Achievement is a need that dominates the world. Achieving a determined goal at a young age seems challenging. People throw away their entire life to attain heights of success. Individuals who have achieved this milestone at such early age are an inspiration.
Looking at such a focused personality is mesmerizing. In this endeavor of finding 40 Influencers Under 40, we crossed paths with Danny Sava, a Marine Veteran who served his nation for eight years.
Currently, Danny is serving as Division Vice President, Deputy General Manager, and Director of O&M, NISSCII at Jacobs, a company making the world smarter, more connected, and more sustainable.
Danny served in the United States Marine Corps (USMC) from 1999 – 2007 as a Tactical Network Specialist and Data Chief. He was part of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit for four deployments, where he and his unit were part of the longest amphibious landing in history and first into Afghanistan after 9/11.
Danny was also deployed to Iraq three times and supported the march to Baghdad. The experiences he had in the Marines prepared him for everything he has encountered in his roles at Jacobs.
Danny started his career with Jacobs as a Personal Computer Technician at Marine Special Operations Command (MARSOC) and then moved to Project Manager at Naval Special Warfare Command. He went back to Afghanistan supporting the Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Organization as an Information Assurance Manager (IAM) and then finally ended up at the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). He held several positions, including Systems Architect and Director of Information Technology (IT) Planning, Engineering, and Innovation, which provided Tier 4 support to 76,000 users in over 40 locations. He enjoyed taking on new challenges and took on the proposal work for the NISSC II contract. Through the win of the contract, he was awarded his latest position, which he is thoroughly enjoying.
In this exclusive interview with Insights Success, Danny unveils his impassioned journey.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
What were the challenges you came across throughout your journey?
The biggest challenge was striving for promotions but always missing one of the requirements, such as certifications. Getting out of the military, certifications were not as valued back in 2007 as they are today. After being rejected several times, I made it my mission to be overqualified so my boss could never say ‘no’ again.
Being an experienced Information Technology Lead what is your opinion regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Engineering Industry? And how has Jacobs managed to overcome this significant challenge?
The impact affected raw material supply, disrupted the electronics value chain and of course, inflation of products. I had a COVID outbreak of 40 personnel earlier this year, so I also had to deal with crisis management to support 24x7x365 operations.
Jacobs has excellent relationships with our metal partners, original equipment manufacturers and a variety of value-added resellers, which resulted in our supply chain being impacted much less than others. We were fully staffed on our NISSC II contract during the outbreak, which resulted in being able to maintain the mission and not experience any outages.
What people, what books, what life factors have influenced and impacted you?
The best influences I have had were my family being supportive of me throughout my entire life. I am very close with my parents, and I still depend on them for guidance and life decisions.
My wife has supported me through my military career, 10 years of deployments, multiple degrees, certifications, and she has always stood by me and encouraged me no matter what. My kids were always patient with my late nights and educational mood swings. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.
The most influential book during my career has been ‘Leading Geeks: How to Manage and Lead the People Who Deliver Technology’ by Paul Glen. Not every IT professional is the same, and this book helps leaders to understand how to motivate, reward, understand, and mesh with a variety of technical backgrounds.
In what ways have you or the company contributed to the community? If given a chance, what change would you bring in transformation of Program and Construction Management, with IT Management?
For my own team, we work very closely with the local community. We have completed fundraising efforts for students needing school supplies, adopted senior citizens in recovery and provided them essentials and Christmas presents, and donated toys during the Christmas in July event for kids in the recovery ward.
We are heavily involved with AFCEA, where we complete a variety of fundraising efforts to support scholarship opportunities for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) for future generations.
Jacobs, as a company, has donated over 2.1 million (FY19) to support a variety of charitable organizations and has a special program in place where employees can recommend organizations for Jacobs to support.
According to you, what could be the next big change (technology/innovation) in the
Scientific Research & Testing industry?
The next big innovation I am hoping for is that the Department of Defense (DoD) will adopt virtual reality technology like, the Oculus as an all-in-one platform for accessing multiple systems. We use technology like a KVM switch for multiple enclaves but using an Oculus could provide benefits with being able to see all systems simultaneously while keeping separation within the technology.
We have too many systems and not enough time to go back and forth to process the data so any solutioning for ease of access and better display would be impactful to those outside of the DoD as well.
What have you envisioned for your organization’s future, with regards to your role at Jacobs and for your personal ambitions as well?
I have my expertise in areas of project management and IT, but the great thing about working with a diverse workforce is that they still teach me something new and that is why I enjoy coming to work.
The best thing about my position is that I have learned different aspects of business management, finance, security, and over 80 different types of labor categories on this contract. I have been included in business development and proposal writing, which has allowed me to help the company win almost 3 billion worth of work.
All these efforts support my growth within the company and my ability to move into new roles in the future. My next goal is to become a General Manager with my own contract that I can build from the ground up.