November - December 2021
What did DRT set out to do in 2021?
The company focused on a tech pivot, empowering front-line employees to identify customer pain points and partner with the Idea Lab to develop solutions. Now in the fourth quarter, CEO Susan Kidd says, “DRTers delivered with true collaborations and very meaningful wins . . .”
“ . . . We effectively leveraged our deep understanding of our customers’ missions, drawing on our 18 years of experience.”
~ Susan Kidd, CEO
Initially known for its IT project management work, DRT’s leaders have witnessed this skill set becoming more and more commoditized. Over time, DRT moved into special mission related support services, building deeper relationships with customers. Then early in 2020, the company invested in emerging solutions with the advent of the Idea Lab.
“All of this was in the name of higher end, more in-depth mission support,” says Kidd. “We wanted to deliver true value solutions.” Here’s how the recent DRT wins demonstrated these traits:
- FDA Project Jurisdiction Contract. “In the statement of work, they asked for a healthcare business analyst with medical/pharmaceutical expertise,” says Senior Manager Abu Bhuiyan, “Instead, we suggested a Health Science SME who had also worked at the FDA and understood the scientific nuances that affect our project delivery.” In the proposal, the team also referenced particulars of the FDA’s SharePoint online environment. These spot-on insights and solutions won the contract.
- USDA Bot-A-Thon Technology Competition. How did DRT go home with 5 of the 6 top prizes? In each case, DRTers employed intelligent automation to solve mission challenges faced by USDA’s customers and workforce. “We could easily exemplify value,” says Associate II Erika Birnbaum, whose winning Reporting Bot could trim more than 16,000 human work hours—an annual savings of $435,344. “We met with our customers weekly—the actual users of the bot we were creating. And the Idea Lab was critical to our success, as they briefed us beforehand with key targets and criteria.”
- USDA Farm Product and Conservation Recompete. To this incumbent client, DRT said, “You don’t want the traditional PMO services.” Indeed, says Senior Manager Wesley Callahan, what really resonated with them was the Value Management Services approach—the notion that we could identify and support value delivery with their diverse customer base and each of their unique challenges.” Before these seeds of success could be planted though, IT Manager Greg Schwarz had met with 30 different clients on a recurring basis, every six weeks. “We had engaged with everyone along the customer value chain.”
These victories signify how DRT is plotting and changing its course. “These are not staff augmentation assignments,” says Kidd. “This is high end value we are demonstrating, which will make for important and fascinating work for all of us.”
Employee Spotlight: Sai Gorrepati
Hear from Atlanta-based DRTer Sai Gorrepati about how goal setting and “massive action” transformed his life. (See Susan Kidd’s letter below to explore the role of “massive action” in achieving your aims.)
Q. You’ve been at the CDC for 16 years, 6 of them with DRT. What is the most satisfying aspect of your work?
A. I’m a senior software developer/architect, working with the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Registry. I have been on this project since 2009 and we’ve created 17 surveys. More than 21,000 PALS ( People with ALS) have responded—with information about their symptoms, lifestyles, and more. It’s rewarding to apply technology to such an important cause.
Q. Tell us about a goal in your life that may have come about because of “massive action,” or a series of initiatives.
A. I am originally from India and my goal, from early in life, was to come to the United States. This took years to accomplish—getting good grades, embarking on foreign language study, learning computer science, and securing an electronics and communications degree. Later, I got a job in India that eventually brought me to the States.
Q. What about today? Is there a goal you are working on now?
A. I always want to keep learning. That’s the best thing about working here: every day is a new challenge. To that end, I have requested more training in cloud-based technology.
Q. Any other goals for the new year?
A. To get to travel and see my parents in India. Both had COVID; my mom was hospitalized for two weeks, and my father was quarantined. They have recovered now but it was quite emotional. I have not been back to see them in three years.
Q. What holidays do you look forward to celebrating this time of year?
A. The most important holiday in India is Diwali, the festival of lights, on November 4. Here in Atlanta, we have a big festival, first a religious ceremony with the lighting of diyas. Then there are firecrackers and a feast—all vegetarian, with a lot of traditional sweets. is my favorite.
In this season of giving, your gifts back to the community are particularly heartening. Thank you for showing up for our corporate charity, the Youth Leadership Foundation, here in the D.C. area as well as for the walk to defeat ALS in Atlanta. Thank you, too, for your support of the Angel Tree which, at publication time, amounted to more than $1500—a donation that will be matched dollar for dollar by the corporate office and bring joy to children across the Capital area.
I’m grateful, too, for the accomplishments featured here—for the ways that each of you are marrying your intimate understanding of our customers’ missions to innovations that are proving highly valuable to them.
Lastly, amid the holiday bustle, may I remind you to quiet yourself to set new goals for 2022? Please take a couple minutes to read this article on “massive action,” a concept that has proved invaluable to me. Indeed, we reach our goals only by incremental actions, one after another. Rather than overthinking our next moves, this strategy calls us to MOVE and KEEP MOVING toward our desired ends.
May “massive action” serve you and DRT well in 2022. And may joy and peace be with you and yours for the holidays.
Need a Little Holiday Cheer Right Now?
DRT's Smaller Gatherings Bond the Teams
Important DRT Dates
Thursday, November 11, Veterans Day Holiday (Thank you to all DRT veterans!)
Friday, November 19, DRT New Employee Orientation, DRT Headquarters (Tentative)
Thursday, November 25, Thanksgiving Holiday (Wishing many blessings to you and your families!)
All Month: Donate to DRT Cares’ Perfect Match: Back on My Feet, combating homelessness with fitness, community support, employment and housing resources, sponsored by Frank Nazare. Email DRT Cares: Perfect Match to get your donation matched.
Friday, December 10, DRT’s 2nd Annual Virtual Holiday Party, Noon EST, Online