Michael Gulino spent his career in the defense industry and now is overseeing major government contracts as president and general manager of ITT Systems. As general manager and president, he is responsible for 12,658 employees in 22 states, 18 foreign countries and five continents. From its Colorado Springs offices, ITT provides everything from blueprints for nation-building to cafeteria food for overseas military posts.
What’s the latest on in-sourcing?
In-sourcing is the big concern for the defense industry. It’s going to continue to be a focus of the industry. Our standpoint is this: no one is fighting against in-sourcing. We think that it makes sense to have government people in the procurement office. Right now, if you have a contractor in that office, his company can’t bid on the contracts. It’s a conflict of interest. Positions like that, we have no problem with insourcing.
But the guidelines are vague, undefined. In-sourcing should be fair and balanced, and the guidelines should be well understood. There are other ways to make the cuts DoD thinks is necessary: we support findings that energy savings could account for much of the cost savings that they want to make. If we instituted those energy measures industrywide, it could make up the 10 percent in cuts without having to lose workers.
What is ITT working on now?
We’ve gotten a really exciting contract a few months ago. The latest one is to provide training for the Afghan National Army. It’s an $800 million contract for the next five years, and covers the entire country. The goal is to operate and maintain Afghani police forces and soldiers. We want to work ourselves out of the job, make sure the Afghanis can take care of themselves — give them basic skills. We won’t just teach them about policing skills, we’re going to give them private sector benefits as well. We’ll teach them about plumbing and general contracting, give them ways to earn a living. … We’re approaching it a little differently as well. We’re going to operate facilities around the country, which will be the spokes of the hub. These will be remote places, and then we’ll work into the city centers. The contract is going to cover more than 4,000 employees. Some of them will be staffed here in Colorado Springs — support staff — but the bulk will be in Afghanistan.
How is ITT faring with the economy, and with proposed DoD cuts?
We think we’re going to continue to do very well. We saw more than $1.5 billion in sales this year, and we’ll be pushing $1.7 billion next year. The growth potential is there — there are better opportunities in the pipeline. We’re submitting more bids to provide support to the war fighter, but we’re also developing businesses angles that aren’t in the war department. For example, we also have business lines that provide clean water system that can be used around the world.