Vice President, Chief Technology Officer
Bill Kiczuk is vice president and chief technology officer for Raytheon Company. He oversees the development and execution of the integrated technology and research vision and strategy for the entire company. Kiczuk chairs the company’s technology leadership team, which oversees Raytheon’s collective research collaboration and technology opportunities. He also represents the company on outside councils regarding technology and the defense industry. From 2003–2010, he was technical director and director of Strategic Architectures for Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems. A 29-year Raytheon veteran, Kiczuk has held a variety of engineering, management and technical leadership positions.
Technology Today recently spoke with Kiczuk about his background, his responsibilities as CTO, how Raytheon’s technology strategy is developed, and the roles of research and innovation in technology strategy.
TT: What are your duties as CTO?
BK: I focus on technology and innovation — two cornerstones to Raytheon’s success that I am passionate about. I ensure Raytheon has an integrated technology portfolio that will help us win programs near term while positioning the company for longer term success. I work with the technical directors across the company to coordinate technology for our broad range of development efforts and we work to maintain a long-term strategic technical vision for the company.
I lead Raytheon’s technology leadership team, which is responsible for developing and executing an integrated technology and research strategy.
TT: What are your initial goals for this position?
BK: We need to strengthen collaboration across the company and ensure we are integrating our capabilities to provide solutions for our customers. We’re doing well in this area, but it requires continuous focus to ensure we don’t miss opportunities. Ultimately, we want to reach a level of proactive technology management and optimization, where we have a comprehensive integrated technology strategy that aligns with our business plans and ensures our goals are met.
Key to our integrated technology strategy is having an external focus. This not only strengthens our technology fabric but also incorporates a partnership component with our customers, universities and other technology sources.
In the end, it's about ensuring that we think strategically and execute tactically.
TT: How is the company’s technology strategy set?
BK: We analyze inputs from many perspectives and integrate them to form the technology strategy. From our customers, we seek to understand their needs today and in the future. Business development and program management leadership help us apply a business filter to determine market priorities, which technologies in those markets will be differentiators and how the technologies might evolve to impact our business plans.
We also look for true game-changing technologies that could revolutionize the way we view a market and impact our business plans. We develop an understanding of our internal capabilities along with what is externally available, identify key milestones for each technology and potential sources of technology and create a plan that addresses how we will mature the key technologies. We monitor our progress and make appropriate adjustments.
TT: What role does research play in Raytheon’s technology strategy?
BK: Research plays a significant role in thinking and planning strategically. We need to begin identifying and working on technologies, now, that may not find their way into systems for the next five or 10 years. Many of the technologies we start today may not ever mature or prove viable in the long run. So it’s important that we cast a wide net, looking at many alternatives, but do it in a low-risk, affordable manner.
This is where we rely more on partnerships and consortiums. Partnerships — whether with universities, government or industry — enable Raytheon to access a much broader range of ideas and technologies. In many cases, we can add value through complementary capabilities or technologies. In all cases, we gain valuable insight that helps us to understand the state of the art and plan for integration of new technologies into our products.
TT: Innovation … How do we knit together our people and processes to effectively capture it? And/or how do we nurture it?
BK: It’s critical for Raytheon to maintain its innovative culture. This is key to our identity, and it’s an enabler for where we want to go. From an enterprise perspective, we sponsor numerous initiatives ranging from the Raytheon Innovation Challenge to the IDEA program. We also encourage business-specific initiatives like the Bike Shop in Missile Systems and the Office of Innovation in Space and Airborne Systems. Each initiative encourages innovation in its own way, and they have been successful. From a corporate perspective, it’s important that we encourage these approaches while not trying to homogenize to a one-size-fits-all approach. These business-specific approaches result in diversity of thought and unique ideas that we need to cultivate.
TT: You’ve worked in many parts of the company with varying cultures. What have you taken away from each place?
BK: I started with Texas Instruments Defense Systems and Electronics Group in Dallas, and worked the last six years in Integrated Defense Systems, after moving to New England. In between, I’ve worked with other parts of Raytheon through the years on missile systems, avionics, and ground systems. This has given me the opportunity to see firsthand what makes Raytheon a great technology-driven company. Across the company, we have a culture of innovation and continuous improvement that constantly generates new ideas and challenges the status quo. We complement this with a strong engineering discipline that pays attention to details and delivers results for our customers.
Recently I had the opportunity to escort a reporter who has done a series of articles on aerospace and defense companies, including many of our peers. His insight was interesting. He conveyed that what stood out about Raytheon was the pervasiveness of our innovative engineering culture. We don’t need to set up special standalone organizations to be innovative or to engineer high tech products. We do these things every day, everywhere. Most importantly, we work together to get things done.
That being said, our company is multinational and distributed around the U.S. and the world. We do have local cultures, local strengths, and unique capabilities across the company. This is a good thing; it puts a local face on Raytheon and enables us to make a difference in communities and work more effectively with universities. This gives us the diversity in thought and practice we need to be strong.
TT: Having a master’s degree in systems engineering and having led IDS’ Strategic Architecture Directorate, what are your thoughts on these two disciplines?
BK: I view systems engineering and systems architecting as tightly coupled disciplines. Systems engineering decomposes specific mission needs into a set of systems requirements that we then design and test to. It provides traceability from key performance parameters to design features and tests. Systems architecting provides for a standard set of solutions to a broad range of problems. It also provides the ability to explicitly deal with ambiguities and unknowns within a well defined standard framework.
Integrating these practices enables interoperability and affordability through re-use and planned evolution.
TT: You’ve won some of Raytheon’s highest awards during your career. What’s your formula for success?
BK: I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a lot of good people on challenging projects that I really enjoyed. If you are surrounded by good people, and you are willing to listen, learn, and contribute wherever needed, things generally work out for the better. Most important, I think, is that in whatever position I held, I wanted to make a difference, so I worked with the people around me to make things successful.