Q&A Oct 3, 2023

Taking Care of our Employees: A Q&A with Steven Hammer

“My philosophy is that if you take care of our people, they will take care of our clients.”

Q&A with Steven Hammer Jacobs Deputy Program Manager, Division VP - Enterprise Operations Group

Since joining Jacobs six years ago, Steven Hammer’s progressed from Operations Manager to now leading as Deputy Program Manager for our Enterprise Operations Contract with the U.S. Special Operations Command.

One of his primary responsibilities? Taking care of our people.

We sat down with Steven to learn more about his background, his passions and how he’s helping us boldly move forward.

Hi, Steven. Can you tell us about your background and your role now?

I grew up in upstate New York in a small town with one flashing light, and my graduating class was 100 students. After graduating, I attended Marist College and focused my undergraduate degree in information systems and infusing it in nontraditional ways, which leverages software and hardware to present primary education curriculum to students. An example from the 90s would be using PowerPoint to create interactive quiz games.

After a year of postgraduate focusing on integrating technology, I decided to answer the call to service and joined the Army, and during my six-year service as a 25B Information Technology Specialist, I was deployed twice to the Middle East. Returning from my second deployment, I was medically retired, and I stayed in Florida, worked at U.S. Central Command as a network engineer, and assisted my company with business development. This effort resulted in being awarded an enterprise Information Technology task order for U.S. Special Operations Command. After five years, multiple enterprise contracts were consolidated, and Jacobs won the work resulting in me becoming an employee.

I have been with the company for six years, starting as the operations manager and with a promotion to deputy program manager for the Enterprise Operations Contract for U.S. Special Operations Command, which focuses on supporting special operators for the military branches. One of my main functions is ensuring we can take care of our employees.

How are you are challenging today and reinventing tomorrow?

I have always thought outside the box and approached challenging situations with a solution mindset. I am focused on getting to the “yes” for the clients and employees. Throughout my career, I have believed that how we have always done something is not going to work for the future. I want to solve today’s problems with creativity and with our client’s mission at the top of my mind.

When I stepped into my current role, I quickly recognized that we would have a challenge and a delay in hiring the right talent if we did not figure out how to create a pipeline of people with security clearance. Bringing the best and brightest to work for us is always a priority, but many of our defense contracts require clearance authorization, which is a lengthy process of up to a year and can be a barrier to entry. A qualified person must already be in a position where clearance is needed. Then, the military or a company must sponsor that person to gain the appropriate credentials.

Within four years, I created a pipeline of college internships that directly infused 500 people into U.S. Special Operations Command. This younger talent has brought innovative approaches, ideas and people into the Department of Defense who may not have been given the opportunity because of the stringent time to obtain clearance. A current example is our younger team members who are working on solutions that involve machine learning that pull multiple threads of data to help cyber risk analysts and data-centric self-healing networks.

What advice do you have for the future generation?

I say this to someone I am mentoring do not let fear stop you from taking a calculated risk. Whenever I have been presented with a unique opportunity, even out of my expertise, I step up to face those challenges head-on. Whenever leadership said, “We need you to do this and go here,” I saw it as an opening to learn something new and expand my skillsets. I have a thirst for knowledge, and understanding the risk of the unknown can be the best thing you will choose to do personally and professionally.

“I want Jacobs to be known as a company that cares about each individual and is concerned about their growth, success and family.”

Steven Hammer

Steven Hammer

Jacobs Deputy Program Manager, Division VP - Enterprise Operations Group

How are you helping deliver critical solutions for our clients?

I believe that our focus on inclusion and diversity is how Jacobs becomes a company like no other. Our people worldwide, with diverse backgrounds, cultures and beliefs, come together on these contracts to create innovative solutions and engage with other inspiring talents. A meaningful change was bringing in college interns to build up the talent pool - that means seeking out demographics to support our contracts. We must ask ourselves how we engage with 18 -25-year-olds seeking opportunities to build their careers.

What are you passionate about?

I am optimistic about the Critical Mission Solutions business separation because it will allow us to focus more on our market sectors, clients and missions. I think we will be able to take care of our employees and clients at a higher level of service and create systems and programs that allow us to improve efficiency.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

My lovely wife and kids are my life! I passionately believe that balancing and enjoying time off is crucial to maintaining wellness. My family and I go somewhere remote for a week every year and disconnect. Last year, we went to Yellowstone in the winter and stayed in cabins, watching the wildlife out our windows.

One of my more recent accomplishments, I was recognized by the Tampa Bay Cleared Talent Summit and received the Lighthouse Leadership Award. The award was given to recognize Tampa leaders in their work to grow the security clearance talent pool within the region.

People would be surprised to know that…

I am known as the Blue Man in the Tampa Bay area for being a huge supporter and fan of the Tampa Bay Lightning Hockey team. Locals have seen my face on a 35 foot by 20 foot billboard on the stadium's side.

If you aren’t working, what would we be most likely to find you doing??

I am an urban farmer, and we raise 20+ chickens and are on track to donate 200 dozen eggs back to our community. My family grew 40+ tomato plants! To stay sustainable, I built my hydroponics systems, used reusable planting bags and used a rainforest watering system that uses less water than conventional sprinklers.

I am an avid nature photographer and have helped take live shots for my son’s band. My wife and I are foodies and know all the best places to eat in Tampa Bay.

Giving back to our veteran population holds a special place in my heart. Helping these folks transition out of the military is crucial to their success. If there is any way we can reduce the stress for service members who have sacrificed and given their time to our country, it is essential. They have enough pressure, and their lifestyle is going to change. We must prepare them for what the industry needs. With my hiring experience, I can help because I do so much of it.

About the interviewee

Steven Hammer

As Jacobs Deputy Program Manager and Division VP - Enterprise Operations Group, Steven Hammer is responsible for all elements of business operations necessary to enable our client's mission for enterprise IT design, operations, cyber security, maintenance and management information enterprise. 

  • 200

    people he's hired within a year to staff our programs

  • 20

    overseas Jacobs locations visited

  • 1.4 K+

    IT professionals work in his department

  • 70 K

    Special Operators receiving full scope 24/7 enterprise IT services from our program

  • 600

    unclear IT professionals brought into the clearance space over past four years

Join #OurJacobs team

What drives you drives us as we work to build a better world – together. At Jacobs, every day is an opportunity to make the world better, more connected, more sustainable. We’re always looking for dynamic and engaged people to join our team. Bring your passion, your ingenuity and your vision.

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