For the past 16 years, Umang Modi has been working his way up to more and more senior positions at TIAG, a federal government IT technology services contractor that is focused on the defense health community. “About 60% of our work is in health IT,” says Modi. “So, anywhere technology can be a force multiplier for delivery of patient care.” That can involve electronic health records, apps that facilitate diagnosis and treatment, health registries, and data analytics. The company’s biggest client is the Defense Health Agency.
Modi was working for SAIC (Science Applications International Corp.) on a project at Walter Reed Army Medical Center when he met the founders of TIAG. “I started working for them in 2005, in a technical role and I evolved from there to become a lead engineer and project manager,” Modi recalls. He was given responsibility for more projects and, as a result of that work, the company won more contracts and began getting more referrals. “That’s when my career took a bit of a turn and I started to also work in business development,” he says. Over time, he did less and less technical work and more business development and growth strategy.
Throughout his career, Modi has worked on many interesting projects, but a few stand out for him. For instance, he was part of an engagement that involved the closure of Walter Reed and its relocation to Bethesda, MD. That involved taking approximately 400 clinical applications, decommissioning them while retaining the data, and consolidating them into “a hard drive that’s basically the size of a 24-pack of soda,” says Modi. “And we did that entire project in about six months.” The government had solicited bids from much larger companies that estimated the cost of the project at $50 million and balked at the deadline. “We were able to do it for a tenth of the price and on time,” says Modi.
“It’s been interesting to mix with folks [in Newsweek Expert Forum] supporting the private sector and to hear ideas from the industry side of things."
Additionally, he’s proud of a new product called mResilience, a mobile app that helps first responders deal with trauma and PTSD. “We have about eight police departments that have purchased it in the past year and we’re looking to put more tools like that directly in the hands of people who need them,” says Modi.
In a very commoditized industry, Modi says that TIAG’s secret sauce is its people. “We try to treat everyone like they’re family,” he says. “Our customers know that our people have been with us a long time. Our employees are taken care of so they can really put their best foot forward for our customers.” Modi notes that less than two months after he started at the company, he had an accident and was hospitalized for more than three months. He was paid the entire time, did not have to go on disability or use vacation days. “I think our employees know that we will work with them in every scenario to try to make sure they’re taken care of,” he says.
TIAG has always had flexible/remote work policies, says Modi, so COVID did not have a huge impact on the company’s internal operations. However, the pandemic changed life for some of TIAG’s contract employees who were working onsite at government agencies. “They suddenly got to move to a hybrid model as well,” he says. “And some of our customers who were reluctant to allow telework all of a sudden embraced it, so it was really good from a recruiting perspective.”
Newsweek Expert Forum “solidifies our reputation as experts in our field,” says Modi, who is a regular contributor to Expert Panels. “I think any opportunity we have to be published and demonstrate our thought leadership is extremely effective.” It’s also been beneficial for him to meet and network with professionals who are outside the realm of government contracting. “It’s been interesting to mix with folks supporting the private sector and to hear ideas from the industry side of things,” he says. “A lot of people in government have been talking about doing things in a more innovative way, so we need to try to use some private sector lessons to speed those things along.”