When John Selman entered the executive ranks of government contracting, he often thought of a former boss, now one of the industry’s well-known senior leaders.
“I would frequently ask myself, ‘What would she do in this situation?’” he said. “I felt she was incredibly reasonable, fair, and decisive in her decision-making. She also took bad news really well, and she looked out for her people and advocated for their careers.”
Selman aims to bring the same business instincts and personal ethics to his role as LMI’s vice president of national security programs. Now a senior executive in his own right, Selman takes leadership seriously. Clearly communicating goals, empowering staff to achieve them, and holding each team member accountable are hallmarks of his style.
“We have big goals and challenges that we can’t meet without honest, constructive feedback on a regular basis,” he said. “I like telling people when they’re doing great, but when we need more from them, I say so. I’m big on setting expectations so that everyone understands what’s required for our success.”
Selman’s high standard of excellence is understandably warranted. LMI’s national security team supports elements within the Intelligence Community and the departments of Homeland Security and State, providing functional and analytical support that improves operational effectiveness and enhances decision-making behind frontline national security activities.
“Given the world we live in today, these issues are absolutely critical. We have to get the details right because there is much at stake for all of us,” he said. “It’s challenging, highly relevant, and important. I really love the work and greatly respect the professionals who’ve dedicated their lives to this [national security] mission.”
Selman, who previously served as program director of LMI’s energy and environment group, finds more parallels than one would expect between that sector and national security.
“I’ll always have a place in my heart for the environment. To me, loving our planet and loving our country are congruous concepts,” said Selman, who earned a master’s in environmental engineering from Johns Hopkins University. “This also holds true from the business perspective: helping national security clients is not much different from environmental clients. They have things that need to get done; my role is to lead our team to help them do that.”
After more than 25 years in government consulting—including a previous stint at LMI as a program manager and research fellow two decades ago—Selman has seen a lot. And leading the national security market has opened him to a new set of perspectives.
“We have seasoned national security experts,” Selman said of his team, which includes Linda Bixby, Kellene Ecker, Scott Recinos, and Rich Skulte, and last fall added Brad Karony as director of national security operations. “I love listening to their stories and I really appreciate and respect the experience they bring to our business. I hope they know that.”
With LMI positioned to expand its national security customer base in 2019 and beyond, Selman is excited about the challenges ahead.
“As we continue to demonstrate our value to national security clients, enabling them to protect the country more effectively, the opportunities to grow are practically unlimited,” he said. “It’s an exciting time to be at LMI.”