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From the nuclear arsenal to energy security and sustainability, I’m focused on what’s next for the Department of Energy. We bring a mixture of technology expertise and change management experience to global issues.
That mix syncs with my background in energy technology and markets, both nuclear and renewable, as well as in national security. I have built an expertise in large, complex program management. I like to answer the question, "How do you do big things?"
Richard Goffi leads Booz Allen’s energy security and management businesses, focusing on energy, nuclear, and nonproliferation efforts for government and private-sector clients.
Currently, Richard oversees the full range of the firm’s support to the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration. He also guides energy initiatives across the Department of Defense, armed services, and combatant commands. His work includes energy project development and energy management for defense activities, management and operation of the nation's nuclear weapons complex, and federal initiatives for managing the nation's nuclear materials.
His previous job experience includes working as an operations analyst in NASA’s space shuttle program.
Richard earned a B.S. with honors in aerospace engineering from the United States Naval Academy and completed graduate studies in nuclear engineering at the University of Maryland.
What makes you passionate about your work at Booz Allen? I love being part of change and driving the development of new technologies, new business models, and defense enterprises that are less vulnerable and less dependent on energy. Our customers are working on leading areas in the economy but old processes may still be in place. We are helping them modernize and prepare for what’s next.
Why did you choose Booz Allen? I like big challenges. I started in Washington dealing with a major challenge addressing the legacy and future of nuclear energy and technology. I expanded upon that building a business around non-proliferation, dealing with the security challenges of the post-Cold War world. Then I moved into my next big challenge—the need to transform energy solutions and address climate.
What have been the biggest changes in the industry during your career? The focus of customers has shifted. I’ve watched the move to data-driven decision making, opposed to older business styles. The complexity of issues and the pace they move at is faster. In the non-proliferation world, the threats went from counties, to non-state actors, to terrorism and other threats. On the energy side, we are fundamentally transforming an industry that still maintains old, and arguably outdated, business models.
How does your team help clients with change? Booz Allen understands the potential afforded by modern technology. We also appreciate the implications. We have a cadre of technical experts who can help see the game changers that will transform this industry in the coming years, coupled with the business experts who understand the implications, and the change management talent to help make it happen.
How will you make that happen? We have to focus on implementation. In the world of energy, the true measure of success is not the development of the new and innovative technology—the real success is getting it into the energy economy. It has to be adopted by the private sector to be successful and become an inherent part of the broader energy economy.
What’s exciting about the future of energy? Smart energy excites me. Are we going to provide energy when needed and where needed? Can we be economically and environmentally responsible? Can it be reliable and secure? As we move toward 10 billion people on the planet, we want to be sustainable around the world. This is a global issue.
How do you keep your team motivated in such a changing industry? Our people want to work on important things. That’s essential. They think about the business they want to work in. Our people work so hard and put in so many hours. They want to see that it’s meaningful, to contribute.
How does leadership support that? Leadership here provides them the support they need. They have “air cover.” We have their backs as they try new things. It’s important to recognize their success and reward them. The work needs to align to their values.
What kinds of people do you value? I value people who like to take on challenges. I enjoy being around those who are creative. They are willing to say, “Let me figure it out.” That speaks to my personality.
Is this the job you wanted when you were growing up? I love what I do, but this wasn’t in the plan when I started out. In a strange sense, I can say I’m here because I failed my flight physical at the Naval Academy. I went there to be a pilot, and I didn’t pass the eye test. The rest is a combination of luck and circumstance, none of which I regret.
How can we be happier in life? I think we lose sight of how much the world has changed—in a good way. There’s a speech that Colin Powell gave that says in the last 50 years the world has made positive changes. The world has moved toward democracy, we’ve elevated human rights, and we’ve seen the end of oppressive culture regimes. My advice is that we should look how the world has changed positively. We get caught up in the noise of the bad. We need to hear the good. It’s out there.