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A Conversation With John Heneghan

We’ve spent the past year highlighting ECS’ 30-year anniversary, including some of the critical missions we’ve been a part of and how we’ve built a culture of giving back and investing in our people.

As our year-long celebration of ECS’ 30 years of innovation and excellence draws to a close, we decided to sit down with John Heneghan, president of ECS, to discuss where he sees the industry going, the intersection of cybersecurity and AI, and what to expect from ECS as a provider, integrator, and leader in the years to come.

Q. John, thanks for being with us. What’s the ECS formula that has allowed us to succeed and will keep us succeeding in the coming years?

John Heneghan: Everything starts with our purpose.

Our purpose is to take on the missions that matter the most, that have a lasting impact on our employees, our customers, and the communities in which we live and work. We realize our purpose by focusing on our four pillars of excellence: employee engagement, technological innovation, customer delivery, and growth.

That might sound like a canned response at first, but the truth is letting these principles guide not just our growth strategy as a company, but our strategy in meeting our customers’ needs has yielded amazing results.

The proof is in the simple fact that we are known. ECS is known among the community and the industry for taking on difficult customer challenges and caring about our customers. That’s how you win 98% of your recompetes. It’s an earned reputation built on helping our customers overcome difficult challenges, and fostering genuine relationships with our customers, over and over again.

All of which is to say, if we’re focused on fulfilling our purpose through our four pillars of excellence, our position will only continue to improve. And we are laser focused.

Q. Do you see ECS taking on more of a leadership role among providers and integrators of advanced technology?

John Heneghan: I think we’re seeing the beginnings of that now, which speaks to the incredible breadth and depth of talent and expertise we attract here at ECS. Whether they’re speaking on the latest federal mandate on AI or playing a support role for U.S. allies abroad, ECSers are making an impact on a scale that may have seemed unimaginable just a couple decades ago.

The idea of leadership, of being a guiding voice of experience and expertise for your customers, can also be fundamental to the nature of the work that we do. As we see advanced technologies, like AI, continue to evolve at an exponential rate, our customers often look for insight into how they can balance staying competitive with staying compliant with the latest rules and regulations.

Q. Where do you envision the intersection of cybersecurity and AI in the coming years and how do you see government agencies and contractors adapting to these changes?

John Heneghan: We’re witnessing an unprecedented era of technological advancement. The proliferation of data and the integration of AI are transforming the way we approach cybersecurity, such as using predictive analytics to create a more proactive security posture. As threats become more sophisticated, it’s crucial for agencies and the contractors who partner with them to stay a few steps ahead.

At ECS, we’ve invested heavily — through R&D, acquisition, and encouraging innovation through programs like our annual Pitch Day — to maintain an edge in the race against evolving threats. Agility is key, as are creativity and adaptability.

I’m also optimistic for the future. Again, the predictive capability of AI is a critical development in cybersecurity. I see the two becoming more closely intertwined, and the emergence of autonomous response systems that can defend against emerging threats without human intervention. In terms of digital transformation, AI-powered processes go beyond mere automation, reacting to and learning from organizational data to handle complex, non-repetitive tasks and inform better decision making.

Of course, ethical AI use and transparent practices are already a critical focus, and that will only increase as we develop responsible frameworks for navigating this technology.

Regarding federal organizations adapting to these changes, well, adaptation is ultimately non-negotiable. We all know that. But if asked how to adapt, I would say: embrace a culture of continuous learning. Collaboration and information sharing are vital, which is where partnerships play such a key role.

Q. Any final thoughts you’d like to leave us with as we prepare to kick off the next 30 years of excellence at ECS?

John Heneghan: So, this is a little-known fact, but my first exposure to ECS was actually back in 2011, when I was brought in to consult on an internal project. From then on, I followed the company closely for years before I eventually joined. And the reason for that, the thing that left such a lasting impression on me, was the mission work that ECS does. I wanted to be a part of seeing those missions through.

This work really matters. When I say so much of my job is simply being a cheerleader for the great work our ECSers are doing, and the impact they’re having, I mean it. I’m just as excited as anyone else to see where ECS goes over the next 30 years. I have no doubt we’ll continue to do great things.

As ECS celebrates 30 years of serving our community, our nation, and our world, we remain committed to partnering with federal civilian, defense, and commercial enterprises to meet the moment and make a difference.

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