Editor’s note: J. Neil Kronimus was named Cloud Industry Executive of the Year on Nov. 12.
The finalists for WashingtonExec’s Pinnacle Awards were announced Oct. 8, and we’ll be highlighting some of them until the event takes place virtually Nov. 12.
Next up is Cloud Industry Executive of the Year finalist J. Neil Kronimus, who’s director of cloud services at General Dynamic Information Technology. Here, he talks achievements, future focus areas and other career advice.
What key achievements did you have in 2019/2020?
We secured three strategic wins for our cloud business that we believe will position us for sizable growth. Those wins were in addition to over 100 cloud wins we’ve been able to achieve throughout last year and 2020, and we’re excited to carry that momentum as we look towards 2021.
Further, I’ve enjoyed participating in numerous public webinars and panels on cloud technology and given the times, I’m proud of the work we’ve accomplished utilizing cloud to promote go-to-market solutions throughout the pandemic. In that regard, I’ve conducted over 50 cloud demos to the government since March — it’s been a sprint as the pandemic has in fact elevated the need for cloud-based technology.
What has made you successful in your current role?
Communication. Mentoring. Listening. Joker. Approachable. Asking for help. Not afraid to take on challenges. Lead by example. I believe in being there for people and making sure they have opportunities to grow. It also means that when I say I will do something, I do it.
I let people know the truth whether it is good, bad or ugly. With the demands of any job, you cannot take yourself too seriously and you need that comic relief to succeed. Importantly, I do not ask my team to do anything I would not do.
What was a turning point or inflection point in your career?
Being at a company with people who believed in me. Having a mentor who pushed me to be better, but was there when I needed help. Forcing me to look at things in different ways. This is how I got started on my cloud journey over 10 years ago.
What are you most proud of having been a part of in your current organization?
Launching a cloud education series to enable all of GDIT to learn. This included internal cloud training sessions, external training sessions by cloud partners, cloud chats with internal folks on the ground and working with cloud service providers to get employees to be cloud certified
What are your primary focuses areas going forward, and why are those so important to the future of the nation?
My three primary focus areas are hybrid/multicloud, cloud management and cloud FinOps. As more agencies use the cloud, having a proper hybrid, multicloud architect is critical so that agencies can accomplish their mission by using the cloud in the most secure, efficient way as possible.
Cloud management is critical so that cloud sprawl is avoided. Automation, brokerage, governance and security are the key elements of cloud management to ensure that the right clouds are used by the right applications and by the right users in a secure way. Cloud FinOps is critical to ensure the cloud is optimized and costing less than the legacy data center models.
How do you help shape the next generation of government leaders/industry leaders?
Mentoring. People need a role model no matter what their age is. Someone they can learn from as well as talk to. Someone that can guide them along their journey. This applies not only to government leaders/industry leaders, but also in real life. I personally, mentor soccer players to help them develop to be the best they can be on and off the field.
What’s your best career advice for those who want to follow in your footsteps?
Nothing ever goes as planned. You need to expect the unexpected. I live by the following words when I approach life, “Improvise, adapt, overcome.”