A systems engineer with a winning track record for proposal writing and team leadership, Mark Lester thrives on competition.
During his seven-year career with Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., the space industry professional has led or significantly contributed to his company’s winning several major contracts valued at more than $2 billion. As a business-related affiliate member of the Association of Proposal Management Professionals, Lester has honed his skills to the point that he is considered one of his employer’s proposal development experts, often called upon to consult with other Booz Allen Hamilton offices about proposal best practices.
Other contributions include co-authorship of papers for the International Journal of Industrial Engineering and space industry presentations.
An Air Force veteran, Lester’s military background included extensive work in intelligence and space operations. He also has a master’s degree in engineering in space operations from the University of Colorado and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Norwich University in Vermont. Lester served seven years on active duty as an Air Force officer from 1992 to 1999.
Over and above his professional responsi-bilities, however, Lester has always reserved time for community involvement and for building leadership skills. A 2003 graduate of Leadership Pikes Peak, he currently serves as president of the organization’s board of directors. He also served as an Urban Peak special projects volunteer from 2003 to 2006, and participates in “50 for Colorado,” a statewide community leadership program offered through the University of Colorado’s business school. Lester’s family includes his wife, Colleen, an Air Force Academy graduate, and two sons, Drew and Joshua.
Susan Saksa, executive director for Leadership Pikes Peak, has worked with Lester for more than two years.
“What I find exciting about Mark as our board president is that he is a future-thinker, a visionary, not afraid to explore what the organization can be in the future,” she said.
Saksa also praised Lester’s ability to bring others into line with his vision and to think strategically.
“I think he would be excellent in public service, or even in politics,” she said.
Lester admits he might want to run for office some day, but for now, he is more focused on developing his leadership skills and in gaining real world experience.
“Serving the public interest is a very big responsibility so that’s something I’ll need to work toward,” he said. Lester credits support from his employer as key to his involvement with community initiatives.
“Good leaders are always needed, whether you’re a CEO or an elected official, heading up your block or the PTO,” he said, pointing to Booz Allen Hamilton retired executive Glenn Brules’ key role as co-chairman of the Colorado Springs Diversity Forum. “The principles I’ve learned through programs like Leadership Pikes Peak can be applied throughout your life.”