Call to Action for Contracting Community
Remarks By Linda Gooden
Executive Vice President,
Information Systems & Global Services,
Lockheed Martin Corporation
Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce - 01/22/2009
Thank you Rich and good morning everyone. I appreciate so many of you coming out on this cold, January morning.
You might not know this, but James and I are neighbors. And during a casual get together late last year around the time of the election, he asked me if I would be willing to speak with you this morning—to share my predictions of the impact of the new administration on the local business community.
I admit I was somewhat wary in accepting this invitation. As we all know, predicting the future—particularly when technology is involved--is a risky proposition. Just consider some of the predictions made over the years by industry pioneers…
At the dawn of the computer industry, IBM president Tom Watson predicted in 1943 that there was a world market for maybe five computers.
Three years later, Darryl Zanuck of 20th Century Fox said that television wouldn’t last because people would get tired of staring at a plywood box.
Maybe we can forgive them, because, after all, this pre-dated the information age…
But the trend continued.
For example, in 1977, Ken Olson, founder of Digital Equipment Company, or DEC, said there was no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.
And, nearly twenty years later, computer networking guru Robert Metcalfe forecast the demise of the internet by the next year--1996.
Now you would think that once we entered the 21st Century, with all of our technology, our predictive abilities would improve.
However, in 2004, Microsoft founder Bill Gates said that in two years SPAM would be eliminated. And I would note that SPAM today comprises about 92 percent of all email.
Oh well …
So, rather than adding to this legacy by laying out my top ten predictions, I thought I would spend a few minutes reflecting on four items in our President’s agenda in the context of “America 2.0”.
First….. energy. The President’s agenda calls for the investment of 150 billion dollars over the next ten years in technology projects to help solve our critical energy and environmental problems. Beyond the environmental benefits, this investment is a way to help address the current economic crisis and improve our security.
That’s not surprising when you consider that today the United States spends 440 billion dollars a year on energy, with American consumers bearing about half of this cost. Needless to say, in the current climate this is a major impact for families, businesses, and the U.S. economy over all.
And it’s more than a national issue; there are global ramifications as well. …Beyond our borders, some 2 billion people worldwide have no access to electricity… obviously inhibiting their ability to participate in the global economy.
I believe we have the ability and more importantly the responsibility to address these concerns.
Specifically, we must support research and development programs on alternative energy sources, such as solar, wind, tides and bio-fuels. We should also bring our program management expertise to government and industry energy efficiency initiatives.
In fact, as the largest single energy consumer in the United States, the federal government has initiated action to significantly reduce energy usage. And through the recently announced 80 billion dollar Federal Energy Management program, our company and 15 others will compete for tasks to help the federal government reduce its energy costs and environmental impact. We will do this through increased energy efficiency, usage of renewable energy, and by improving utility management decisions at federal sites.
Equally important as information technology providers there are things we can do. The McKinsey consulting firm recently reported that data centers will soon surpass vehicles, including airlines, as the world’s greatest energy users. So we must also support green computing initiatives for our customers, and apply some of these same principles to reduce our own carbon footprint and improve our competitiveness.
For example, we must consolidate our labs and our data centers – a step that will shrink our physical footprint and lower our energy consumption. Even something as simple as standardizing on LCD displays can achieve a 50 percent energy savings. And, we should employ desktop power management software and thin client technologies that use a fraction of the power of traditional desktop computers.
I was pleased to learn that the Chamber has launched a green business initiative to help Montgomery County businesses apply environmentally sustainable practices and to help the county develop its green business certification process.
We look forward to being a part of this important effort.
In helping our customers address energy and environmental challenges, and by spearheading initiatives within our own organizations and communities, we will not only contribute to our business success, we will help the nation achieve Energy 2.0….enlightened energy management …leading to a clean, independent energy future.
A second area of opportunity in President Obama’s agenda is health care. This is not surprising when you consider that U.S. health care expenditures are nearly 3 trillion dollars a year.
A key aspect of the comprehensive health care plan calls for the investment of 10 billion dollars a year… over the next five years to phase in health information technology and move U.S. health care to standards-based electronic health information systems, including electronic health records.
As contractors, we must work with federal agencies to bring our capabilities to this important area.
- Enterprise data management skills to support systems for electronic health records;
- Asset management solutions to track and deploy systems, supplies and pharmaceuticals; and
- Biometric credentialing for patient security and privacy.
Collectively, this would provide a public health system that is responsive to the day-to-day needs of our citizens and capable of providing surge support to address public health emergencies.
I would also note that the President’s plan focuses on disease prevention and early diagnosis as a way to improve the health and well being of citizens, while reducing costs for treatment of chronic conditions. I believe the local life sciences and biotechnology business community could have a dramatic impact. This is an area that barely existed 25 years ago, but has brought so many significant advances. These firms will surely play a vital role in bringing innovative approaches to our nation’s health care challenges that will improve the quality of life for all Americans.
With these actions, we will help our nation lower health care costs and ensure access to quality care for all as we drive to the next generation of healthcare…Healthcare 2.0…. for everyone, everywhere … every time.
The third item I’d like to talk about is education. We as a nation are committed to upgrading our educational system to ensure that all students are equipped with the necessary science, technology and math skills to succeed in the 21st century economy.
Did you know that today China graduates more English speaking engineers in a month than the U.S. does in a year?
The statistics are alarming. We have a growing shortfall of U.S. scientists and engineers and that challenges our global competitiveness.
With the baby boomer generation nearing retirement, this is becoming a vital issue. Within my own company, for example, we will have to hire 50,000 technical people over the next 5 years to meet our growing business requirements.
But I am encouraged by the fact that our young people today are the most technology savvy generation in history. More than 70 percent of 4 year olds have used a computer, and more than 50 percent of 21 year olds have created content on the web. These same 21 year olds have also played 10,000 hours of video games, watched 20,000 hours of television, and sent or received 250,000 emails.
So the challenge is not selling them on technology …it’s finding new educational approaches that energize and excite these “digital natives”… Approaches that leverage their natural aptitude for technology in ways they can relate to and that show them how they can apply the technology they love….and make a difference in the world.
As local businesses, we must:
- Support efforts to expand access to computers and networks in our schools.
- Mentor teachers and assist curriculum development efforts; and
- Sponsor internships to provide experiential opportunities.
Collectively, through these efforts, we will encourage students to pursue careers in science, technology and math, and ultimately, offer exciting and rewarding work experiences that address their expectations and draw on their powerful attributes and skills.
Once in the workforce, these digital natives come with new expectations. While in the past employees may have gathered around the water cooler, young employees today congregate around wikis and share ideas on social media sites such as MySpace and FaceBook.
That’s why many of us in industry are developing social networking tools for ourselves and for our customers to help improve the sharing of ideas and information. This supports lifelong learning and technical currency in this dynamic, competitive environment.
And education doesn’t stop there….We also need to mentor each other as individuals and as companies, through formal mentor/protégé relationships and informally through organizations such as the Chamber’s Government Contracting Network.
The American social writer and philosopher Eric Hoffer once observed that "In times of change it is the learners who inherit the future. Those who have finished learning find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists."
By actively engaging in efforts to broaden the pipeline of future scientists and engineers, and by working together to make sure our skills are current and relevant, we will not only retain America’s edge as the world’s technology leader, we will be preparing the next generation with the technical skills to make the world a better place for everyone, enabled by Education 2.0.
Last but not least… the fourth – and, personally, my favorite --area of the new agenda, and where I assert we as a contractor community will make an impact, is technology and innovation.
At noon on Tuesday, January 20, the administration’s new website—whitehouse.gov—was launched with a banner that read “Change has come to America.” This builds on the successful campaign strategy, where collaborative Web 2.0 technologies were used to create Campaign 2.0—ultimately energizing millions of Americans.
President Obama understands the transformative potential of this technology to create a transparent and connected democracy. He has pledged to establish the nation’s first Chief Technology Officer. He has advocated the deployment of a modern communications infrastructure. And he has highlighted the role of technology and innovation in addressing our nation’s most pressing problems. In this regard, technology and innovation is truly a capstone issue.
Intuitively, we appreciate this potential. After all, as technology firms, we are in the business of change.
To illustrate this point…Just think for a moment about the growth of the internet…in 1984 the number of connected devices was 1000… in 1992 this grew to 1 million and in 2008 it reached 1 billion. We are in an era where every device will have an IP address.
Now I don’t want anyone here thinking I’ve been around as long as those guys I mentioned at the beginning of my talk, but in the three decades that I have been a part of this industry, I have seen information technology grow to support and enable the entire government enterprise—from automating a manual process to enabling the whole of government.
As the scope of the system has evolved from stovepipes to the enterprise, so have the vulnerabilities. Almost one in four Federal Chief Information Officers surveyed said the IT infrastructure that supports their department or agency’s mission has become more vulnerable. And six in ten said security was an area where their IT workforce had gaps in skill and knowledge.
Cyber security is perhaps the greatest challenge of the information age, and, as a contractor community, we must work together to ensure the IT infrastructure we build and maintain for our customers and for ourselves is secure.
As a contractor community, we are the experts. We must apply innovative technology to address the customer’s complex challenges…whether it involves delivering services to citizens in a more timely and transparent manner; ensuring diplomacy and stability operations around the world; or defending the nation at home or abroad. Collectively, this enables the effective and efficient use of all of the tools of government ….by definition… Smart Power.
From a local perspective, we are all privileged to work in a community that understands and supports high technology. As a Montgomery County resident, I am truly amazed by the number of technology businesses springing up all over the county.
That’s why we are excited by the Chamber’s Vision 2030 effort to ensure Montgomery County’s leadership in solving some of society’s greatest future challenges, in areas such as energy and environmental sustainability, life sciences, and information technology.
This effort not only dovetails with the priorities of the new Administration, it will help ensure that Montgomery County remains a great place for companies to support the national technology and innovation agenda for years to come.
In closing, during his inaugural address on Tuesday, President Obama called on the nation to Begin the remaking of America, observing that “everywhere we look there is work to be done.”
He called for bold and swift action... to lay a foundation for the future based on technology… to modernize our infrastructure and digital highways…to address health care and energy … and prepare the next generation to meet the demands of a new age.
As our new President starts his second full day in office, I hope, like me, you are excited by the opportunities awaiting us in the days and months ahead. And while I haven’t looked inside a crystal ball, or read horoscopes, tea leaves or tarot cards, I have a pretty good feeling about the future.
It’s been said that the only sure way to predict the future is to invent it. As an industry forged by change, we must embrace the opportunity…and the responsibility… to respond to our new President’s call to action.
By working together, I will predict that we will help create America 2.0…a smart government… making the promise of the future a reality…..Thank you