Pinnacle Award Finalist Bobby McCane: ‘People Must Come First’

Bobby J. McCane |

Bobby McCane, FEMA

Editor’s note: Bobby McCane was named National Security/DHS Government 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 is National Security/DHS Government Executive of the Year finalist Bobby McCane, who serves as chief component procurement officer at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

What has made you successful in your current role?

Relying on resourcing and empowering the government’s most valuable asset – its people.

What was a turning point or inflection point in your career?

The 9/11 terrorist event was the single most significant inflection point in my career. When this event occurred, I was a manager at the Internal Revenue Service, responsible for the contract that provided the Employee Assistance Program. This horrendous event caused a major contract scope change to allow for multitudes of persons to receive group, individual and issue-specific counseling in order to move forward with their day-to-day lives.

While more than 20 years of my career have ensued and I have been directly responsible for major organizations with multibillion-dollar initiatives with the outcomes having far-reaching implications, I have learned that all innovations that advance civilization — technology, medicines, agricultural, transportation, power and science — are all made possible by the one asset that is consistent across all countries and across all industries — people. People must come first.

What are you most proud of having been a part of in your current organization?

The Office of Chief Component Procurement Officer, for which I am responsible, was an integral part of the response and recovery effort that assisted thousands of Americans — first responders and survivors, as related to the worst hurricane season on record, the 2017 hurricane season, then the worst wildfire seasons on record, the 2018 West Coast wildfires, and now worst wildfire season, the 2019/2020 West Coast wildfires, and the coronavirus pandemic of 2019.

In response to these tragic events, my organization has purchased billions of dollars of products and services necessary to provide a sense of normalcy to localities and their infrastructures along with hope and help to American citizens whose lives had been shattered and forever changed.

Which rules do you think you should break more as a government leader?

Always examine the position of the influential majority as opposed to accepting such position on its face — knowing that the position others of lesser stature bring value.

What’s your best career advice for those who want to follow in your footsteps?

Genuinely strive to give your best effort in supporting agency mission placing people first; any accolades that you merit will follow.

Meet the other Pinnacle Awards finalists here.

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