The finalists for WashingtonExec’s Pinnacle Awards were announced Oct. 13, and we’ll be highlighting some of them until the event takes place virtually Dec. 8.
Next is Business Development Executive of the Year (Private Company) finalist Pete Pflugrath, LMI senior vice president of markets and growth. Here, he talks taking professional risks, proud career moments, career advice and more.
What has made you successful in your current role?
Colin Powell’s 13 rules of leadership are a useful guide in my current role at LMI. I am blessed to be part of a team I believe in and trust completely. I truly feel that it’s a team effort to maintain LMI’s mission-first culture — together, we support and empower those around us.
The LMI way is to take care of one another, our customers and our community. As a leadership team, we have worked extremely hard to cultivate a culture of caring, especially during the pandemic.
What are you most proud of having been a part of in your current organization?
LMI specializes in supply chain health policy analytics. The confluence of these domains was exactly what our nation needed at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. We stood up the COVID-19 Joint Acquisition Task Force under the Office of the Secretary of Defense, advising the government on acquisition policy and execution.
In addition, we helped stand up and operationalize Operation Warp Speed to support the Department of Defense in various collaborations with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, in a unified federal government effort to develop and deploy the COVID-19 vaccine, therapeutic and diagnostic capabilities rapidly.
What are your primary focuses going forward, and why are those so important to the future of the nation?
LMI is comprised of four markets — defense & space, health & civilian, homeland security, and intelligence — all which are critically important to the future of the nation, especially considering the capabilities and expertise we deliver in digital & analytic solutions, logistics, and management advisory services.
Our ultimate objective is to thrive under any administration, and for us, that requires a more robust balance of 50% of our work in defense & space and the remaining 50% in our other markets. This year, we acquired Suntiva to strengthen our brand in our health & civilian market that now delivers revenue of over $100M annually.
Our primary focus for 2022 is to strengthen our intelligence market with more M&A activity and grow that segment organically.
What’s the biggest professional risk you’ve ever taken?
Fortunately, I’ve had opportunities to take risks across several segments of the federal marketplace. I think the biggest risks for me were deploying as a contractor with the U.S. Marine Corps to Operation Desert Storm and Restore Hope (Somalia) and deploying again with the U.S. Army for Operation Joint Endeavor (Bosnia).
During these deployments, I was accountable for delivering results in challenging environments, and I believe these results made a difference. There is nothing like being accountable to a group of Marines and soldiers in a war zone — you must deliver results or get out of the way.
Looking back at your career, what are you most proud of?
Ultimately, it’s not about me — it’s about adding value to our clients’ missions to solve their most complex challenges. I’m most proud of the work that I am doing at LMI to help our clients achieve success with our technical expertise and real-world experience.
Thanks to a great President and CEO Doug Wagoner and a supportive executive team, I am able bring the lessons I’ve learned from my 30 years of experience to bear on our growth and execution model. We are achieving new records each month, quarter and year, and I’m having fun through it all. I’ve been able to apply hard lessons of the past today and each them to the next generation of professionals.
What’s your best career advice for those who want to follow in your footsteps?
Jump in with both feet. Time is short and fleeting, so don’t waste it being hesitant or second guessing yourself or others.
Don’t be afraid to think differently than others. Instead, present new ideas that challenge the status quo, but be prepared to back up those ideas with action.
Finally, it’s okay to be wrong sometimes. If you’re right all the time, you’re not trying hard enough to make a difference.