“A Worthwhile Career is Full of Risks” – Jeff Gallimore.
WashingtonExec announced its finalists for the 2020 Chief Officer Awards on May 13th. Excella’s Jeff Gallimore was selected as a Private Company CTO finalist. Leading up to the event, WashingtonExec interviews finalists to learn more about their careers, successes, proud professional moments and notable risks.
Continue reading to learn more about Jeff.
What was a turning point or inflection point in your career?
I started my professional career as a developer. I worked in command lines and with code editors most of my day and often into the night and on weekends. I loved creating systems and making computers do useful things. I loved technical problem-solving, the creativity involved and the power of what technology could do. I discovered the world of technology changes quickly and there were always new tools, new techniques and new tricks to try out.
Shortly after starting my company, Excella, I found myself on a government contract in a program management office. At the time, I didn’t even really know what a program management office did. We weren’t building any systems (directly, anyway). I wouldn’t be coding. In fact, there was no code in sight anywhere. What on Earth was I supposed to be doing? It was uncomfortable for me not knowing how to contribute confidently.
I eventually figured out what I was supposed to do, and that engagement became one of the most professionally rewarding and transformative experiences of my career.
I learned the roles of people and process in accomplishing business goals, in addition to the technology. I learned process was more important than technology and people were much more important than anything. I learned about the human element of technology. This experience opened my eyes to what the real power of technology was — to make an impact on people’s lives. I’m so thankful for the opportunity because of what I learned through it.
What’s the biggest professional risk you’ve ever taken?
I’m a big believer a worthwhile career is full of risks and the biggest risk I’ve taken was starting Excella in early 2002. Of course, starting a company is a risk, but the circumstances surrounding Excella’s launch were what made it so risky. I had good stability and career growth at my employer, I had a family and a mortgage, and in mid-2001, the dot-com bubble had burst, the telecom market had crashed and 9/11 had just happened. It was the rock bottom of the IT economy. What a perfect time to start an IT consulting firm, right? It was definitely a professional — and personal — true leap of faith.