Meet Bob Heckman, CIO

Life at Criterion | Careers

Meet Bob Heckman, CIO


Criterion has many veterans and active reservists among its leadership and staff. Today, we’d like to introduce you to Bob Heckman, Criterion’s CIO. You can find more profiles of veterans and other employees in our Life at Criterion category.

What branch did you serve in?

United States Marine Corps

What was your position?

Technical Controller (TechCon)

What was the time frame you were in the military?

1988 – 1993

What was the most rewarding aspect of serving in the military?

The mission focus. I was part of a team that supported ground amphibious forcible entry capability to the naval expeditionary force (NEF) and conducted subsequent land operations in numerous operational environments. I supervised the installation, operation, troubleshooting, maintenance, and security of computers, networks, and satellite communication systems during the Gulf War.

What lessons learned during your service do you apply to your job now in the civilian sector?

Two key lessons come to mind:

  • The KISS principle – KISS, an acronym for “Keep it simple, stupid,” is a design principle noted by the U.S. Navy in 1960. The KISS principle states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated. Therefore, simplicity should be a key goal in design, and unnecessary complexity should be avoided.
  • Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig – Some people are either unable or unwilling to learn. Attempting to instruct such people is waste of time, despite your best intentions. Discover what they are good at, what their strengths are, and leverage those abilities.

Why did you choose to pursue a job in Government Contracting? How do you like it?

I wanted to continue serving my country while being paid better and not getting shot at. I love it!

What advice would you give to military members who are about to re-enter civilian life?

Take advantage of the Transition Assistance Program (TAP), and, more importantly, hire a firm to provide professional career services. They will help you explore your career goals and work toward achieving them. This starts with a consultation where you’ll have a one-on-one discussion about your background, education, accomplishments, career goals, and target salary. They will help you with career coaching, your job search strategy, job interview preparation, and provide salary negotiation advice. Plus, they will help you develop a resume (demilitarize it) that lands you more interviews, a better job, more money, and greater fulfillment. You will receive a professional persuasive cover letter that will emphasize key strengths in your resume and show why you’re the right person for the role – while setting you apart from every other service member leaving the military. Combined, these professional career services will help you get noticed by recruiters, ace the interview, and set your career on the right trajectory. Career services should include helping you develop your professional online profile (i.e. LinkedIn) so that it is optimized to attract the right hiring managers, bring you more opportunities, and expand your network.