Voyagers Program Facilitates Collaboration Between Government and Industry Leaders


Successful leaders know that open collaboration and communication is critical to the success of a team. When that team is responsible for supporting some of the most complex missions in the defense and security space, that success becomes even more crucial.

The American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council (ACT-IAC) seeks to improve mission outcomes by providing "safe haven” for collaboration between industry and government leaders. QinetiQ Senior Associate Eric Smuda is one of only 36 people nationwide to participate in this year’s ACT-IAC Voyagers program. This year- long course pairs high achieving mid-senior level industry leaders with their counterparts in government at a 1:1 ratio.

Eric supports Space Force as part of his work with QinetiQ, and his counterpart in the Voyagers Program works in NASA. In addition to the cross-collaboration ppportunity, Voyagers also provides leadership training and a wide variety of professional development opportunities that allow program participants to enhance their leadership and communication skills.

“Voyagers is unique in that it gave me a chance to ‘walk a mile’ in our customers’ shoes. I’ve learned so much about how to better serve the needs of the government agencies whose missions we support while also better developing my own personal leadership style,” said Eric.

The Voyagers program also encourages participants to put together panels and discussions in alignment with the Office of Personnel Management’s Executive Core Qualification. Prior to joining QinetiQ, Eric served as a senior policy advisor for now former New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez. He was able to welcome his former boss and moderate a panel on DEI&B featuring other industry and government experts on the subject. The Governor’s keynote address and the panel focused onthe importance of embedding diversity and inclusivity into organizations. Governor Martinez also spoke to the program participants about her work in expanding educational opportunities to students of all backgrounds and how she was able to boost literacy rates and improve the graduation rate by 17% in her state.

On Thursday, March 16, Eric will be delivering a TED Talk as part of his Voyagers program experience. The talk will leverage his past experience with Governor Martinez as well as his work at QinetiQ. Titled “The Three Ps,” it focuses on overcoming adversity, mental health, and self-care. The event takes place at 6:30 p.m. at the State Theater in Falls Church, VA. More information about the event is available here.

In addition to the Voyagers program, Eric is passionate about finding ways to give back to the community. He helped lead QinetiQ’s adopt-a-family holiday giving in 2021 and 2022 where he raised $12,000 and $5,000 each year, respectively. He also recently became involved in the ACT-IAC Gives Back program, which helps channel the passion and energy of the organization’s many volunteers into supporting important causes throughout the greater Washington, D.C. region.

“I recognize that the more I get involved, the more I learn and develop,” said Eric. “That’s why I appreciate the many opportunities QinetiQ provides for personal and professional growth. QinetiQ has allowed me to channel my passions and make a huge impact.”