October 1, 2010

Executive Profile: Rocky Cintron

Rocky Cintron is president and CEO of Force 3, which delivers, supports and maintains IT products and implementation services—such as unified communications, security and data center—for federal agencies and their partners. It is recognized as one of the fastest growing federal IT solutions providers in the mid-Atlantic region and is one of Cisco's top five federal Cisco Gold Partners in America.

Rocky Cintron, CEO and president of Force 3, started the company in 1991 with a deep respect for the mission and vision of the military and the Department of Defense. Cintron’s father served in the Army and Cintron, a self-described “Army brat,” was born in Fort Meade, Md., with the National Security Administration right in his backyard—almost literally.

“I have a passion for the Department of Defense,” says Cintron. “Supporting them is a noble effort, which you realize when you see them out there risking their lives.”

Because of his personal background, Cintron had an understanding of the unique challenges that come with serving the military-industrial sector that many other contractors struggle to achieve. “There are things you cannot talk about in support of mission, so there is a very small group of people who can help these clients solve their issues, often for initiatives that have national impact,” says Cintron.

Because of that, Force 3 has a key ongoing challenge—attracting and retaining talent, and mentoring the next crop of leaders. Cintron recognized that Force3 had some high-potential leaders who needed to develop their leadership skills for maximum effectiveness in their roles.

Cintron worked with Hugh Courtney, the Smith School’s vice dean of programs, and Jeff Kudisch, Distinguished Tyser Teaching Fellow in management and organization, to design a classroom program that would bring together a group of Force 3 executives for an intensive three-day custom learning experience. “They put a lot of upfront effort into our curriculum—they asked the right questions and took the time to really learn about us as a company and our needs. There was a great connection and really good communication,” says Cintron.

The group read “Good to Great” by Jim Collins and had classes and strategy discussions led by Kudisch and other Smith faculty. “Many people told me it was the best class they’d ever taken,” says Cintron. “They talked about Force 3’s vision, about getting the right people onto the bus and making sure that the right people were in the right seats.”

When Force 3 brought back the Smith School for a second year of training, part of the three-day program included a walking tour of the battlefields of Gettysburg, in cooperation with the Gettysburg Foundation. It was a powerful experience. “People came away from it with the realization that whether or not people will follow you depends on your leadership style and the relationships you have,” says Cintron.

The class members have formed strong bonds with one another, and that has brought some surprising and very welcome side effects. “The back office staff does not ordinarily work with sales and marketing, so they might not have gotten to know each other, otherwise,” says Cintron. “But now when there’s an issue, they have a better relationship. They see each other as partners in solving the problem. It’s not just ‘me and my department.’ It’s about the entire organization, and how we can have an impact.”

The group will begin planning Smith’s third year of leadership development with Force 3 this fall.

For more information about the Smith School’s custom options for executive education, please contact Greg Hanifee.

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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty master's, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.

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