Mike Melo: Serving People and Highlighting Values of Leadership!
Serve people and highlight the value of leadership with Mike Melo, the President and CEO of ITA International!
Mike Melo was a former U.S. Navy Surface Warfare Officer and Director for the program called Virginia Troops to Teachers at Old Dominion University.
Then, in 2005, Melo and his wife founded ITA International, a global service provider for customers that are “In The Arena.”
They provided integrated services in the areas of operational support, marine engineering, cyber operations, and data analytics for the US government, commercial customers, and Non-Government Organizations operating globally.
The name of Melo’s company, ITA, is actually derived from a passage in a 1910 speech by Teddy Roosevelt referred to as “The Man in the Arena.”
In that speech, Roosevelt praises those who work hard and demonstrate values of leadership, integrity, and hard work rather than simply sitting on the sidelines.
BUILDING ITA INTERNATIONAL
Before building ITA, Melo actually started a marine maintenance business that failed miserably.
“It’s business. We have ups and downs. And you know, you win some contracts, but you just got to keep your eye on the ball and keep moving forward.”
However, with the goal of building a successful business, Melo then decided to go into government contracting because he already understood how the government works.
What he did was he converted that marine maintenance business into an analysis and planning company for the Department of Defense.
He even used her daughter’s college funds to build ITA because he didn’t want to borrow money to fund their business.
Fortunately, he was able to get a one-year contract and this then led to more success in building ITA.
Currently, Melo and his wife aren’t just the one managing ITA. They also hired and promoted their daughter as the company’s Chief of Growth.
LESSONS LEARNED IN BUSINESS
The first thing that Melo understood in building ITA is that he is not the smartest man in the room.
There will always be someone who has more experience and knowledge than him. However, instead of drowning himself with the thought that he is not good enough, he talks to these people and learns from their experiences.
“The thing that I think sets entrepreneurs apart from everybody is the ability to listen to all these different sources and connect the dots.”
Apart from that, he also understood that he needs to learn how to maintain the three legs of their company’s stool which consist of their employees, customers, and partners.
This is due to the fact that whenever there is only one aspect of these legs that becomes broken or these people become ineffective or worried, this will harm the other legs too.
“If we at the headquarters take care of our employees, then they can focus on taking care of the customers. If the headquarters focus on our partners, they’ll take care of our customers too… So, it’s our responsibility to make sure we take care of the customer. And so that’s the thing I would say. Three legged stool.”
ADVICE FOR HIRING PEOPLE FOR SENIOR LEADERSHIP ROLE
When Melo and his wife hire people for senior leadership positions, they take these people out to dinner because they want to see their table manners and how they treat the wait staff.
Why is this important? Because the way they act and treat people will represent your business in some way.
For instance, if they’re dismissive to the wait staff, that’s how they’re gonna treat people in your company.
“We were interviewing for a Chief Operating Officer, this lady had tremendous quals, she had great experience… We took her to our favorite restaurant, we knew the white staff intimately there… and she was just dismissive of the wait staff, so Kathy said we’re not hiring her. Because that’s how she’s going to treat people. We’re not going to have that in ITA.”
If you want to learn more about how Mike Melo, the President and CEO of ITA International, serves people and highlights the value of leadership, then be sure to click the resources below.
You can also visit the GovCon Giant website or the new GovCon Edu where you learn everything about government contracting!
090: Mike Melo – Cyber/IT engineering firm discusses outgrowing small business status