The finalists for WashingtonExec’s 2023 Pinnacle Awards were announced Sept. 25, and we’ll be highlighting some of them until the event takes place live, in-person Nov. 16.

Next is Mike Kushin, president of defense and intelligence at Parsons and a finalist for the Intelligence Executive of the Year, Public Company category. Here, he shares his key achievements and the biggest professional risk he’s taken

What key achievements did you have in 2023?

In 2023, the most obvious achievement was being promoted to President of Defense and Intelligence (D&I) at Parsons. Even though I was not seeking that promotion, our CEO had confidence in me and asked me to take the job.

However, what I consider to be my most significant achievement is our pursuit and award of a $1.3 billion contract with a key government organization. It is not the size of the award that I am most proud of – it is the scenario we developed as part of the proposal that scored the highest ever from that organization.

Most importantly, that scenario is being used by the customer for particularly important customer tactical and strategic missions in support our Nation’s pressing mission challenges. The knowledge and understanding of our customer and their needs, and their implementation of our solution, is a key achievement in 2023.

What’s the biggest professional risk you’ve ever taken? 

My biggest risk was back in 1992. I had worked at my first job for five years and it was going well. I was recently married and had to take care of myself but also my aunt and uncle, so a steady paycheck was a necessity. I was given an opportunity to start a business with two other people and it was a significant risk. We identified a customer and enough revenue for approximately three months.

While I was growing in my current role, I was allured by the opportunity to start a business and control my own destiny. I took the leap of faith and over the course of 10 years, we grew the business to over 300 employees, really learning how to run a business, before selling it in 2003.

It was a huge risk both professionally and personally, but it really taught me to take risks along with the gained experience during that time.

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