Indiana has a wealth of tech talent and these playmakers are having a big impact as they build the technology and tech companies that are driving economic growth in the Hoosier state. Join us in celebrating the Tech 25 class of 2022 through this profile series and learn a bit more about each winner.

J.D. Hill is the Program Area Manager for Weapons Systems Integration (WSI) at The Vertex Company. He functions as a program manager on large complex efforts including the largest current development program within Vertex. J.D. also leads the WSI program area team and is responsible for all bookings, sales, and earnings of the portfolio. 

J.D. maintains capture management certifications and booked over half a billion dollars of new orders. J.D. joined The Vertex Company (former division of Raytheon Technologies) in 2009. He holds an MBA from Indiana University and a BS in Software Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

What led you to the tech industry and this occupation? What was your first job in tech?

I started my journey into the technical industry at a young age. I often would be found tearing things apart to put them back together. Most of the time, they remained fully functional. 

As I grew older, I started learning more about engineering, through two different sectors: civil through my father’s experience in commercial construction and through my interest in electronics and computers. I’ve maintained interest in these drastically different engineering fields even to now. I even found ways to connect those fields in certain entrepreneur work. 

My first job in technology was working for eTapestry performing software engineering data services. My interest in defense was sealed through a family friend who worked in the industry and helped me land a job with Raytheon.

When you think of a day in your life, what are the main work activities you do or responsibilities you have?

Now as a Program Manager, I leverage my engineering foundation combined with my leadership and business knowledge to lead teams. My primary day-to-day responsibility is successful communications to enable the team’s success — not just with the team, but also with other critical external and internal stakeholders. 

I serve as the company’s primary customer interface to multiple diverse customer communities across the industry. Additionally, communications with internal leadership at the executive level allows my team to focus on getting very complex work done. I also participate in the critical decision making affecting the program’s ability to meet all technical, cost, and schedule objectives.

Which resources would you recommend to those who want to learn more or advance their skills in this occupation?

There are classic leadership books that can help all leaders, especially leaders of leaders. I love sports, and sports analogies are also very relevant to leading diverse teams. These are some of my favorite books: Wooden on Leadership, Good to Great, The Leadership Challenge, and The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership

Additionally, the defense community maintains a number of industry unique publications; some of the most popular are Defense News, Breaking Defense, and Aviation Week. These resources discuss many specific items important to customers and companies in the industry. Lastly, the best way to learn is by interacting with successful mentors. Seeking out individuals from all sides of the industry including end users, leaders, acquisition personal, and other colleagues help.

J.D. is a Tech 25 winner who is helping to grow and improve the tech landscape of Indiana. He was nominated by his Sr. Director & General Manager, Modernization & Sustainment, Patrick Renwick. 

Visit the Indianapolis Business Journal website to see the full listing and celebration of the 2022 Tech 25 honorees in the joint Tech Exec of the Year and Tech 25 Awards supplement. 

You can also read the TechPoint Index official Tech 25 Class of 2022 Winners Story and explore, tag and share photos from the awards in the Facebook Gallery.