Q&A with GDIT’s Deb Davis, Vice President and General Manager, Mission Solutions Sector
Deb Davis is a Vice President & General Manager with General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT) and a member of the Intelligence and Homeland Security Division Leadership Team. Davis is the executive responsible for the Mission Solutions Sector (MSS), to include technical, engineering, mission and IT Enterprise solutions and services. She is the primary point of contact for MSS senior stakeholders, and facilitates communication, risk mitigation, and the implementation and integration of portfolio plans and processes to achieve mission success.
Who is GDIT, and how do you support the GEOINT mission?
GDIT is a leading government technology integrator and is a trusted partner in supporting and securing some of the most complex government, defense, and intelligence projects. We are more than 30,000 employees strong, including 14,000 cleared professionals, which enables us to bring significant, specialized expertise to critical missions. Our partnership with the Intelligence and Geospatial Communities spans over 50 years and has resulted in many technological innovations with transformative impact for our customers.
We encourage innovation everywhere because we believe it is the best way to accelerate progress and deliver critical solutions to our customers. Innovation is at the very heart of our customers’ missions, and as a trusted partner, GDIT takes great pride in the opportunity we have to help transform the way agencies work. We believe diversity drives innovation, and we actively invest in diverse talent, partnerships, and innovations that support the GEOINT community and advance our customers’ missions.
How do you collaborate and bring innovation to geospatial mission partners?
Innovation is inherently cultural for our team; it’s not just about understanding the latest start-up technology or what Silicon Valley is doing. It’s about looking at how we can advance our customers’ missions on a daily basis. To do that, we intimately understand the technologies they use and how they work so we can deliver new capabilities at the nexus of mission and IT.
Our diversity of partners helps us develop the types of innovations we need for our customers. We are actively providing mentoring support, incubating, and developing a partner ecosystem to add breadth and depth to skill sets to serve our customers better. We see incredible value in individuals and groups who can provide niche skills and expertise. This is why we place a strong emphasis on continuing to develop our global partner ecosystem.
In St. Louis, for example, we recently expanded our footprint with a new home in the city’s Cortex Innovation Community (CIC). There, we can connect our technology capabilities in the East and West and provide a unique space for unclassified development and innovation. We can bring new, leading-edge innovations to customers faster, with greater mission-centric value than ever.
Tell us about the DeepSky environment and the technologies that are part of this innovation platform.
DeepSky is an innovation proving ground supported by a hybrid cloud architecture and purpose-built to support a wide variety of customer needs. This environment is where design and development begin, and many of the capabilities we deploy to our customers’ environments start here. It is a place to collaborate with technology and industry partners, as well as with emerging technology companies and academia.
DeepSky accelerates innovation and significantly reduces development cycles. By mitigating traditional roadblocks through identifying, testing, and integrating new capabilities using low-to-high development efforts, we receive feedback prior to implementation. This results in a proven capability delivered to our customers. Some of the capabilities GDIT is testing and enhancing are high-performance computing (HPC), automation, orchestration, containerization, and PaaS in a hybrid cloud.
Over 200 government and contract partners are innovating in DeepSky remotely, and locations in the D.C. Metro Area and St. Louis allow maximum collaboration. Other remote connection capabilities include a Web portal and VPN, allowing us to quickly invite new partners to bring their perspectives and engage in the platform.
What’s next for GDIT in St. Louis?
St. Louis has a vibrant innovation community. We are looking to expand our footprint there and, in the process, strengthen our relationship with our government partners by rapidly developing new solutions and bringing them to the missions we support.
As part of that, we are collaborating with large companies, start-ups, and emerging firms in the St. Louis region, such as World Wide Technology and teKnoluxion. In addition to industry partnerships, we are also focused on academic partnerships in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) that will cultivate the GEOINT innovators of tomorrow while building a GEOINT talent pipeline for industry.
This aligns with our commitment to education, along with supporting the training and development of the technology workforce. It also aligns with GDIT’s charitable giving pillars, as we are partnering with the Brentwood-based Little Bit Foundation, helping to provide access to STEM resources for underserved students.
St Louis is culturally and strategically important to GDIT. We’re leaning in to better serve our customers in the geospatial environment in new and innovative ways, and we’re excited to engage in and support the St. Louis community!