ManTech Q+A Employee Spotlight – Doug

Title: Vice President, Intelligent Systems Engineering
Job Description: Leading the digital transformation of ManTech’s systems engineering organizations through the adoption of digital engineering, augmentations, automation, and machine learning technologies. 
Group: Innovation & Capabilities Office
Time at ManTech: 3 years

Douglas Orellana - Website v5

What drew you to ManTech?

Back in 2020, the opportunity to build an Innovation and Capabilities (ICO) Growth organization from the ground up drew me to ManTech.

As a Ph.D. in Engineering, having the opportunity to build the foundation of a high-tech research and development arm of a multi-billion dollar enterprise was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Beyond the promise of building the organization , I could tell that this ICO would be backed across the whole enterprise to take ManTech to the next level. It was truly being built systemically and holistically looking at people, process and technology.

From a people perspective, our award-winning ManTech University was a prime partner in getting our current personnel upskilled to meet the demands of our client’s missions. We pushed new partnerships with MIT and Purdue to ensure we had the right educational programs. MTU also tries to offer various educational experiences to meet the employee where they are in their career and in life, offering everything from short courses, to online webinars to full-on degree programs. 

In addition, ManTech’s leadership focus on education is demonstrated by the many certification challenges we have had through my team at ManTech.

As the ICO was stood up, it focused on processes and tools to meet the emerging needs of our customers. From laying out new frameworks for data governance in a digital engineering environment, to using generative AI for ServiceNow, ManTech is able to blend emerging tech with the know-how of the mission to think about people, processes, and technology.

What are you passionate about?

Over the years I have become passionate about various things. My top passion is my family – with small children at home its tough not to put them first. Luckily, they keep life exciting.

Beyond work and home life I try to give back to the community by mentoring and participating in events and conferences where first-generation Latino students and young professionals are seeking STEM careers. Although I never had a STEM role model growing up, I lived in the shadows of MIT and Harvard, where as a kid I visited lots of labs and saw cool tech that was being researched and studied. I want these young Latinos, especially those who are first-generation, to know that if I can accomplish what I have done, so can they – whether it is a career in STEM or pursuing a doctoral degree. I feel very proud to know that there are a handful of folks I have been able to touch who are now completing their doctorates and making an impact in the industry.

What do you like most about ManTech?

ManTech has truly become a family in a short amount of time. Since joining ManTech back in September 2020, I have met some great folks here and some that I hold close and learn from daily.  Not only are we a family, but we all have one mission: protecting those who protect us. We are all willing to roll up our sleeves to accomplish an objective. From our CEO Matt Tait all the way down to each individual contributor, at ManTech, mission comes first. That focus on mission sets us apart from all our competitors.

What is or has been the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

One of the most unusual jobs I have ever had was as an acoustics research assistant as an undergraduate. As part of our the research we were characterizing noise at hospitals. I had to go to the local hospital and take noise readings for over a year at various locations within the Emergency Room to see how loud it would get and at what frequencies. What amazed me was how loud it got, especially when doctors needed to hear patients and take vitals through a stethoscope. The data I gathered has been cited over 300 times from other acoustics researchers from around the globe.

How do you balance career and home life?

Since coming to ManTech I feel I have had a better work life balance than in my previous organization. Some is due to the hybrid work environment we have promoted and some of it is getting used to distributed teams in different time zones with asynchronous communications. It’s been a blessing to have the flexibility in the day-to-day to take care of our of appointments and to use flex time as needed. Personally since COVID I have had to learn to put personal guardrails on business travel, family time and which days I can work extended hours if needed.  Using some of the newer technologies our IT organization has brought us has helped tremendously, and I am looking forward to us transitioning to Google Workspace, which will provide even better ways to stay connected – but also disconnect – when needed.

What advice do you have for prospective ManTech candidates?

To any prospective or current employee, my suggestion is to be open to the opportunities. ManTech has a lot of opportunities to grow if you search for them.

As we target our growth, new opportunities are just around the corner. If you are prepared for them, you can take advantage. It all starts with upskilling and fine tuning your current skills. ManTech University has tons of great programs to help employees grow for their next position. This is the first company I have been at that not only has paid for training and certification, but also has given bonuses for achieving credentials. So take advantage of the Certification Challenges when they come. Who knows? That may just bring you the next step in your career.

What’s your favorite place in the world?

If there was one place I could always go, it’d be Barcelona, Spain. I have been there three times and love just walking around and popping into random restaurants, markets, and museums. I have also been a FC Barcelona fan since 1998 when FIFA 1998 Road to the World Cup came to PlayStation. I have been fortunate enough to see the team play at Camp Nou while Leo Messi still played with the team. My hope is to one day see “El Classico” in camp Nou.

What is the coolest thing about what you’re working on now?

Innovation and Capability development is always a cool area to work in. We are exposed to emerging technologies and are always finding new uses for current technologies and how they impact our customer’s mission.

For my team, specifically, we are helping transform not just our customers’ thinking but the thinking of industry as a whole on the art of the possible when it comes to the development of new systems. Our unique and transformative frameworks and capabilities tying advanced computing, analytics, data science, natural language processing and ModSim will change how our customers and team conceptualize, design, develop, deploy, operate, and sustain systems. Our Cyber Physical Simulation Twinning Platform (CPSTN) is a unique solution in the market. Prior to coming to ManTech I was looking for a solution that allowed for C5 simulation and emulation, and as we have evolved Space Range into CPSTN, I truly believe this is a game-changing solution for our customers to assess Systems of Systems, be used for mission integration though a digital system integration lab that allows HWIL and SWIL, and keeping true to ManTech’s heritage as a cyber company with our cyber range.

What does Securing the Future® mean to you?

Securing the future to me is being able to help our customers and partners to meet emerging needs and gaps at the speed of relevancy.

As we have seen time and time again, new threats continue to come to the forefront in untraditional ways that can disrupt how the U.S. approaches securing our interests around the globe.

The U.S. is on the verge of losing its position as a leader in technology and innovation, and for us to keep pace with our near-peer competitors, we must focus on federal agility and acquisition that will allow for new ideas to be brought to the forefront and developed with a go-to-market timeline shorter than we’ve ever seen before. ManTech is helping our customers achieve these new goals by ensuring we can meet this pace for capability development.