We had a chance to ask Mike a few questions so you could get to know him better. Here's what he had to say.
Washington Business Hall of Fame (WBHOF): What was the hardest job you have ever done?
Mike: “Growing up in Southeast Missouri I worked for my father in his food distribution business for many years. The toughest part of this was being a truck driver and delivering food to restaurants, schools and hospitals all summer. We arrived each day at work around 4:30 a.m. to load the trucks, hit the road by 6:30 a.m., and usually arrived back around 7 p.m. at night. I drove hundreds of miles each day; it was hot, humid and lots of hard work.
I would also ride large semi-trailer trucks and help unload about 35,000 pounds of frozen fruit at various locations during these summers.
To this day I have always had great respect for truck drivers and how hard they work. It taught me real lessons — respect anyone who works hard and value all work.”
WBHOF: Did you have a mentor or a role model over the course of your career?
Mike: "I have been fortunate to have a number of mentors and role models over my life.
Dr. Bob Beyster was my mentor for 18 years. Bob was the founder and leader of SAIC from 1969 to 2003. Bob founded SAIC in 1969 in LaJolla, California and led SAIC to become the largest privately held, employee owned science and technology services company based in the US with 43,000 employees. Bob and I became close friends and he taught me how to build large companies by hiring the hardest working, smartest business and technology people we could get to join us. He taught me that there was a greater mission than building a large company. He built SAIC to help the United States of America.
Dan Bannister, CEO of DynCorp International for many years, and Earle Williams, CEO of BDM Corporation for many years, were mentors and role models to me. They were local technology leaders who both encouraged me to become deeply involved in helping build the Greater Washington technology industry and being citizen servants in our region. I followed their advice and have been deeply involved in this endeavor for my entire life for the past 50 years in Washington.”
WBHOF: What’s the one thing you want the Greater Washington business community to know about your company this year?
Mike: “What I would like to convey is that I have worked in the Greater Washington business community as a technology and government contracting executive for over 50 years as we have built a wide range of world class companies. We are all privileged to live and work in Washington as this is one of the great centers of technology, and most people all over the world would give anything to trade places with us. I want to thank the thousands of hard working, honest, smart and wonderful people who I have had the honor to work with for all these years. I have loved this community. We have been builders and created thousands of well-paying jobs to enable our people to build great lives in our country.”
WBHOF: If you were to create a slogan or a theme song for your life, what would it be?
Mike: “Each Day is Truly a Gift — Work Hard, Persevere, Love What You Do and Love Your Family and Friends!”
WBHOF: If you could choose one person, living or dead, to have dinner with, who would it be? Why?
Mike: “My wife Bonnie. Bonnie and I recently celebrated our 50th Wedding Anniversary. Bonnie has been my loving wife, my rock in the good and bad times of life and my companion as we have discovered life and the world together over many years. She would always be my choice for dinner.”
WBHOF : If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
Mike: “To use that power to ensure that all citizens of the United States work together and put aside differences to understand that the United States of America is the beacon of liberty, freedom and opportunity for all. This is a unique place. I have had the opportunity to travel the world over my lifetime and I still want to kiss the ground each and every time I return to our great country. Everyone needs to understand and value what we have in America.”
Join us December 4, 2019 as we honor Mike and three other outstanding Washingtonian business leaders at our 32nd Annual Washington Business Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Gala!