CACI's Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion
Bill Fairl, CACI President of U.S. Operations
Asian American Chamber of Commerce
Asian & Pacific American Business and Summit Expo
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Thank you, Cindy (Cindy Shao, President, Asian American Chamber of Commerce). It's a real pleasure to be here this afternoon with such an outstanding Greater Washington Area chamber of commerce. You offer such important support in helping to grow member businesses throughout the Asian and Pacific communities.
I sincerely appreciate your invitation to share my thoughts on CACI's commitment to diversity and inclusion ... key components to our growth as a company and how we serve the needs of customers throughout the federal government.
Diversity is a subject that is of great importance to each of us as individuals, to CACI as an international provider of professional services and information technology solutions, and to our nation as a competitor within the community of nations. In each instance, diversity is more than a business imperative. It's the right thing to do.
Let me first tell you a little bit about CACI. In 1962, two former Rand Corporation coworkers, Herb Karr, a visionary with sound business instincts, and Harry Markowitz, a programming genius, founded CACI. Starting with a phone booth and a park bench for an office and $2000 of working capital, they landed a $17,000 simulation software contract in 1963. From this humble beginning, CACI has grown into an international organization, employing nearly 14,000 people in 120 offices in the U.S. and Europe. With estimated FY11 revenue of around $3.5 billion, we serve our customers in the areas of defense, intelligence, homeland security, and information technology modernization and government transformation.
We are now just a few weeks away from marking our 50th year in business. Fifty years - that's a long time to provide vital services to our nation. During this nearly half-century of exponential growth, we transitioned from a privately held to a publically traded company. It was quite an experience to ring the Dow Jones bell to open the trading day in August of 2002!
We also recognized that to expand and grow our capabilities, it's wise to find solutions and technologies outside our own organization. So a very important part of our strategy for growth is our highly successful mergers and acquisition program. This initiative has helped to keep us strong and competitive by acquiring companies that advance our business goals and growth objectives and share our corporate culture and ethics. Over the last 18 years, we have acquired and successfully integrated 48 companies into the CACI family. In fact, it was just about 13 years ago that I became a part of CACI, when CACI acquired the company I was working for, the former QuesTech.
This fiscal year, I estimate we will hire somewhere in the neighborhood of nearly 2,000 employees in the Greater Washington Area. I wish I could tell you that all those hires represent growth, but the fact is that our market is a very competitive one. We compete for talented employees with other companies (large and small) as well as the federal government. So the fact of the matter is that while a good deal of our hiring is for growth, a fair amount of it is also to replace folks who have left CACI. Since it's expensive to hire and train employees, we want to do everything we can to make sure our people stay with us.
That brings me to diversity; why it's an important part of our long-term growth strategy and why it should play an integral role in any company's future plans. Throughout our history, CACI has welcomed for employment all that were qualified for the positions we had available, without regard to race, color, creed, religion, or national origin. This "fair" approach to staffing has served us well in the past.
But as we noted the changing national demographics, including an aging and more visibly diverse population and an increased emphasis on diversity in our client base and among our competition, we reached a very important conclusion. We must adopt a more proactive approach to increase the diversity of our workforce.
After all, people tend to join and stay with organizations where advancement is based upon talent, tenacity, and results rather than race, relationships, or gender. The bottom line for me is that at CACI International, we believe hiring a diverse pool of talented professionals makes us a more attractive business partner and enables us to provide the best support to our government customers.
I firmly believe that embracing, building, and nurturing a diverse work force are business imperatives in today's federal government arena. In our commitment to being the best employer, CACI embraces diversity as central to our business strategy and growth. And our corporate culture values each individual's unique contributions to the advancement and success of our company, our employees, and our customers. And it is clear that diversity also improves our potential for recruiting and retaining highly qualified employees.
So in May 2009, in keeping with CACI's focus on becoming "the best in all that we do"... I chartered a diversity team, with representation from all areas of the company. The charge to them was to develop recommendations on actions we could take to build robust external and internal pipelines that would help us increase the diversity of our work force at all levels of the corporation.
Of course, we soon discovered that establishing a company-wide policy is one thing... but making it work in the real world can be a continuing challenge. One which is not easy to solve on our own!
Case in point... back in mid-2009 we were looking to hire a very senior executive, and I hoped to use this search as an opportunity to achieve a real step forward in our mission of bringing more diversity to the hiring process. I had made it very clear how serious I was about having a wide range of hiring choices. We always wanted to present enough qualified candidates to help hiring managers make the right decision and hire the best people. Now it was my turn to practice what I preached, because I was the hiring manager!
So I contacted a national-wide recruiting firm and laid out the game plan: We're going to hire the best person available... looking both internally and externally. But for outside choices, I want to be presented with a viable, diverse slate of candidates.
Months went by. Then more months. Unfortunately, the firm did not provide an optimal roster of candidates. After I had sent them back to the drawing board a couple of times, with no results, I became convinced that I had reached the point of diminishing returns. Quite simply, our good faith effort did not bring the results we were looking for, and we promoted a very exceptional professional from within CACI.
What does that tell me? We need to find other ways and open additional pipelines to draw diverse, qualified candidates into the recruiting pool. So we're looking to establish relationships with a wide range of organizations to help us find qualified candidates and to benefit from the advice of these groups.
To increase the number of diverse candidates for our recruitment pipeline, we are reaching out to groups such as the National Association of Asian American professionals, Society of Women Engineers, National Society of Black Engineers, Society of Hispanic Engineers, Women in Technology, historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), the national black MBA association, and several other groups.
By working with these groups and participating in diversity job fairs, conferences, and celebrations, we want to make it clear that we're serious about improving diversity at CACI.
Let me just mention here a specific hiring initiative of which we are very proud. Our Deploying Talent - Creating Careers program provides meaningful careers for talented veterans with disabilities. It is our way of doing the right thing for the people who served our country and growing our business with the best talent available. Over the years, we've hired many vets through this program. They enrich CACI with their talent and experience, and their sense of duty and commitment that is so integral to the spirit of the U.S. armed forces.
Recruitment is only half the equation to increasing the diversity of our workforce. What we do and what those we hire experience after they become CACI employees are the things that really matter. Our retention efforts are designed to encourage all people to view their employment at CACI as an opportunity to build a career rather than just a place to go to work. We believe this focus is attractive to all of our employees regardless of their diversity status. Let me just touch on three examples of our retention efforts.
We have initiated a mentorship program to assist employees in all stages of their growth with CACI. We have automated systems to help protégés connect with mentors who have volunteered to provide this service. Our mentorship program is particularly valuable to our new employees, but in all cases it reinforces our message that at CACI you are more than just a revenue generator... you are a valued member of a team that is interested in helping you achieve your maximum potential.
Education and training comprise a second key element of our retention efforts. We have a strategic partnership with an accredited online provider of bachelor and master's degree programs and we supplement this capability with a generous tuition assistance program. We also have an in-house training capability that we call CACI Virtual University or CVU. CVU has 3500 online training courses and more than 70 industry certification tracks. CVU is free to all of our employees!
Our newest retention effort is our Mobility Program, which provides online visibility into employment opportunities throughout the company. So if we have an employee who is looking for a new challenge or growth opportunity, he or she can look within CACI for such an opportunity rather than move to another company. Again, this reinforces our commitment to providing career opportunities to our employees and not just a job.
I'd like to briefly mention here a young Vietnamese American employee of whom we are extremely proud. Hoa Pham. is a lead web developer/manager for our team supporting the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. His innovative work for the Library earned him a place among Federal Computer Week's Rising Stars, and Washington Technology then selected him as one of seven industry leaders from this group who showed outstanding personal responsibility and motivation. Hoa is only the second CACI employee named to the FCW Rising Stars - and the first to be featured among the cream of the crop.
So what do others think of our company. In November of 2009, Washington Technology Magazine, the Professional Service Council, and the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce recognized CACI as Government Contractor of the Year for companies with revenue greater than $300M.
That's all well and good, and we welcome the recognition. But much work remains to be done. For every vacant position that becomes available at CACI, it is our goal to always make sure diversity is a key factor in the screening process.
This is what we do at CACI, and perhaps this same philosophy will serve your business needs as well. I believe I've made the case that embracing, building, and nurturing a diverse workforce is a business imperative. Taking that road can lead to more dynamic business opportunities in the years ahead. But let me again emphasize that in addition to the pragmatic rationale, we should support diversity because it is simply the right thing to do.
As CACI moves into its 50th year, we see that a focus on diversity is key ingredient to growing our business and more effectively serving the needs of our customers. And while I won't be around for our 100th anniversary, I'm sure that this approach to hiring and developing talent will still be contributing to the success of our business when that milestone comes.
Thanks again for your kind invitation to speak with you at this gathering.
Now I welcome any questions. Please fire away...