“Working in technology at the USPTO is as close to industry as you can get in government.”
The first thing that attracted John to the USPTO was its reputation as an innovation agency. The second was its reputation as a great place to work.
“I’d heard about the USPTO as a clearinghouse of innovation that drives our economy,” he says. “I’d also heard that talented and results-oriented technologists can thrive in the USPTO’s fast-paced environment and that this was a place where technology is constantly used to improve efficiencies. As an electrical engineer, IT leader, and technologist with over 22 years of experience, I wanted in,” he added.
As a senior level portfolio manager, John is a member of the Office of the Chief Information Officer’s (OCIO) management team while serving as an advisor to the chief information officer and deputy chief information officer. In his position, John leverages his leadership experience in engineering and IT strategy at the executive level to conduct joint business and IT planning to meet the technology needs of business units like the Office of the Under Secretary, Office of the Chief Administrative Officer, Office of the Chief Communications Officer, Office of the General Counsel, and Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity. Since John arrived, he has enjoyed his role as a change agent while putting customer needs first and increasing customer participation in the portfolios that he manages.
In this client-facing role, John brings into play both strategic and technical expertise as he engages and collaborates with business unit leaders and the OCIO to determine the direction and framework for the kind of long-term IT planning that enables and augments business process and expands automation.
Some of John’s initiatives include strengthening the USPTO’s emergency notification capabilities, extending USPTO's access and authentication capability, and using data analytics to increase compliance across the various business units in administration IT.
John describes the USPTO as a leading agency in the federal space that strives to improve constantly and that the agency offers IT employees an experience that is “as close to industry as you can get in government.”
“I encourage teams to approach all technology projects with a business perspective, keeping in mind the unique processes and needs of the public sector. Cybersecurity, modular development and operational maintenance needs have to be taken into account as we plan for the future,” he says.
According to John, the USPTO offers an opportunity to provide technical solutions that enhance the quality and speed at which innovation is examined, verified, and recorded. He says that the best part of his job has been working in tandem with business unit leadership to advance mission-enablement through technology. That level of collaboration and cohesiveness helps the IT team apply real-time feedback to overcome obstacles while developing and augmenting technology solutions to solve their customers’ toughest business challenges.
So in addition to a great reputation, great opportunity, challenging work, and a cool environment, what else is there to love about working at the USPTO? “The flexibility,” John says. “I’ve had a very positive experience here in balancing my career and my personal life. I just completed Harvard University’s intensive eight week Executive Cybersecurity and Forensics course,” he adds.
John feels that the USPTO provides many opportunities for industry interaction as well. He is a member of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) and a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) where he serves as the vice-chair of public policy on IEEE’s Entrepreneurship Steering Committee.
As the OCIO continues to grow, it needs additional chief architects and technologists to help the enterprise continue its transition to a secure modern and emerging target architecture. John’s advice for technologists looking to join the OCIO is simple: “Be customer-focused. Be results-driven. And never compromise on your principles.”