From chemist, to financial manager, to aerospace employee, and ultimately founder and CEO of SA-TECH—Timothy Adams talks about the true advantages of diversity in business.
Timothy Adams founded SA-TECH in 1989.
“When much is given, much is required.” I’ve learned that it is so important to give back to your community. -Timothy Adams
Adams said, "When people talk about the size of SA-TECH and the recognition that we have received, it is because of the people that are behind, around, and in front of me."
REPLY ALL | Tim Adams
President & CEO, Systems Application & Technologies Inc.
Minority business owner
Maryland Chamber board member
SA-Tech has had a commitment to quality, integrity, and excellence over the last 25+ years. Over time, how has your view of success and failure changed?
In my view, you cannot judge your personal success and failure based upon the success and failure of your business. There are a lot of environmental factors that play a role in whether or not your business succeeds. Who you are, your moral fiber, your integrity – these are the things that you can control. You can really make a difference in your own life, the principles you follow and how you treat others.
SA-Tech is an officially recognized minority-owned business, dedicated to diversity and inclusion. How do you feel about the importance of those values in business?
I believe it is tantamount and can lead to your success. There is inherent diversity and there is acquired diversity. I believe we should pay a little more attention to the acquired diversity. It isn’t just about ethnicity and gender, but life experiences. As a nation, as a culture, and as a business, we need to have that.
You have been a great advocate and volunteer for persons with disabilities. How important do you think it is to commit time and service to a diverse community?
I believe we need to make sure we have an understanding of what it means to have a diversified community. One of the things we have to put at the forefront of our minds is that it is not about the letter of the law—it is about the spirit of the law. We can sometimes say that we are going to make things accessible, but do we really support one’s independence? Do we really work towards their quality of life, or the dignity that everyone deserves? That’s the spirit of the law.
What did it mean to you to be recognized as one of the Top 100 African American Leaders in America and one of Maryland’s most admired CEOs?
First, it was humbling. I believe it is always significant when you are recognized, but we have to take a step back and remember that there were a lot of other people that made it possible. When people talk about the size of SA-TECH and the recognition that we have received, it is because of the people that are behind, around, and in front of me. It’s because I have a diverse organization that works together as a team. It’s because of the men and women who have forged a commitment to excellence. That makes us as an organization. I sometimes get the limelight and recognition, but it is really about all of them.
What have you learned along the way that continues to help you today?
We all know that “To whom much is given, much is required.” I’ve learned that it is so important to give back to your community. It is so important to be a good corporate citizen. We can’t measure our success just by revenues and profits, but can assess how we change lives, how we support our community, and how we impact other individuals. What is the footprint we are leaving? Have we conducted our business with integrity? That’s what it’s really all about—making lives better for individuals and being able to contribute.
What is one characteristic you believe every leader should possess?