Neal Frick, chief executive officer of CyberCore, recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz regarding his recent appointment as the company’s new CEO and his focus to drive the company into new growth opportunities.
In addition, Frick also discussed Cybercore’s recent company wide realignment to provide a new structure for its workforce and the challenges of maintaining the Cybercore culture as well as how to address the challenges of recruitment in the federal sector during the latest Executive Spotlight interview.
“My main objective is to take the incredible work that we do and expand upon it, allowing for greater support to our customers and better opportunities for our employees. CyberCore has a wide scope and great people who do amazing things. I’m looking forward to helping lead us into the bright future.”
You can read the full Executive Spotlight interview with Neal Frick below:
ExecutiveBiz: Congrats on your promotion to CEO! What can you tell us about your history with CyberCore and what you are focused on achieving to push the company into new growth opportunities?
“I started as the director of Talent Acquisition in 2016 for CyberCore where I was responsible for headcount and profit growth within our Mission Services division. Over the next few years, I took on more direct operational responsibility within the division, and up until my recent promotion to CEO was the Vice President of Mission Services. Prior to the pandemic, Mission Services had more than doubled its headcount and revenue and added over 160 fully cleared engineers to our roster.
My goals for CyberCore are to continue the great growth within Mission Services and expand upon the incredible supply chain risk mitigation and buy-build-deliver offerings that our IT Solutions division performs for customers. We’ve been around for 20 years doing important work; I’m not here to recreate the wheel, I’m here to take what we do well and expand upon it.
We recently introduced a new division, our Emergent Technologies Solution (ETS) group, which will be focused on high performance computing, product development, supply chain innovation, and general problem solving at a higher level for our customers and clients.
We have developed a way of securing our supply chain that significantly reduces risk of compromise. ETS is going to take the incredible work that our teams have done and develop solutions for our clients.
Not every piece of hardware used by the government can come through our warehouse and benefit from CyberCore’s secure processes (although we wish it could), but we can use the 20 years we’ve had to develop our secret sauce to help customers achieve the same results.
We’re also looking at this division to be a tech incubator to develop new products and expand our existing product lines like WindRose – a secure supply chain threat assessment tool – and SecurStack – a scalable, cloud-enabled data center that exceeds industry standards for security.
Many people know CyberCore as a Value Added Reseller, and that is a huge part of our history and something that we are very proud of. But we’re more than that, and my goal is to reintroduce CyberCore to the community and celebrate the incredible accomplishments of our team.”
ExecutiveBiz: How does your company ensure long term success for your workforce to drive value for your employees as you continue to face the uphill challenge to recruit and retain the best talent in the federal marketplace?
“I started my career in talent acquisition. My first job in this industry was as a recruiter and when I started it was already a tight market. In the last few years, and especially since the pandemic, I’ve seen that market shrink even further.
The pandemic has reprioritized work-life balance for many of us. It’s restructured our concepts of work in general. People are realizing that work can be done from home in a flexible model, and that flexibility is carrying much more value than it ever has. It’s great to see people understanding their power in the market and making decisions about their career that put themselves first, but it does cause a lot of challenges as an employer.
In the Intelligence Community specifically, there is a lack of flexibility because of the secured nature of the work that we do. While it’s understandable and necessary, there will be long-term negative repercussions if we are not able to find a balance.
The slight premium in pay that we are able to offer compared to commercial entities is not very appealing for technical individuals who can easily work fully virtual anywhere in the US or even overseas. The threat that faces us imminently is a massive brain drain as people leave the industry when there’s not enough talent coming in. We’re seeing it already – we’re all fighting over the same small number of cleared individuals.
I believe we have to apply an empathetic approach to how we grow and support talent. I’m a big believer in service leadership; every leader exists to give their teams the tools, resources, and support they need to accomplish their goals. If we don’t give people what they need to be successful and have a healthy work-life balance, we will lose them to organizations that will.
CyberCore has invested in our employees’ career development. We have a program called “Compass” where a career development specialist will work directly with an employee to help them get to the next stage of their career. We pay for certifications and offer incentive bonuses to reward people who get high-level certs. We created a training lab where developers can play around in a tech sandbox.
Businesses are made up of people, and we need people a lot more than they need us.”
ExecutiveBiz: With Cybercore undergoing a companywide realignment, what can you tell us about the new structure of the company’s workforce and the benefits it’ll provide for your customers and employees?
“There are two major roles that CyberCore can fill for our customers.
Firstly, more than ever, our customers need consistency in staff. We’re up against commercial organizations that can offer competitive compensation packages with the ability to work virtually. Many in this industry who held clearances have moved on to uncleared work.
There are thousands of unstaffed positions across critical contracts and it dilutes the impact of the mission. It also puts an undue amount of pressure on the individuals who have remained, and they’re getting burnt out.
CyberCore has employees who have been with us for nearly 20 years. A lot of our most senior staff grew up in the company – we have folks who started as an intern and are now architecting complex software solutions. CyberCore can provide consistent staff that are mission-focused and able to achieve great results.
Additionally, we can offer a way to mitigate risks to the supply chain. Approximately 90 percent of supply chain incidents come from within the supply chain rather than from external threats. CybeCore’s proven processes, developed over 20 years and with our two ISO certifications, eliminates those threats.
We are able to provide assurance that the hardware we procure for a customer is uncompromised. We conduct significant testing of IT products to ensure no malware or counterfeit components. In addition, even if we’re not procuring equipment, we are able to assess risks and threats with our WindRose analysis tool.
As our new division begins to grow, we will be adding more and more capabilities to our organization in the areas of high-performance computing and software development.
As far as how these changes impact our employees, any growth within CyberCore offers them opportunities to expand their horizons. As we win new work, doors will open to our team members that offer them a lot of opportunities in their careers.
My main objective is to take the incredible work that we do and expand upon it, allowing for greater support to our customers and better opportunities for our employees. CyberCore has a wide scope and great people who do amazing things. I’m looking forward to helping lead us into the bright future.”