Colleen Oresky, vice president of Growth at General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT), recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz regarding the challenges and latest trends in critical technology like AI, 5G and others to drive innovation for government agencies to address the most significant challenges having U.S. technological superiority across the globe.
In addition, Oresky also discussed the company’s work to drive long-term success for its workforce as well as GDIT’s initiatives to drive digital transformation efforts for its customers during the latest Executive Spotlight interview.
“GDIT is openly keeping the conversation going about how to reach new programs that will help us grow our future leaders and increase engagement to allow more people to move around and support our missions in different scenarios and situations.
That will really help to separate GDIT as a company from the pack. Our investment in our people really translates to our customer engagement at all levels because we’re providing our customers with the best people to fulfill the job.”
You can read the full interview with Colleen Oresky below:
ExecutiveBiz: With federal agencies working to implement the latest trends in technology such as AI, 5G, cloud and many others, what are your thoughts on the success and challenges that government agencies are dealing with to stay ahead of innovation to establish the U.S. as THE global leader?
Colleen Oresky: “Without question, technology and the speed of innovation are going to play a key role in maintaining our position in the world. It is fundamental to the warfighter and our national security. The speed of data analysis and information exchange, secure collaboration, and accurate and fast intelligence to the edge are all examples of strategic differentiators.
For the U.S. to stay ahead, it’s not just the government’s responsibility to drive innovation. Our industry must also look for ways to bring the latest technologies to the table to provide modernized systems as quickly as possible. GDIT has focused on creating more effective collaboration between government, industry, and the technology community. In addition to an extensive partner network of more than 100 technology companies, we’ve invested in Emerge labs that enable us to rapidly develop protypes and test the latest technologies. Through these labs, we’ve successfully developed and deployed solutions in areas such as cloud, cyber, AI and 5G.
Agencies’ IT environments are often large-scale and complex which can make it challenging for them to introduce new technology at speed. Since we have decades of experience working on our customers’ IT infrastructure, we understand how to apply these new technologies to help advance the mission.
GDIT also does a lot of work in cloud migration and the implementation of robotic process automation capabilities. Automating repetitive tasks and driving workflows helps people focus on the more complex work. Cybersecurity is an obvious area where we can apply AI and automation.
Following President Biden’s cyber executive order, agencies are working to harden their defenses against cyber-attacks. This is primarily through the adoption of zero trust strategies that protect users, data, and devices. We’ve been working with multiple agencies to implement their zero trust strategies and we have been on this zero-trust journey for the last four years. We know how to help agencies build their strategies based on their unique needs, identify the right tech solutions, and integrate them within an agency’s operating environment.”
ExecutiveBiz: With the influence of emerging technologies impacting every aspect of business, how has GDIT been able to drive digital transformation efforts to stay ahead of innovation in the federal landscape for yourself and your customers?
Colleen Oresky: “Obviously, digital modernization is accelerating and GDIT is investing in the development of technologically differentiated solutions to support our customers. Currently, we have some core projects that the company continues to invest in such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, cybersecurity, cloud and 5G.
As the vice president of growth, Intelligence and Homeland Security, I’m constantly working with our technology and growth teams to ensure those solutions can be used by our customers to meet critical mission requirements. At the end of the day, we want to solve the mission needs for our customers so we’re always investing in helping them reach their goals.
As I mentioned, we are also making key investments in innovation labs to accelerate solution development for R&D and prototype efforts in secure environments. For example, our new facility in St. Louis includes a versatile collaboration space and features GDIT’s Deepsky environment, which allows teams to collaborate and develop prototypes and solutions with technology, industry, and university partners. GDIT uses the environment to develop new software capabilities and solutions in high-performance computing, cloud, AI, and machine learning specifically to support the geospatial intelligence community.
In addition, as I mentioned earlier, we’re also partnering with an eco-system of technology partners, which range from the largest technology companies such as AWS, Cisco, and Microsoft, but also the niche emerging technology firms focused on data and analytics.”
ExecutiveBiz: How does GDIT 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?
Colleen Oresky: “GDIT is a services and technology company, and our biggest asset is our people. They’re the ones who represent us. Their role in understanding the customer’s mission and developing the solutions that help drive the mission is pivotal.
As we all know, there’s a shortage of technology talent in the federal landscape. The industry must prioritize the long-term mobility of employees so they can stay and grow in their careers while supporting government programs.
We’re constantly looking for ways to invest in employee growth, mobility, and upskilling opportunities. In 2021, GDIT increased internal mobility by 45% and certifications by 10%. For employees and new recruits, this meant professional development and certifications in in-demand skills like cyber, AI and cloud. Our investment in our people has translated to better customer engagement at all levels because we’re providing our customers with the best people to fulfill the job.
In addition, we all need to invest and support the development of our future workforce. This is near and dear to my heart. Our long-term investment in St. Louis is a great example of this approach. In December 2021, we expanded our presence in the region with a new geospatial innovation center at the Cortex. GDIT employs more than 100 people in St. Louis, with plans for future growth. We developed partnerships with local universities and non-profits to cultivate the geospatial innovators of tomorrow and built a talent pipeline with mentorship and internship opportunities. We also partnered with local non-profits and workforce development organizations such as the Little Bit Foundation, Gateway Global American Youth and Business Alliance. This is the model we want to follow in other regions around the country as well.
Finally, the ability to be remote has opened the talent aperture and we have fully exploited it. We learned during the pandemic that technologists with in-demand skills/certifications could work in non-traditional locations in support of our customers’ missions. We are actively working with customers to continue and expand this support so we can provide as much flexibility to our employees as possible. My philosophy is that employee success drives company success and if we take care of our people, they’ll take care of our customers. Everything else will work out because we know those two elements are accounted for and then the sky is the limit for us all.”