BEYA 2019 honoree spotlight: Gerald Gaskins
The 2019 Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) STEM Conference will be held in Washington, D.C. from Feb. 7-9. The conference is an annual opportunity for professional training and networking with some of the top engineering employers, as well as a career fair for students seeking professions in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). At this year's conference, 10 distinguished Leidos employees will be recognized for their career achievements. Each week leading up to BEYA, we'll profile two of our honorees here on Insights.
Gerald Gaskins is a born leader. From a 20-year old Infantry Officer in the Marine Corps leading 50 marines in combat training, to Vice President, Capture Executive leading a team responsible for bringing in billions of dollars of opportunities within our Health business, Gerald has a unique ability to build, motivate, and drive teams toward success. Like any true leader, he knows to be the best you must surround yourself with the best.
“I like being successful and enjoy being around smart, successful people. Smart people are competitive and challenge you to achieve at levels you normally would not be motivated to obtain,” he reflects. “I’ve always sought high achievers to be on my team. High achievers hold you accountable and therefore make you more capable than you otherwise would not have obtained.”
Gaskins was an active duty Marine for 20 years, serving various positions including an Infantry Officer directly on the Commandant staff, a certified government acquisition professional for weapons and information technology (IT) systems, and head of the Pay and Personnel System for the entire Marine Corps. It was his time as an acquisition professional that would pave the way for his civilian career path.
“I learned a great deal about managing large cash flows and monitoring program budgets,” he says. “Additionally, I obtained my Master of Business Administration in Finance, which gave me a foundation for understanding Quantitative Statistics – a useful skill set in analyzing financial performance and trend analysis. It only seemed a natural transition upon leaving the Marines that I would become a contract program manager.”
Gaskins began his civilian career as a program manager at Lockheed Martin supporting a U.S. Marine Corps program and quickly moved up the ranks, becoming a program director in just seven years. Over the course of his impressive career he demonstrated success in a variety of roles including program director and line of business director within multiple areas for the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, and other Federal Civil agencies. His leadership acumen and technical expertise was tested following a national tragedy. While assigned in the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, Gaskins formed a study team immediately after the attack to assess and develop solutions for the reconstruction and future survivability for the Pentagon’s IT data and communications network. Additionally, he led the total renovation of the United States Air Force (USAF) IT network with more than 1,500 network devices within budget and ahead of schedule. The USAF customer described the success of the project to the equivalent of “repairing an airplane while in flight.”
There is no greater compliment than to be recognized by others. It's a good feeling to get this award and appreciate the fact that in reality, there are many more people deserving than me, regardless of what I think of my own accomplishments. In acceptance, I think about those deserving people and hope that I can make them feel that I am also deserving of this recognition.
As a native of Washington D.C., Gerald has seen his community take shape and evolve over his lifetime. He is determined to give back to his home by volunteering his time towards the encouragement of STEM-related education via lectures at local high schools and universities. He regularly provides mentorship in the development of community small businesses, providing recommendations for talent acquisition and growth strategies. Additionally, his leadership abilities are sought to be emulated by students and future business leaders at his lectures on self-motivation and leadership at various businesses, colleges, and universities.
In recognition of his exceptional accomplishments, Gerald will be honored with a Professionals Technical Sales & Marketing Award at the 33rd annual Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) STEM Conference.