Christopher Worley, vice president of DoD Earth Intelligence Programs for Maxar, recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz regarding the company’s recent growth initiatives as well as the critical importance of its culture in such a competitive market that is constantly improving how we think about the greater innovation challenges of today during the latest Executive Spotlight interview.
You can read the full interview with Christopher Worley below.
ExecutiveBiz: What can you tell us about Maxar’s recent growth initiatives? What do you hope to accomplish and are there any new markets that you’re keeping an eye on in the federal sector?
Christopher Worley: “It’s been a great year for Maxar with the award of the National Reconnaissance Office’s Electro-Optical Commercial Layer contract, which is a fantastic reaffirmation of the value we bring to the U.S. defense and intelligence communities and across our customer segments.
It also shows the level of trust Maxar customers have in the data and analytics we provide and all of us at Maxar are very excited about that. We’re proud to be a valued partner for another decade.
Maxar products and solutions deliver not only high-fidelity data for U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) warfighters but also create an unclassified foundation from which to work with our allies and partners.
The world is changing and the U.S. will be increasingly engaged with nations beyond just our Five Eyes partners. Whether you’re looking at Europe and Ukraine or to Africa and the Pacific, the rising demands required to support our national strategy will require a common framework of information.
By offering an unclassified baseline, Maxar enables the opportunity to seamlessly integrate mission planning and operations as well as coordination among nations.
One of the critical areas we’re looking at in terms of new opportunities is to enable the U.S. government to create persistence in collecting Indications & Warning as well as other mission needs across the spectrum of operations.
With so many crisis hotspots around the world, from emerging conflicts to natural disasters, the defense and intelligence communities need to monitor numerous locations simultaneously.
Maxar’s geospatial imagery and products allow the government to apply greater flexibility and focus national assets against the highest priorities while leveraging commercial capabilities to ensure persistent global collection and that nothing falls through the cracks.”
ExecutiveBiz: In recent years, what are some of the biggest improvements you’ve seen in the way we talk and think about innovation across the federal sector since the rise of cybersecurity, AI/ML, 5G and other emerging technologies?
Christopher Worley: “Today Maxar provides not only pixels but a suite of technologies that offer actionable insights from sensor to decision.
While we are traditionally known for our industry-leading imagery, we also provide secure data and communications infrastructure, mobile direct-downlink terminals, 3D data and precision georegistration, and AI/ML technology to support DOD and other customer missions.
We’re actively demonstrating how our 3D data and tools can apply to specific operational use cases and inform rapid decision-making. For example, Maxar demonstrated how when applied to imagery our Precision 3D Registration (P3DR) enables effective line-of-sight analysis for the U.S. Army.
One of the largest efforts my team is working on right now is supporting synthetic training environments through the U.S. Army’s One World Terrain program, and expanding this 3D capability from training to mission planning and operations.
However, that’s just the beginning of the virtual training landscape for the U.S. military. With regard to the Air Force, we share their vision in Distributed Mission Operations and believe we can provide force-multiplying value supporting virtual flight simulations through a common 3D image and mapping layer across the service and globally across any training range, real or virtual.
We have the imagery, data and experience to help the DoD link simulators across platforms, be it flight simulators at an Air Force base, to joint and combined training with foreign partners.
The key for Maxar moving forward is to not create and provide a new device but to identify the best and most cost-effective means to seamlessly integrate our data across the existing and planned enterprise frameworks of our customers.
This can be through handheld device planning or out-the-window representations for pilots on what they will expect to see on a sortie or mission.”
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?
Christopher Worley: “I joined Maxar because of our culture and company values. We put the mission first, which really resonates with me as a former Air Force guy.
‘We do it right’ and ‘We act like owners’ are other key values in our culture. It’s a reflection of the leadership for Maxar, including the markets we operate in where people aren’t just clocking in and out of their jobs each day. They care deeply about our work and our mission. They care about our customers who we work with every day.
The quality of the product and the experience of the user interface is paramount. It’s something we spend a lot of time on because it’s not only about the amount of data that goes out the door, it’s also about customer feedback and company pride.
I’m proud to say the work we do is resonating with the DoD. As someone who has worked in the field for more than 30 years, I believe the most critical aspect of innovation is humility. If you think you have all the answers, you’re not going to be open to new ideas. New ideas are essential to innovation, and Maxar is a leader in geospatial innovation.
Our leadership asks us for input and new ideas, which is the kind of culture worth being a part of in our sector. Diversity and thought leadership are the greatest strengths of our company.
In our industry, there’s a war on talent, especially in soft sciences, software and platform development as well as user interface and user experience. At the end of the day, we’re all going after the same unicorns. While the COVID-19 pandemic has been tragic, the events have opened up our mindset in terms of what the workforce can look like.
We’re leveraging that new distributed construct to hire people who don’t necessarily live near any of our offices. That opens the door widely for adding new talent we may have missed even five years ago.”