Dawn Pinto, chief financial officer for Critical Mission Solutions with Jacobs, recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz about recently joining the company as well as her strategic goals and the most significant challenges facing government agencies and organizations on the business side of innovation during the latest Executive Spotlight interview.
You can read the full Executive Spotlight interview with Dawn Pinto below:
ExecutiveBiz: Congrats on recently joining Jacobs back in January! Why did you want to join the company and what were the attributes of its mission that attracted you to the role? What do you hope to accomplish with the company?
Dawn Pinto: “The most significant factor that brought me to Jacobs was the current transition that we are undergoing through our new growth strategy to elevate the company’s brand within the federal and commercial marketplace.
People always talked about Jacobs as a big organization, but not that many are familiar with our work in the federal government. Despite the fact that Jacobs has over $5 billion of work, we are not mentioned alongside the major service providers. We want to be a part of that conversation.
A lot of the people who know Jacobs are more familiar with our engineering and procurement work. We’re a very diverse company and along with this new growth strategy, one of the things that brought me to the company was its outside of the box mentality. I’m a big proponent of change and I was very excited about the transition that Jacobs is working through right now.
Internally to finance Jacob’s has a lot of opportunities to use technology and truly leverage how we’re operating to be more efficient. Our leaders can really focus on the harder aspects that are happening externally with our customers versus everything we do internally.
A lot of companies focus so much internally because of their systems and processes. I think what excites me most is Jacobs taking this transformation seriously within the finance area to elevate what we’re doing to support the market leaders who help our customers achieve their missions.
The other piece that I believe is really unique, especially from the previous organizations that I have worked for, is Jacobs’ focus on the environment. For me personally, that’s an arena that we focus on a lot and is very important to me.
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?
Dawn Pinto: “From the CFO aspect, there is obviously organic growth that we have and it’s just really hard right now from a talent recruitment standpoint. We all need to be smart and strategic about how we all move forward and make some rather tough decisions. Jacobs culture should be really attractive to a lot of people. At the end of the day, everything is about the mission.
- One of the things that I’ve loved about working with the federal government is the mission that we do is just incredible. You feel like you’re making a difference for our nation and even the whole world which helps attracting and retaining staff.
At Jacobs, we want people who are dedicated to support our customers. It’s really difficult when you work at the customer site because you can feel isolated, but it’s truly the program managers who work the jobs and stay connected with the people sharing the Jacobs ‘Culture of Caring.’
Obviously, we’re always trying to improve our benefits and talent retention efforts to be as competitive as we can in the federal marketplace. I believe that it comes down to the people, relationships and the connections we make.
- Because we have historically been known for our engineering business, one of the things that we’re trying to work on and within Jacobs is utilizing our people and their talents in other key areas while waiting clearances. Some of the clearances might take some time, but we can use our talented people to address other areas outside of the Federal Government.
- With there being new cyber threats, on what seems like a daily basis, how do we reskill the people at Jacobs to ensure the need of today and in the coming years to prepare for the future.
Jacobs is really putting a lot of thought and effort behind that because when people feel like they’re being invested in, they can see the long term opportunities and plans for where their career is heading in the next five or even ten years. They won’t need to find the next company to grow professionally.
Jacobs has been trying to leverage groups and networks to bring people in and train them for the jobs of tomorrow, not just what they have to accomplish today or in the short term. There are a few initiatives internally that are cutting edge. With things constantly changing in our business, how people are trained also needs to be addressed as well.”
ExecutiveBiz: We often discuss innovation from the technical or capability side. What are some of the unique challenges that you’ve seen on the business side of innovation that haven’t been addressed or discussed enough?
Dawn Pinto: “As Jacobs Divergent Solutions Business Unit is operational in October, our leadership is focusing on how to collect that data and implement cost saving tools to make it as informative as possible to drive decision making and become more agile and faster for our customer needs.
Like our customers, internally Jacobs faces data overload, especially in the financial world and we need to figure out how to collect all this data, leverage it to make it decisions internally and for our customers.
With Divergent Solutions coming into the fold, that will really drive and focus our innovation and technology which can be leveraged company-wide. We are going to be able to have the resources and leverage them to be faster and provide a more comprehensive solution than our competitor.”