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Greg Resutek on ASRC Federal’s Space Market Aims, His ‘Situational Leadership’ Approach

Greg Resutek on ASRC Federal’s Space Market Aims, His ‘Situational Leadership’ Approach - top government contractors - best government contracting event

resutek_greg_smallGreg Resutek joined Bethesda, Md.-based engineering services contractor ASRC Federal in June 2014 as chief operating officer alongside his former URS Corp. colleague Mark Gray, who was named CEO.

Resutek also held the role of acting chief financial officer at ASRC Federal until the company appointed former Northrop Grumman executive Gordon Foster to the CFO post.

ExecutiveBiz recently spoke to Resutek for an in-depth conversation on how his role has evolved at ASRC Federal through those transitions, where the company views opportunities in the space market and his definition of “situational leadership” through the lens of his current role.

ExecutiveBiz: What led you to join ASRC Federal last year?

Greg Resutek: My passion in the last 20 years has been to get into the field to support program managers and to be the front-line person for them to make sure that we are achieving the customers’ missions. My diverse background includes a combination of finance, business operations, program management and business development.

What initially led me down my career path was to leverage my financial background and operational customer-facing experience over the last 20 years and become pure full-time operations. I was reflecting on the next step in my career as having to divorce myself from the financial responsibilities of my previous roles and to immerse myself into my true passion of satisfying the customers, supporting the program managers and the leadership chain.

When I went through the interviewing process and met Butch Lincoln, the COO of ASRC, I began to understand the unique cultural attributes of an Alaska native corporation. Butch emphasized the importance of teamwork and that the mission is more important than any one individual. I have tried to live my personal, professional and athletic life that way.

I loved his message! I’ve always worked for large companies with small business goals and at times we did business with Alaska native corporations. Initially, I was lured to ASRC Federal because the COO position was the natural progression of my career, but the more I found out about ASRC Federal the more I was hooked on it being a great place.

ExecutiveBiz: Update us on how your agenda and the company’s has evolved.

Greg Resutek: Interestingly enough, in my desire to go into a pure operational role, it was fortunate that I couldn’t leave my past right away and for the first seven or eight months I was the acting chief financial officer and the chief operating officer. The dual-headed role provided me with a unique opportunity to look at the functional support and its associated interaction with operations and the program managers.

As the acting CFO, I saw both sides of it — the functional services we are providing under that leadership team and the recipients of those services which is the operations side. Once we hired a strong person to run our finance group, Gordon Foster, I was able to take some of those lessons learned and work collaboratively with him on optimization. We are trying to improve the processes between functions and in support of the field.

I left that financial area with Gordon and focus as COO on three key thrust areas as major priorities: alignment, operational excellence and organic growth. In relation to alignment, I work with the companies to align our resources and capabilities with sustainable and addressable markets. Everybody has a finite amount of dollars to stay competitive.

With operational excellence as an initiative, I regularly meet with the program managers to assure that we are putting the proper tools, processes and people in place to exceed our customers’ expectations. I’ve created a council of 9 program managers and they set the agenda of the initiatives that we work at the holding company level, whether it would be training initiatives, recognition, or system enhancements.

The program managers are at the tip of the spear and we are supporting them so that they can service the end user. In terms of organic growth, working collaboratively with business development and the subsidiaries to assure that we are investing and aligned with our companies’ strategic plans and prepared for our re-competes.

We are engaging with our customers early and often to understand their expectations and make sure we are positioned to win with our re-competes.

ExecutiveBiz: Where do you see potential opportunities in the space sector?

Greg Resutek: NASA is one of our major customers. We are proud of all the NASA centers we support and we are looking to do more there. We are leveraging some of our engineering and IT capabilities we have with NASA customers to expand into new markets such as DoD. With dwindling or flattening budgets, sustainment engineering is going to be huge. The need to sustain existing ground and space systems is going to be paramount.

Obsolete ground systems are going to require additional sustainment resources to keep legacy systems up to date. Our skillset and subject matter experts are looking at opportunities in that realm. In the DoD market, the military is pivoting away from the contractor-operated satellite systems and is focusing on the payload operations for the warfighter. The contractors are operating more of the other space assets.

We leveraged our ground and space engineering qualifications to achieve important wins and drive our Air Force market base in Albuquerque and Utah with launched systems mission assurance and a Navy deal in southern Maryland with the Blossom Point Tracking Facility.

ExecutiveBiz: Which other areas has ASRC Federal targeted for growth?

Greg Resutek: Our companies have had some success with the NASA ground and space-based engineering. We are continuing to focus on high-end engineering services. From our engineering group, we want to diversify in the national security space by leveraging those systems engineering capabilities. Out of our infrastructure and logistics group, we are leveraging some existing programs for supporting the DHS at Plum Island in New York.

One of our companies is part of a joint venture that supports the Alaska Radar System contract where we track aircraft movement on very harsh conditions. With these existing contracts, we are looking into getting a strong foothold in the specialized facilities market.

From the IT perspective, our companies have some of the top IDIQ vehicles in the market. We have Alliant small and large positions, CIO-SP3, Encore and five pools within the Oasis contract vehicles and use those as enablers to other areas of IT. Our companies tend to be NASA-centric and we want them to get more into the DoD space with Air Force and Army being the primary focus areas at this point.

We are constantly looking at acquisition targets to diversify our capabilities and markets we currently serve. Healthcare IT would be an example of an acquisition of focus. Our other major target areas for growth include our ability to run ranges in engineering capabilities such as specialized facilities, leveraging our ground and space-based engineering services to get into the DoD market and optimizing our contract vehicles.

We also spend a lot of time looking for strategic business partners where together we can provide very complimentary services to our customers.

ExecutiveBiz: Which previous experiences do you apply the most now? How do you feel your previous experiences help you at your role at ASRC Federal?

Greg Resutek: Thinking about my 29-year career, the role I play now is one of situational leadership. I played a lot of sports growing up and had coaches who were good and some not so good. You learn as much from poor leadership as you do from exceptional leaders. I’ve been blessed with some great leaders to work for for in the corporate world.

When faced with a tough decision, I draw from my athletic and corporate leadership experiences all the time. Every day I try to be engaged and genuine with my team and customers. I communicate openly and let them know that I am in the trenches with them and that we win and lose as a team. People that have influenced me were genuine, hardworking, and committed leaders but also willing to make tough decisions.

In the financial world, I had leveraged that capability quite a bit because we go through bid reviews and often decisions come down to pricing and the financials. However, I don’t lean on the financial side but you certainly make some business calls on the finance side. I’ve always looked up to people who take a certain amount of information and make a gut call.

The great leaders I’ve seen don’t overanalyze they distill a certain amount of information, collaborate with their team, make decisions and move out. My leadership style is grounded in how I was raised by my father and the experiences that I developed through the years being fortunate in being exposed to great leaders that I’ve had in my past.

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Written by Ross Wilkers

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