Meet the Innovators: Darryl Dortch

Welcome back to Meet the Innovators, where we shine a light on Octo’s talented technologists and business professionals who serve our Federal Government customers. Today we are pleased to feature Darryl Dortch, Technical Director of System Design/Architecture. Darryl has been with Octo for two years and serves in our CTO organization.   

Darryl, thank you for taking the time to share your experience and insights with us. Let’s start with the work you do for Octo. How would you describe it?  

I serve as the co-leader of the emerging technology division, where my responsibilities include overseeing technical teams dedicated to discovering and introducing groundbreaking solutions that tackle the most formidable and intricate issues faced by the Federal Government. As a director, my primary focus is to cultivate a corporate culture that empowers imaginative individuals to explore the boundaries of what’s achievable for our clients. My objective is to collaborate with federal agencies and ensure that Octo, an IBM company, maintains its reputation as the premier solution provider in the industry.

It sounds like the work you do is inherently innovative. How do you use that innovation to help customers “jump the technology curve”?  

Innovation refers to something that is a new idea. It’s a general term that we hear all the time—so much that it can easily become meaningless. What sets innovation apart at Octo is our approach. We believe innovation is a new idea that brings value to the customer. Thus, innovation = new idea + value.

My job is to help promote innovation by cultivating an atmosphere where talented technologists and engineers are provided opportunities to think outside the box. Our teams are given the freedom to push the limits of their innovation by using emerging, cutting-edge technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML), to solve customer problems. This provides Octo the ability to take bleeding-edge solutions to market so we can help clients jump ahead of the curve—where they are today—and satisfy future technological needs.

What is one project or challenge you have taken on, and what is your approach? 

The most impactful and exciting challenge I’ve taken on is cumulative. It involves finding meaningful opportunities that enable our combined teams to leverage our innovation center oLABs™, along with a plethora of IBM and Red Hat cutting-edge technology, to bring more innovative solutions to the market.

Our oLABs environment is an incredible prototyping and experimentation space where our talented engineers and technologists collaborate to rapidly produce prototypes. With the power of oLABs and our expert leaders, we are exploring opportunities that will bring evolutionary solutions like IBM’s watsonx to the Federal market.

If you have heard of generative AI, you likely have heard about watsonx—a robust AI and data platform that helps scale and accelerate the impact of AI. It can be used in a variety of organizations. Our goal is to help our federal customers discover the power and potential of watsonx’s generative AI capabilities that work in conjunction with many other groundbreaking solutions. It’s all part of finding the right combination of technology and resources and applying them to solve customer problems.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry? 

I would say first, be willing to step outside your comfort zone and take on challenges that require you to stretch yourself. Second, learn how to be comfortable and poised when navigating complex situations. Third, be receptive to team building. Finally, identify a mentor, and always think of ways to increase your proficiency.

Anything else you would like to add? 

I’m grateful that I’m affiliated with a company where corporate culture is a shared set of workplace values, standards, and behaviors. Organizational culture is the sum of all that you and your colleagues think, say, and do as you work together to achieve organizational goals and objectives. I’m proud to say I have the best job on Earth, and I get the pleasure of working with some amazing individuals.

Are you an innovator at heart? Do you enjoy using cutting-edge tools and working with top talent to solve complex problems? Octo has positions for professionals dedicated to helping federal customers meet their important missions. Learn more by exploring our Careers page. Veteran? Start your search here.