The finalists for WashingtonExec’s Chief Officer Awards were announced March 25, and we’ll be highlighting some of them until the event takes place live, in-person May 11 at the The Ritz-Carlton in McLean, Virginia.
Next is CEO (Private Company, Annual Revenue <$150M) finalist Ali Reza Manouchehri, CEO and co-founder of MetroStar. Here, he talks key recent achievements, career turning points, primary focus areas going forward and more.
What key achievements did you have in 2021/2022?
There are many key achievements; however, nothing is more fulfilling than seeing our leaders across the organization come together and execute work towards common goals and visions. Our team was able to book over $130 million and onboard over 85 new employees in the first quarter of 2022.
This growth is truly a reflection of camaraderie and commitment across the entire organization. Building a great team is what excites me to keep going.
What was a turning point or inflection point in your career?
Starting a business out of college and evolving it into government contracting has had many inflection points. A key turning point for me was the ability to assemble two teams to build video games at MetroStar. The project allowed us to assemble a unique group of individuals with diverse backgrounds and skills (i.e., game designers, researchers, developers, visual designers and writers).
This cadre was the catalyst for making myself and others at MetroStar visualize building teams in a new way, focusing on positioning a variety of skillsets with a unique perspective and lens.
What are you most proud of having been a part of in your current organization?
Growing beyond small business and winning full and open business in new markets is super rewarding. Our growth has allowed us to recruit new leaders, build innovative solutions, evolve our business in alignment with our culture code and advance and accelerate our clients’ missions.
What are your primary focus areas going forward, and why are those so important to the future of the nation?
For the last three years, we have been laser focused on building artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions that will contribute to our nation’s economy and national defense. We have major investments in AI/ML and are working with industry-leading customers across the U.S. Air Force to unlock actionable insights from avionics data to improve mission performance.
How do you help shape the next generation of government leaders/industry leaders?
The best recipe for shaping and building the next generation of leaders requires a few important ingredients: emotional resilience, team building, controlling chaos, ability to learn and adapt, and open and honest collaboration. If you can work with future leaders to unlock and nurture those ingredients, then you will witness them successfully navigate and grow within our ever-changing industry.
Looking back at your career, what are you most proud of?
I’m most excited and proud about the people we have assembled. MetroStar has created multiple entrepreneurs, inventors and intrapreneurs, and they have helped transform the company into what it is today and what it will be in the future.
What’s your best career advice for those who want to follow in your footsteps?
Assemble your core team early and make sure they complement you, grow and evolve with you, and work hard to keep them together. Once you have that right team, you will work harder and continue to complement each other with new skills that build more capacity for growth and achieving success.