“A lot of proposals we had done over the years were technology centric. Because of EMTM, we totally revamped the way we do proposals… and won the contract against the odds.”
Jim Rodman, JD, EMTM’05
Senior Program Manager
Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Services
Jim Rodman, JD, EMTM’05
A Compelling Value Proposition
Shortly after starting the EMTM program, Jim Rodman was working at Lockheed Martin on a proposal for a multi-million-dollar government contract. It was a long shot. Even his division vice president said he thought their chances were about zero. But a marketing course in the first semester opened Jim's eyes to the importance of creating a compelling value proposition. Then head of business development in the company's Systems Integration business group, he changed his approach.
"A lot of proposals we had done over the years were technology centric. I remember vividly in one EMTM class, the professor said that the customer doesn't care if you have RAID storage or fiber backbones. You need to put yourself in the customer's shoes and ask: Is what I am trying to offer really going to help them, or is it just self-serving technology? … Because of EMTM, we totally revamped the way we do proposals. We stood in our customer's shoes, understood their environment, and then built a winning value proposition designed to address their technology problems, not ours. Lo and behold, we won the contract against the odds."
It was among $1.8 billion in new business orders that Jim brought into Lockheed Martin in the four years before he was promoted to senior program manager, coinciding with his graduation from the EMTM program in 2005. His achievements also garnered the company's 2004 Entrepreneur's award for individual initiative and innovation.
In his new position leading a development team of 45 employees and a $1.1 million R&D budget, he relies on his EMTM skills to handle both strategic and tactical business problems. The exposure to diverse technologies was crucial. With degrees in aerospace engineering and law, Jim relies on his EMTM experience in networking, telecommunications and software development to build innovative access solutions for his government customers. He stays in touch with Mark Pecen, a fellow classmate and world renowned expert in wireless telecommunications, to stay abreast of new and emerging technologies to enhance Lockheed Martin's portfolio of solutions.
"The program strikes the right balance between business and technology. Effective technical managers have to be skilled in both. By exposing students to diverse technologies and fundamental business principles, they're prepared to ask the tough questions, not feel overwhelmed by a blizzard of technical and financial information. The program provides a sound basis for decision making I'm more confident when I meet with my technical team, brief my government customers or negotiate a contract."
Before choosing the EMTM program, he had considered pursuing an MBA. "I wanted to think like a businessman but had no plans to become an investment banker. As a technology manager, understanding the business of technology is just as important as the design and integration of technology products and services. EMTM offers a well rounded graduate education that seamlessly blends both technology and business into one streamlined curriculum."
He expects EMTM skills to become even more important in the future. "Technology is the key to prosperity. Technology influences every segment of the economy and every facet of business operation from the mailroom to the boardroom. As the gap between business and technology disappears, understanding both is crucial to success. I don't know how you could be CEO or vice president of any business, even a non-technology business, without understanding technology and its impact on the bottom line."