coursework at Georgetown mostly on business-related law courses. So, it looked as much like an MBA as you could get in getting a law degree.”
BDM went through many changes during Stottlemyer’s tenure, including being publicly traded two times and backed by The Carlyle Group. The company made multiple international and domestic acquisitions, and eventually was bought by TRW, now a part of Northrop Grumman.
“It really was an amazing 13-year ride,” Stottlemyer said. “The company had outstanding leaders and was involved in the development of critical technology for both the government and commercial clients. It just did great work.”
After BDM was sold, Stottlemyer joined another publicly traded technology company in 1998, BTG, and served as an executive vice president and chief financial and administrative officer.
And on trend, he got the job after meeting the CEO of BTG through industry association work while at BDM.
BTG was also eventually sold, and after, Stottlemyer was president of McGuireWoods Consulting and managing director of McGuireWoods Capital Group advising IT companies on growth strategies, acquisitions and management buyouts.
“I enjoyed consulting because it gave me an opportunity to work with multiple companies, but I think I really also missed the operating side of business,” Stottlemyer said.
Stottlemyer was with McGuireWoods from 2001–2002, but the loss of three friends during the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks led him to rethink what he wanted to do. He left the consulting firm and wrote a business plan with his longtime friend and colleague Paul Leslie, who is currently executive chairman of the board of Dovel Technologies.
Together, they raised outside equity capital from Arlington Capital Partners and started Apogen Technologies in 2003. Stottlemyer served as CEO and Leslie as president.
A large part of the motivation for founding Apogen was the urgency around U.S. security, as well as a bit of soul searching, Stottlemyer said.
“Apogen was different than the companies I had worked with previously,” he said. “Apogen was very much focused on homeland security and national security, and as you know, after 9/11, that was critically important.”
After a great run, the company was sold in 2005 to QinetiQ Group PLC, a publicly traded British technology company.
After the sale, Stottlemyer had a non-compete agreement that kept him out of the tech industry. Unsure of his next move, he reconnected with a longtime friend and executive at Korn Ferry searching for the next CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business. Thanks to another connection and the organization’s desire for an experienced business leader with an interest in public policy, Stottlemyer served as CEO from 2006–2009.
There, he regularly met with members of Congress, governors, members of state legislators and even the president to navigate key business issues, such as acts in regulatory policy and immigration and healthcare.
“Sitting across from the president of the United States of America in the Roosevelt Room of the White House and talking about immigration and health care was a whole new experience for me, but I really did enjoy it,” Stottlemyer said.
This is also how he entered the health care space. Health care was a key issue for the association, and it ran a national health care campaign that would later lead to the Affordable Care Act.
“I really got into all the health care policy issues related to cost, accessibility, quality outcomes and many others,” Stottlemyer said. “It really was a learning experience for me, and I was excited about health care.”
Though he enjoyed his position at NFIB, he was travelling extensively, and his four children were growing up quickly.
Enter another connection: Knox Singleton, the former CEO of Inova Health System and friend of Stottlemyer’s from the Northern Virginia business community. Singleton approached Stottlemyer about joining Inova as a member of the executive management team, where he ultimately had the responsibility for IT, clinical informatics, biomedical engineering, innovation and several other corporate functions.
Stottlemyer stayed there until 2011, gaining health care experience on the operations side, and then took a role as CEO of private equity-backed technology company Acentia.
Acentia also had a heavy health care focus working with federal health agencies. When Acentia was sold to MAXIMUS in 2015, Stottlemyer continued on the board of directors of MAXIMUS Federal Services but rejoined Inova to lead its new Center for Personalized Health as CEO.
Back at Inova, Stottlemyer led the development of the new campus and had responsibility for the Inova Schar Cancer Institute and the Inova Translational Medicine Institute.
Ultimately, Stottlemyer left Inova in 2018 and joined CNSI that December, holding onto a focus in health care.
Making Strides at CNSI
While Stottlemyer was deciding to leave Inova, he was approached during a search for a CEO at CNSI. He had known the company through Acentia and was interested in what CNSI did.
“I think the health care industry is probably the most exciting industry to work in today,” he said. “What we do has a real and profound impact on people.”
From clinical work at Inova, to the systems and solutions developed at Acentia and now with CNSI supporting the health care missions of federal, state and commercial clients, Stottlemyer is passionate about impacting citizens and their health.
Plus, the health care industry has been experiencing a true disruption of innovation and technological advancements over the last several years, leading to better, higher-quality care and better access to care at lower costs.
“I love the space because it’s impactful on people and also because of the disruption and the innovation that I think is so innate to the industry itself,” Stottlemyer said.
And at CNSI, there’s an internal innovation engine and portal helping to drive bottoms-up innovation from technical teams and technical centers of excellence. CNSI also has a client focus group that meets quarterly with clients to share information and discuss new innovation and changes in health care policy impacting systems and client needs.
“We try to stay very close to our clients and really listen to them, to understand their pain points and business needs so we can respond with innovative solutions, products, and services to meet their business needs,” Stottlemyer said.
His near-term goals for CNSI include continuing to work toward being a great place to work, through initiatives related to culture and core values, inclusion and diversity, career development and progression, and engagement of employees.
Looking ahead, CNSI is also focusing on exquisite execution for all its client engagements, investing in its core product software platform, strengthening its analytics capabilities and emphasizing innovation through its innovation streams.
Because ultimately, Stottlemyer is driven by the critically important work CNSI does for its health care clients, and by providing the technologies needed to give vulnerable people in the country access to quality health care. He’s also motivated by the disruption and innovation in the industry and finding better ways to help improve the health of the nation.
On a personal level, he’s grown to be particularly motivated by a strong commitment to social justice and all that it entails – including health equity issues.
“It also drives me personally to leave my community as a better place then where I found it,” Stottlemyer said.
A Mysterious Yet Rewarding Journey
Professionally, Stottlemyer is more than a CEO. He sits on the board of several organizations, including Verato, LMI and IST Research Corp., and he’s also taught business and entrepreneurial leadership at William & Mary, his alma mater and where he served as rector (chair) of the university’ board of visitors, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
While he’s never really thought about his legacy, Stottlemyer said he hopes when he’s left the industry, people will say he led as a strong servant leader, and that he cared deeply about his employees and the important work they did for their clients.
“I hope they will also say that I made a real and positive difference in the lives of those I was privileged to work with or know throughout my life and career,” he added.
But his real legacy is his children. Along with serving his team, seeing them succeed and helping them grow, Stottlemyer’s most important recognition is as a father and a first-time grandfather.
“That’s more important than anything else, any award or anything I’ve been fortunate to receive professionally,” he said. “Being called dad by four kids now who are mostly adults has always been the neatest and most rewarding thing in my life.”