Suntiva Spotlight

Suntivans love the work they do and do the work they love. See how in our series of employee profiles called Suntiva Spotlights.

LES MILNER

I am a Senior Executive Consultant - Program Manager with responsibilities including:

  • Oversee daily operations of project portfolio worth $25M – 30M for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) program within the Civilian Business Unit
  • Plan and implement new business development activities while participating in start-up and pre-proposal strategic activities
  • Contribute to the creation of all information technology (IT) initiatives for clients including critical path and design projects, budget planning, and workflow prioritization
  • Supervise project personnel while scheduling training and preparing staff development plans to promote growth
  • Generate executive, performance, and financial analysis reports to demonstrate project commitment effectiveness

What do you think makes Suntiva a great place to work? Why do you enjoy working for Suntiva?

I have worked for Suntiva now coming up on 10 years.  The two main things that I have enjoyed are the people and the autonomy providing a sense of running my own business.

What do you enjoy most in working with Suntiva's clients?

In my role I have had the opportunity to work closely with the WIC program at USDA/FNS.  The women infants and children food nutrition program provides federal grants to states for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.

I have worked at both the Federal level working directly with FNS in addition to working directly with State agencies and Indian Tribal Organization (ITOs).  The individuals involved in the program are passionate about their work and it is very rewarding to be part of a program with such a motivating mission.

How do we make a difference in our clients' work?

Suntiva delivers support services in the areas of adoption management, organizational performance and information technology.  Our services help ensure grant funding is used in the most efficient and effective manner, which in turn means more dollars are available for the mission and the solutions delivered benefit the program participants.

What's your most impactful project with a client and why?

One of the projects we are currently working on, which is in it’s third year, is for a consortium of State agencies and ITOs who are in the process of reengineering their MIS system, which is used to help State agency health departments and clinics administer the WIC program. Every dollar that goes to technology projects is a dollar that could be directed to the missions, and help deliver better nutrition to its participants. In the case of our project, when completed, the reengineered system will look and feel like a new system, but will have cost a third of what a new system would have cost to develop from scratch.  A key component of the support the Suntiva team provided was to guide the consortium to the decision to reengineer.  Our activities also include ensuring that the system that will be delivered is a quality system that will meet the user requirements through our Independent Verification & Validation (IV&V) capabilities.

What influenced or drove you become an expert in your field?

To be honest I do not feel like an expert—technology is always changing, as soon as you think you know it all or are the expert, you're going to be left behind.  I immigrated to the United States from Dublin, Ireland.  I guess I wanted more opportunities than what I envisioned were or would be available in my home country.  What drives or motivates me is the idea that I can solve a problem or lead change in some small way.

What drives or inspires you to work at Suntiva?

Using the experience I have gained and the skills I have learned to be instrumental in a meaningful way in support the WIC Mission is motivating.

Do you have any tips for coaching in a virtual environment?

I am not a coach, but if I could impart one tip or piece of advice it would be to stay curious, never stop looking for opportunities to learn something new, and let yourself fail now and again, it’s ok!

Do you have any tips for engagement in a virtual environment?

Stay connected; check in for a virtual cooler chat.

Can you provide one tip for working in prolonged telework?

Get up and move around, it’s so easy to become inactive.

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