Next is Scott Widlake, corporate pricing director at Leidos, and finalist in the Pricing Executive of the Year, Private & Public Companies category. Here, he shares career turning points and proud organizational moments.
What was a turning point or inflection point in your career?
Sometimes things just come together professionally.
I was a young manufacturing engineer, six years out of Virginia Tech’s Industrial Engineering program, and working for a company that manufactured solid propellant rocket motors. Over those six years, I had, among other skills, become proficient in cost estimating. Then the company got crosswise with a government oversight agency on a proposal that we submitted. The corrective action was to create a pricing and estimating group.
Up until that point, members of the company’s finance team were pitching in part time to help price proposals. Needing someone to lead this new team, they asked if I would be interested. Being very familiar with the estimating process and being in the final semester of my MBA program at George Mason University, I was a good fit for the new position. I embraced the idea of moving from a technical field to a professional/management field.
It proved to be a natural step for me, and while I had to navigate some uncharted waters, I can point to that moment as the one where I transitioned from being a contributor to becoming a leader. It’s been a very rewarding career. My team helps Leidos win good business, every day. And we continually are looking for “what’s next” in the areas of pricing and estimating.
What are you most proud of having been a part of in your current organization?
I’ve been with the company for almost 25 years. The world of pricing and estimating has evolved from one where the Pricing Team was viewed as “number crunchers”, to one where the function is recognized for helping the company win good business every day.
I am exceptionally proud of building a first-class professional pricing function for a company that submits thousands of proposals annually. Pricing positions were once viewed as jobs you took for a couple of years, then moved on to something else.
Today at Leidos, we welcome team members that want to learn and move on. And we are thrilled when individuals chose to make it their profession.
At Leidos, our members on our Pricing Team average 15 years of service. This would have been unheard of 20 years ago. And it’s that level of experience, that level of knowledge, that level of continued professional growth that pays dividends with each capture effort we support