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Terrence Blair on Tetra Tech AMT’s IT, Aviation Partnerships with the FAA and Role of Contract Consolidation

Terrence Blair on Tetra Tech AMT's IT, Aviation Partnerships with the FAA and Role of Contract Consolidation - top government contractors - best government contracting event
Terrence Blair
Terrence Blair

Terrence Blair oversees technology strategy and technology-related consulting work for federal agencies as chief technology officer at Tetra Tech AMT – the information technology, aerospace and safety management arm of Tetra Tech.

Blair, a more-than 25-year GovCon veteran, joined Tetra Tech after spending eight-and-a-half years at Sapient as technical lead for that company’s federal government consulting business unit and also held other senior program management and technology delivery roles.

In this conversation with ExecutiveBiz, Blair overviews the AMT organization’s information technology and aviation services work with the Federal Aviation Administration and how some agencies look to consolidate their contracts in the face of constrained budgets.


ExecutiveBiz: When did you start your current role at Tetra Tech and what areas have you focused on?

Terrence Blair: My areas of focus are largely the same now as they were when I joined Tetra Tech in 2008. Aside from traditional CIO duties for our internal operating unit, I run our quality management system, which contains all business processes for corporate and client delivery. I am responsible for capability development like identifying staff certification and corporate capabilities so that we can respond to the needs of the federal government market.

I also work on marketing proposals to convey our capabilities to federal and commercial clients. My emphasis in these areas has changed over time. For example, when I joined our capability efforts were focused on certification, but now we also have a number of internal IT labs, development teams and internal initiatives.


ExecutiveBiz: How does Tetra Tech AMT fall under the general business structure of the larger Tetra Tech enterprise?

Terrence Blair: Tetra Tech is a multi-billion-dollar company, organized into three business groups with 35 operating units. AMT is aligned under the engineering and consulting services group and is the only Tetra Tech operating unit whose primary focus is information technology, airports and aviation. We collaborate with other parts of Tetra Tech for airport design and construction and environmental management, which are areas that Tetra Tech has a very deep competency.

We also handle airport safety management systems, program management and performance-based navigation for federal clients of other parts of Tetra Tech. AMT is Tetra Tech’s primary IT provider so we are often brought into the company’s more traditional engineering work to provide IT services like general large-scale system design, identity management and full life-cycle IT support. AMT is Tetra Tech’s lead operating unit for the Federal Aviation Administration because we provide extensive information technology and aviation support to the FAA’s Shared Services organization.


ExecutiveBiz: What technology-related areas do your customers look to your organization for help the most?

Terrence Blair: AMT is the international leader in performance-based navigation so we are very much sought after to provide PBN and related program management services in the United States and internationally. We have a very robust safety management systems practice that helps airports create safety and risk management systems for their operations.

This has been a significant growth area for us because the FAA has published an advisory circular which will ultimately mandate that airports that receive FAA grant funding will need to have a safety management system in the not-too distant future. On the IT side, we are sought after by a variety of customers to do work in identity management. We also provide shared services technology support for different clients, which is an emerging area that not companies focus on right now.

ExecutiveBiz: What areas do you think government and business can further their collaborations in?

Terrence Blair: Collaboration between industry and federal government has been challenging for the past two years. This is largely related to sequestration and budget drills, some of which have resulted in very deep budget cuts for government programs. However, it is starting to turn around. On the upside, the budget pressures have forced government and industry to focus on efficiencies that result in cost savings and to take a portfolio management approach in aligning the work that they do to their core missions.

It opens up collaboration opportunities like process re-engineering, process automation, and legacy application and transition planning. On the contract side, there has been a re-emerging federal trend toward contract consolidation. These are big areas which government and industry should be focusing on for the next two to three years.

ExecutiveBiz: How do you apply your educational background to your current position at Tetra Tech?

Terrence Blair: It’s a common question because most people with a legal background don’t end up in this position. However, this background has been a great preparation for work in executive management. On a day-to-day basis, I work on things related to contracting like team formation, contract modifications, managing vendors and submitting government proposals.

The most useful skills I gained from a legal education were how to be logical and persuasive, both with our customers and on behalf of our customers, to help them get things done.

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Written by Ross Wilkers

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