Joe Cubba, senior vice president and chief growth officer at ManTech, has been appointed as chair of the WashingtonExec Business Development & General Manager Council for 2022-2023.
Cubba leads ManTech’s strategic growth initiatives, and joined the company following a 20-year career at IBM, where he was most recently senior partner and vice president of defense and intelligence. Prior to joining industry, he served for 10 years in the U.S. Air Force in satellite operations.
As chair of the council, Cubba will lead conversations about current challenges, priorities and trends the BD community faces.
Below, he also shares a bit about his unique perspective having served the nation for most his life, the value in connecting industry executives with government officials, the power of collaboration, innovative plans he has for the council and more.
Based on your extensive IT and business-related experience, what are some of the focus areas/hot topics you want to discuss with the BD council?
Today’s hot topic is COVID-19 and how it has affected our relationships with customers and employees. We’ll be discussing this challenge in depth on the BD Council. Key areas to address include:
- What are the most productive ways to interact with customers in this prolonged COVID era?
What is the best way to introduce solutions in this new world?
- What’s the hold-up in granting contracts — are contractors and government decision-makers communicating as effectively as they should?
- Who’s succeeding despite these challenges, and what can we learn from them?
Second, the current administration’s priorities affect us and how we invest in technology areas that are true difference-makers for our nation. What are the top priorities in areas that range from defense to domestic agenda items?
Cyber in government and industry are both under attack. I’d like to discuss potential solutions where we work as a team to protect ourselves and our information and assist in this global power competition. Why this is so important: Contractors tend to be in the middle and be the primary targets of cyberattacks.
What are some of the challenges the BD community has been experiencing recently, and during the pandemic? How will the council collaborate to work through these challenges?
As I said earlier, we are experiencing a collaboration challenge that involves prevetting solutions, and handling mission problems where we can solve them.
It seems like shooting in the dark at times, which is not in the best interests of our nation. We would like to collaborate with this community and clients. Among the priorities, how do we recreate face-to-face meetings early in the life cycle like we used to in the prepandemic world? And, how government and industry live, survive and thrive in this environment.
How will your personal and career experience and expertise within the GovCon, business and IT communities help lead the council in discussions on trending topics?
I have been serving the nation since I was 13 when I joined the Civil Air Patrol. I have served in uniform and also out of uniform — and as a reservist have always had a dual career. I have a foot in both camps. I have made it my mission to bring both perspectives to help translate how they interoperate and excel together. I am a client, but also serving that client. I am going to bring this dual-view and perspective to the council, bridging the gap between the client and the industry.
Do you feel there is great value in connecting industry executives with government officials or industry peers to discuss topics facing the BD community? If so, why?
Absolutely. We have to understand each other’s perspective and inform each other. I have found that as a client and as an industry executive that at times we don’t understand the consequences of each other’s actions.
For example, a client doesn’t realize the amount of work that is created by dropping an RFP with shorter due dates. They don’t understand decisions made and implications and impact on both sides.
There is great value in sharing lessons, having open discussions and collaboration to satisfy customers’ needs without burning your employees’ needs.
Do you have any unique plans yet for the council?
First, I’d like to bring in nontraditional service providers to understand how they go to the market and interact with government to share best practices.
One great example is ManTech’s strategic partner Google Cloud — a new entrant in the GovCon space.
Then I am going to champion the idea of clients having sessions at their location where we can invite employees of both the customer and industry to share knowledge and experience.
Why meet in the “ivory” Tower Club when you could have it at a client site, take a tour and collaborate there?
This sort of interaction in the “real world” of the client work area could be the model of how we work together in the pandemic versus waiting for it to be over.
What do you hope to accomplish as chair of this council, and what do you hope council members get out of your leadership?
I plan to bring and explore different perspectives that they don’t normally experience. Whether coming up through the BD area as a business owner, most people have careers that go back and forth.
My way of thinking: You get much further in your career if you collaborate and partner with clients and are more flexible with your career aspirations. I want to meet everyone, learn their aspirations and encourage them to think through how they can be more successful and get the most out of their careers.