Erik Wittreich

"I value teammates that challenge the status quo—it’s often where our best ideas originate. We seek people who are thoughtful, yet push back and ask hard questions. We don’t want employees to only take direction and rely on a boss to tell them everything they need to do. We don’t think the supervisor has all the answers; I know I certainly don’t. We look for creative, flexible, and inspired collaborators. We aim to be a place where our newest employees have a voice on day one."

Erik Wittreich

Chief Executive Officer

What did you work on yesterday?

It’s important for our teammates to spend time across the company in order to understand the needs, successes, and failures of other departments. This is how we grow and how we end up delivering increased value. We strive to prevent stovepipes. Yesterday, I sat down with our R&D department to better understand what differentiates our interchangeable pod system in our sUAS (drone) concept from the market. If you want to witness really smart people actively engaged in their craft, spend a day with this team. Truly inspiring.

How would you describe what you do at Ridgeline?

Leading Ridgeline is as much about building structure as it is about answering the question “who do we want to be in five years?” We’re building the largest canvas possible so that our creative geniuses have room to do what they do best—innovate. We want Ridgeline employees to take their curiosity about technology and apply it in a way that will benefit our clients. The focus becomes on developing an environment that allows them to do that. It’s about finding balance so when we add stability we do so without sacrificing ingenuity. It’s about building careers for our people and repeatable solutions for our clients all while maintaining an exciting and challenging work environment. Government contracting doesn’t need to be stale and bureaucratic. It can be fun. It can be impactful. It can feel like a Start-up. It can be technology first.

Why did you come to Ridgeline?

When I left grad school, I craved something that blended my Silicon Valley experience with my career serving Federal customers (more recently as a civilian and previously as a soldier). Professionally, I’ve grown up with many of our clients. I understand most of their operational challenges and believe in our potential for impact. Technology plays a critical function in the outcome of our clients’ missions. We can help deliver disruptive & systemic change, and do so in an environment that we create, that we foster, that we nurture, that feels right and feels really satisfying.

Why have you stayed at Ridgeline?

Our potential is unlimited and I believe our team is capable of delivering more impact tomorrow than we were able to deliver yesterday. I also think my personal potential is my own responsibility, and Ridgeline provides an environment where I can explore, learn from my mistakes, and cognitively grow. It’s fun for me to be on this journey with the team. I learn an incredible amount from our employees, clients, and partners. We’re in it together. Nothing here is routine or boring. Employees have a real sense of curiosity and there’s a palpable energy when you walk through our front door. Our teammates inspire me daily and because of their effort I feel accountable to them. They’re making me a better leader and this is the exact professional development I’ve craved.

What advice would you give to someone considering working at Ridgeline? Why should they do it? Why should they not?

At our core, we’re a learning company. Be open to expanding your understanding of tech and be willing to share your knowledge with your team members. People who thrive at Ridgeline take ownership. They own the line of software they’re writing. They own the tech concept they are teaching. They take little guidance and provide results on their own and with their teammates, without asking for every single requirement. I value teammates that challenge the status quo—it’s often where our best ideas originate. We seek people who are thoughtful, yet push back and ask hard questions. We don’t want employees to only take direction and rely on a boss to tell them everything they need to do. We don’t think the supervisor has all the answers; I know I certainly don’t. We look for creative, flexible, and inspired collaborators. We aim to be a place where our newest employees have a voice from day one.

What kind of things do you enjoy outside of work?

I get my fix for competitiveness by playing in several tennis leagues. It’s an interesting juxtaposition because in the workplace I really value teamwork and collaboration and intentionally try to foster an environment where people do not compete against one another in a cutthroat manner. However, tennis allows me to fulfill my desire to compete. I also enjoy learning about wine and cheering on all things Philly sports.