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FCW : March 30, 2015
20 March 30, 2015 FCW.COM Venkata- pathi Puv- vada is not your typical corporate chieftain. He has the accomplish- ments, to be sure: The 23-year veteran of Unisys, known to nearly everyone as PV, is now a four-time Federal 100 winner. In 2010, he was named Government Contractor CTO Innovator of the Year by the Northern Virginia Technology Council and Washington Technology. And after several years as vice president of Unisys’ civilian agency business then seven months as acting president of Unisys Federal Systems, Puvvada was for- mally tapped for the top job in early March. He has doubled the staff in Unisys’ Application Mod- ernization Center of Excel- lence and saw the compa- ny’s federal projects receive excellent performance ratings across the board. In a declining market, Uni- sys’ federal business grew organically by 10 percent in 2014, and the company won more contracts in the final two quarters than it had in years. And yet the man still an- swers his own office phone. That cheerful approach- ability “is who I am,” Puvvada said. “You don’t assume anything is handed to you. You are no different than your colleague, even if they are working for you.... Attheendoftheday,tobe humble is an attribute that is really important for people to understand.” Moreover, he said, it’s important to remember “not only where you came from, but who you need to work with.” That list almost always includes collaborators in government and at other companies — one reason why Puvvada is so active in industry groups such as the Professional Services Coun- cil, where he is currently a board member, and the Industry Advisory Council. “We cannot solve the [big] problems as an individ- ual company,” he said. “But leveraging the strength of the industry or the strength of the government, we can change things.... It doesn’t happen unless you collabo- rate, unless you share what you have.” Success stems from more than smiles and sharing, of course. Puvvada has aggressively sharpened Unisys’ federal strategy and put a special focus on complex enterprise-level cloud projects. The General Services Administration’s cloud-based email system is a Unisys project, as is the Internal Revenue Service’s cloud storage initiative. And Puvvada’s team recently helped the Interior Depart- ment become the first agen- cy to move its SAP system securely to the cloud. “The thing we’ve done very well,” Puvvada said, is “take really hard things...the heart of critical systems and data, to the cloud, and do it securely with good success.” In most cases, he added, the firm has been able to “deliver the economics of 35 to 50 percent cost savings.” And with all of Unisys Federal Systems now his responsibility, Puvvada acknowledged that the work and learning curve could be daunting — but don’t expect him to develop tunnel vi- sion or stop picking up the phone. “When you have so much business pressure, it’s easy to double down [on the company],” he said. “And you ought to do that — that’s important. But it’s more important to reach out and engage to build coalitions to solve bigger problems.” Such coalitions pay divi- dends for the business, but there’s a bigger obligation as well. “The expectation should be that you should give back to the community,” Puvvada said. “That’s how we make the future genera- tion of leaders.” 2015 INDUSTRYEAGLE WINNER VENKATAPATHI PUVVADA: BY TROY K. SCHNEIDER THE COALITION BUILDER ZAIDHAMID 0330fcw_020-021.indd 20 3/11/15 2:44 PM
March 15, 2015
April 15, 2015