Rocky Thurston, chief operating officer With DMI, recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz regarding his appointment to the company back in January as well as the growth initiatives and company culture that is driving the long-term success of its workforce and growth in the federal landscape during the latest Executive Spotlight interview.
You can read the full Executive Spotlight interview with Rocky Thurston below:
ExecutiveBiz: Congrats on recently joining DMI as its COO back in January! Why did you want to join the company and what do you hope to accomplish with the company?
Rocky Thurston: “I have been in the IT professional services market for well over 20 years and I’ve had rewarding experiences with larger, global companies. I’ve always known where I wanted to go in my career and DMI has afforded me that opportunity.
In my short time with DMI, it’s been more than expected. DMI has exceptional talent, and differentiated capabilities, and sits at the intersection of commercial and federal – all of which make me excited about the services we offer to our clients, the careers for our people, and the exponential growth of our business.
The first thing I noticed about DMI was our exceptional talent. As a fast-paced, agile company we attract and retain the best and brightest in their field.
We have leading experts in specific areas of digital transformation such as software-defined vehicles, enhanced digital user experience, consumable and headless business systems, consumption-based outsourcing, and end-to-end managed mobility services.
Our people and our capabilities are recognized by Gartner, Forrester, Clutch, and the Everest Group to name a few and we have been consistently recognized by our employees as Top Workplace in both regional and national categories.
Those skills, and the experiences we create for our customers, are what differentiate DMI as we sit at the intersection of the commercial and public sectors, which allows us to expose both sides of our client set to the benefits of each market. That’s just not possible for a lot of companies out in our market.
Several companies have both commercial and federal customers, but there are physical barriers between those businesses. At DMI, we don’t have those barriers. As a result, we bring the best to each of those communities. I’ve been impressed with those capabilities since I joined the company, and I’ve enjoyed every moment so far.”
ExecutiveBiz: What can you tell us about the company’s recent growth initiatives and how you’re driving value for your customers through contract awards, acquisitions and other aspects across the federal sector?
Rocky Thurston: “DMI is considered a ‘mid-market’ player. I don’t believe that. I believe we compete on all levels. Having grown out of the small business arena and now winning and delivering on large-scale federal programs, we have demonstrated we are a company on the playing field. We will continue to demonstrate that more in the future.
There is a major difference in working with DMI. The difference is our customers get the personalized, dedicated attention that many large companies cannot provide. In addition, I have mentioned we sit at this intersection of the commercial and federal sectors.
What I mean is we have a large set of customers and contracts in both the commercial market and the public sectors. We can bring all the tech advances, process maturity, industry expertise, and functional knowledge from those commercial experiences back to the federal government – which I believe is an incredible value-add to our federal customers.
For instance, our largest client is the FDIC and its primary mission is regulating banks. DMI understands private banks and insurers and how they’re actually running their business. We understand their business and mission focus, which makes for a very different value proposition for a company like DMI to establish ourselves in the marketplace.
In addition, we are excited to have new growth leadership from Trey Theimer, our new CGO. Having worked with Trey, she knows what it takes to develop a strategy, prioritize investments, and execute a plan.
As part of that plan, we look at both organic and inorganic strategic opportunities. Recently we acquired Aurotech to further our position and services at the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
We have plans for much more, and with the help of OceanSound Partners (our private equity supporters), we will continue to accelerate a rapid growth plan. That’s what I love to do; I’m excited to be part of it!”
ExecutiveBiz: What are the core values that are important to your company’s culture? How has your team developed its workflow and ability to drive success in such a competitive market?
Rocky Thurston: “I’ve always been a big believer in creating a common culture across the entire business. That’s exactly what we’re building right now within DMI and it starts with our core values.
Our leadership team sat down with a group of DMI employees and rewrote our company values. Honestly, our new core values are not your run-of-the-mill statements. We wanted powerful and meaningful values that our people, stakeholders, and customers will live and embrace.
When I speak to our people I reference our core values – Be Bold, Be Unique, Be Curious, Be Human – and I conclude with Be DMI. These statements represent who we are today and who we will become in the future.
With all the acquisitions we’ve made and will make in the future, we never want to lose the special traits of our company and the people who have been with us for a long time.
As a result, the ‘new core values’ were very easy to embrace from even our longtime employees because they’re essentially the same as the old DMI, but with some enhancements to help grow the company and find a new way of moving forward in such a competitive market. I think they are working given we have been named Top Workplace in several different categories.”
ExecutiveBiz: How does DMI 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?
Rocky Thurston: “In addition to maintaining a strong culture, we continuously look for ways to attract and retain top talent.
One of those ways is affording flexibility in our employee’s careers. We offer our employees the ability to provide a public service in our public sector business and they can move to support a commercial customer on their next assignment.
For example, we have had developers and analysts go from supporting Liberty Mutual, Tesla, and TJ Maxx to support the State of Maryland, HHS, and the U.S. Army – that’s what I mean about sitting at the intersection. That experience is also incredibly rewarding for the employee and the customer.
We also built a new commitment to learning and development – which is absolutely important for DMI’s future because we need to empower our people to grow. The entire continuous learning concept is truly a catalyst for DMI to grow and innovate to stay ahead of the competitive market and ensure our company is attracting the best new talent.
Lastly, we offer endless opportunities for career development. As I mentioned in the beginning, we have the best and the brightest in their field. If I were starting out my career today, I would want to work alongside the experts in industry!
From tech wizards to design geniuses to true business leaders, DMI has the best. We have also found a way to make every voice heard; we cut the red tape and bureaucracy and we offer exposure to all levels in the business. In my eyes, that’s an exciting place to work.”