Ask most people where they were when that second plane hit the tower on 9/11 and they’ll give you an answer. Very few of them though, if any, will give you the answer Sunil Ramchand gives.
“I was running into the White House.”
“Agility is one of Mission Essential’s core values. We’re not bound by what’s been done before. And that not only makes Mission Essential a cutting-edge company, it makes it an exciting place to work.”
We are in a park walking along the Potomac River on a muggy overcast day. Sunil is in a business suit and seems completely unaffected by the warm weather.
“I was with the President’s Contingency Staff,” he continues. “So I was actually called into the White House to lead a crisis action team while most everyone else was being evacuated.”
Sunil pauses for a moment as if he’s replaying the day in his head.
“Let me tell you, regardless of what your political opinions may be, that was a maestro performance of leadership by the Vice President.”
So what was the mood like? I ask. Was there a level of panic?
“Everyone fell naturally into their role. There were a lot of military people there and crisis management is a skill that’s sharpened over time in the military.”
Of course, having served on several US Navy Warships and then in the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations, Sunil saw his share of crisis and his share of Presidents. I ask him how all this experience translates to Mission Essential.
“You know, I didn’t realize it as a member of the military but now that I’m in the private sector I see the work we do is just as important to national security as what I was doing as a public servant.”
He pauses to let a group of joggers run by.
“And the thing about Mission Essential is that we’re an agile and lean company so every person has to be an impact player.”
So Mission Essential is really about people?
“It is,” Sunil nods. “You know, I learned from my time in the Navy and in the White House that once you find the right talent and get that team to work together, there’s no limit to how far you can go.”
He’s on a roll now, talking about the great people at Mission Essential. And as I listen, it occurs to me that, if the rest of Mission Essential is half as accomplished as Sunil is, this is a team that will go a long way indeed.