Randy Crow, general manager at Dragos, spoke with ExecutiveBiz regarding the core values that are important to the company’s successful culture and the significant ways the organization is advancing the contract bidding process as well as his advice on how career military personnel can make the transition into the public or private sectors during the latest Executive Spotlight interview.
You can read the full interview with Randy Crow below.
ExecutiveBiz: How is your organization working to address the latest training methods and processes with your workforce to address the latest challenges of technology implementation and driving solutions for your customers?
“Extensive onboarding – first 90 days.
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?
“Transparency, diversity, equity, and inclusion are engrained in the culture.
Humble, Hungry and Smart are key qualities of all employees that we search for to join Dragos.
Every employee has a map for the future.
We’ve done “leveling” to eliminate bias.”
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?
“Partnerships with key GTM groups/teams/SI’s/vendors.
See Humble, Hungry and Smart.”
ExecutiveBiz: Congrats on recently joining the company and/or assuming your new role! 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?
“I am not new to the company but this was a marketplace I was very interested in 10 years ago that has come to fruition now.
Safeguarding Civilization is our Mantra -see the website and that is a very worthy goal to keep the lights on, the water clean, the pipelines flowing, the buildings operating, the railroads running and the manufacturing lines moving.”
ExecutiveBiz: What advice would you give to someone who is or wants to make the transition from a past military career into the public or private sectors? What are the most important aspects to understand in order to successfully make the transition?
“Take some security classes and get some CERTS.
There is a huge shortage of cyber folks out there – OT in particular.
Recommendations for entering the market: Go to school and get a degree with a major or a minor in cyber.
Alternatively, get a cyber certification by taking classes, attending SANS or SANS-like training, going to conferences (virtual and in person).
From a current employer– get involved, volunteer, and ask for mentoring from the existing team.”
ExecutiveBiz: What can you tell us about the company’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?
“The company is only 6 years young – our growth has exploded to 550 employees as we’ve expanded geographically and to cover the range of organizations using OT technology, including the Federal government.
Federal is at the center of critical infrastructure of course, and within agencies, there are particular needs around things like building automation, manufacturing, electric grids, dams and dikes and of course weapon systems.”
ExecutiveBiz: How have recent partnerships been able to assist your company to expand its position in the federal marketplace, drive innovation and new capabilities and ultimately help complete your company’s mission?
“We have outstanding partners – all of the big SI’s around the Washington Beltway and a small army of precision contractors helping us with our mission.
We also have amazing strength with the providers of industrial infrastructure; virtually every provider is partnered with Dragos to protect our nation.”
ExecutiveBiz: An important part of a company having strong business ethics in the federal sector is about helping and giving back to the greater community. Can you speak to the various charities and work with other organizations that your company does to make a difference and how people can get involved?
“Every organization has to contribute to the community during an event.
Even company trips – attendees built wheelchairs and worked in food banks. Locally we did oyster shell restoration to help save the Chesapeake Bay.”
ExecutiveBiz: How can industry and the federal government work together to increase greater collaboration and drive more innovative solutions for everyone to use to address the latest challenges of today?
“Industry days are great, including access to decision-makers.
Participation in forums for collaboration like Neighborhood Keeper here as an example of a public-private partnership that has strengthened collective defense by allowing anonymous data sharing between government and Industry.”
ExecutiveBiz: With the influence of emerging technologies impacting every aspect of business, how has your company been able to drive digital transformation efforts to stay ahead of innovation in the federal landscape for yourself and your customers?
“We are thought leaders globally for ICS/OT cyber technology and trends.
We are seeing increased demand as the critical infrastructure gets even more and more connected deriving benefits from 4 and 5G bandwidth.”
ExecutiveBiz: With the cost of innovation creating very significant challenges in the government contracting sector, how do you and your team adjust to the financial demands involved to stay ahead of the curve in the technology sector?
“The requirements from the US Government are evolving, onerous and expensive. This is a big challenge for any organization to live up to these requirements prior to doing business with the Federal Government.”
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 hasn’t been addressed or discussed enough?
“Funding in the US Government has been top-heavy and not specific to date. The intended result gets watered down as the funding never seems to get to the area of need. Having contracts be more specific or granular on the requirements is most needed.
Specifically, organizations need dedicated resources for OT cyber, since ICS systems are unique and you can’t just copy IT cyber best practices and technology and expect that to work for Critical Infrastructure protection.”
ExecutiveBiz: 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?
“Increased transparency and sources of information have been good and growing; improved public-private partnerships to meet big challenges through better collaboration, such as DOE w/100-day EO plans for the electric sector, TSA’s improving cyber guidelines for pipeline companies are great examples of getting government-focused on protecting our nation.”
ExecutiveBiz: With zero-trust technology becoming a major focal point moving forward, what can you tell us about the difficulties of implementing zero-trust architectures and focusing on data security?
“Zero trust is not new, but it is the current buzzword of implementing best practices for existing infrastructure. This is a great example of how all things IT don’t necessarily apply to OT. In many cases this doesn’t apply as the networks, the devices and the protocols are all different.”
ExecutiveBiz: What do you see as the most critical challenges facing those in the federal sector as cybersecurity continues to rise in importance and cyber hygiene becomes a necessity for all companies and even more critical at the national security level?
“Carving off a budget that is more specific to ICS/OT requirements is key to success. Having it buried in larger cyber budgets does not get the desired outcome accomplished.”
ExecutiveBiz: With the current administration focusing heavily on small businesses in the federal sector, how will your company move with the market to ensure success through the changes in policy and compliance for the rest of this year into the future?
“We are well-tuned into working with small companies and the needs of the Federal Government and tend to team as wanted and needed.”
ExecutiveBiz: What can you tell us about the labor market challenges for your company as the talent gaps in the workforce continue to be an issue with demand only increasing in the area of cybersecurity and other critical areas?
“Prevent unwanted churn by being well-tuned into our employees, as well as being transparent, fair, and equitable.”
ExecutiveBiz: How have the recent changes of operations and the influence of telework impacted your business and driven your workforce to advance in such a competitive and ever-changing landscape?
“Our initial workforce was already largely remote even before the pandemic, so as the company grew, we already had the culture to support telework. That being said, in light of the pandemic, the company does make the extra effort to ensure remote employees have the support and resources they need to properly do their work as well as balance their professional and personal lives.”
ExecutiveBiz: What are the most significant ways that your organization is working to advance its contract bidding offerings and processes in order to drive company growth and establish yourself as a big player in the GovCon sector?
“We have a variety of sources of information ranging from SAM.gov, GovWin, Grants.gov, etc to direct sources such as company participation in trade associations, Potomac Officers Club, ISAC and other ‘birds of a feather’ organizations. Our partners also are key to turning up new activities and opportunities.”