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Career Story: Vice President Of Business Development

Vice President Of Business Development

Job Title: Vice President

Education: BS Industrial Engineering •• MS Information Systems

Previous Experience: 20 years in the U. S. Navy. Naval Aviator. Acquisition Professional. Expertise in acoustics, anti-submarine warfare, and satellite communications.

Job Tasks: My company is a Fortune 500 scientific, engineering, and technology applications company that uses its deep domain knowledge to solve problems of vital importance to the nation and the world, in national security, energy and the environment, critical infrastructure, and health. The company's approximately 44,000 employees serve customers in the Department of Defense, the intelligence community, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, other U.S. Government civil agencies and selected commercial markets. The company had annual revenues of $8.9 billion for its fiscal year ended January 31, 2008.

In terms of where I fit in the organization, I belong to the Defense Solutions Group. The Defense Solutions Group (DSG) is made up of a highly qualified team of professionals with the common objective to grow the organization by providing Systems Engineering & Integration, and Command and Control (C2) Solutions to ensure customer mission success. Our wide breadth of skills includes Navy, Army, and Missile Defense engineering services, C2 systems development, engineering and integration and total Enterprise IT solutions. Within DSG, we are further broken down into Business Units. My Business Unit is principally focused on the Army and on Missile Defense.

In my role for business development (BD), my days will be varied. Business Development involves a significant amount of research for new opportunities, as well as a large portion of time qualifying (i.e., making sure that the opportunities are genuine AND are funded) them. My days also involve frequent contact with current and potential customers in an attempt to listen to their issues, glean information on new needs, and ensure that they recognize that we are there to support them as best we can.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best parts: Frequent interaction with people, both internally and with external customers. Also, meetings with other companies as potential partners can be very interesting, and sometimes is a lot like playing poker.

The worst part: Proposal efforts are very intense working periods that we use to respond to a government Request for Proposal (RFP) -- in other words, "tell us how you'll solve our problems." Proposal efforts are very involved, with many parts of the organization (contracts, pricing, and others) coming together to meet what is usually a pretty demanding timeline. The good news is that the team is focused for a short (30 days) period of time. The bad news is that you will use nearly every minute of those 30 days to write your proposal.

Job Tips:
1. A technical background is very helpful in business development, depending upon your chosen area in industry. In mine, we are providing technical solutions, so a tech background is extremely helpful in understanding and ultimately articulating the capabilities and solutions your company might have.

2. It helps to have good people skills. I like to think that I can talk to just about anyone -- make sure that you have the confidence to do this too.

3. Writing skills are very important.

4. Be self confident - many times I've had to make presentations in front of large (up to 250 people) groups.

Additional Thoughts: My military background really grounded me for work in a number of areas. While not a prerequisite, it can give you a real appreciation for technology.

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