We are really excited that Greg Gardner has joined NetApp as our Chief Architect of Defense Solutions. Greg was previously the Deputy Chief Information Officer for the Intelligence Community, and also spent time at Oracle following a successful 30-year career in the US Army. Greg graduated from the United States Military Academy and holds Masters degrees from Purdue University, the Army's School of Advanced Military Studies and the Naval War College.
Greg and I had a chance to catch up and talk about his arrival at NetApp and what he would be focused on.
1) What were you doing before you came to NetApp?
I was the Deputy Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the U.S. Intelligence Community. In this role, I assisted the IC CIO in developing the information sharing and management systems that enable our integrated, agile intelligence enterprise. The Intelligence Community is a coalition of 17 agencies and organizations within the executive branch that work both independently and collaboratively to gather the intelligence necessary to conduct foreign relations and national security activities. Its primary mission is to collect and convey the essential information the President and members of the policymaking, law enforcement, and military communities require to execute their appointed duties.
2) Why did you decide to join the NetApp team?
Several reasons: First, I had worked beside a number of members of the NetApp family when I was with Oracle. They are good friends and they raved about the culture and the people at NetApp. Second, I worked closely with the Federal CIO Council and had a sense of government wide data management challenges. I did my homework and determined NetApp, which had a strong presence throughout the Intelligence Community and the DoD, was the best possible place to go to help address those issues.
3)What will your role be at NetApp?
I am Chief Architect for Defense solutions working for Mike Walsh, but am available to help anywhere in the company I can be of assistance. I am happy to leverage the relationships I have made and nurtured over the years to help educate customers and potential customers from all sectors on NetApp’s exceptional value and quality.
4) I know you’ve only been at NetApp for a short time but what do you see as the one or two biggest opportunities for growth for NetApp within the DOD market?
I believe there are tremendous opportunities in the general area of data center optimization. Each service, each command does that differently, but each has very similar challenges that our solutions directly address.
5) Given you’re relatively new to NetApp I’m sure you have some interesting outsider perspective. What do you think makes NetApp different than the competitors?
In my view, NetApp’s discriminators are, first and foremost, its people and its culture. I cannot overstate their importance from a customer standpoint. Second, NetApp has a business model squarely focused on increasing efficiency and reducing costs for customers. I first heard that unique message at Oracle OpenWorld 5 years ago and, as a customer, realized it was completely true. NetApp’s simple, holistic architecture, quality products, and very effective partner arrangements combine to create real value in the marketplace.
6) When you’re not wearing your NetApp hat, what things keep you busy outside of work?
I’m working on a PhD in IT Management and that pretty much keeps me off the street. For exercise, I love to hike the local trails both outside and inside DC.