This May, we said goodbye to our valued and trusted Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Charles Stone. Over the nine years of his leadership with RSDC, Stone has played a key role in driving the company to its current state in the industry. He moves into the next stage of his career with the support and best wishes of all of us at RSDC.
From the Small Beginnings
When Stone was asked to join RSDC, the team of six were working from a single room to service a contract with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Although the company was small, since its founding in 2005, impressive achievements had already been earned. Stone entered with a great deal of respect for the reputation that had already been built, and with a growing vision for the future of the group.
“One of the things I have enjoyed most about RSDC has been the latitude we all have. When we see an opportunity to expand, we are able to act on it,” said Stone. “We are entrepreneurs together, and you don’t find that in many companies.” Stone founded the software solution delivery division of RSDC, quadrupling the company in size over the next few years. With a vision to increase client diversity, RSDC added contracts with FEMA, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the United States Army. Under Stone’s leadership, the division now provides project management, requirements analysis, business analysis, software engineering, cloud architecture, automated testing, and prototype development and testing for applications, PHP, Java, artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots, and rules engines. “I’m proud of all of the capabilities we’ve added – they allow us to drive groundbreaking projects from start to finish. We are well prepared take our clients’ businesses to the next level, and that’s a great feeling.”
Stone, however, sees his greatest accomplishment as his role in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS). At the project initiation, veterans were waiting upwards of two years to be paid on disability claims. In an entirely paper-based system, more than 14,000 VA employees reviewed thick paper files to find the evidence they needed to process a claim. With complicated forms and documentation requirements, claim submissions were often returned to correct errors or gather additional information, further delaying payments. The result was thousands of disabled veterans left without the vital income benefits that had been promised to them. In addition, there were thousands of VA employees pushing through increasingly low morale in difficult and frustrating work conditions. After three failed attempts to modernize the system by other contracting companies, in 2009, RSDC succeeded. Millions of pieces of paperwork and the claims process itself became entirely digitized. Claims processing turnaround time decreased from two years to an average of four months. Even further, once the system was complete, Stone’s team proposed cloud storage for the massive data sets required. After building the prototype, proving the system would work and would add value, RSDC was given the green light. The project meant ground-up architecture and the secure migration of the data without a lapse in service. The result was a savings of $119M per year and efficient, secure, global access to the data needed.
A Living Legacy
But the true legacy that Stone leaves behind is in the people: the talent he has brought in, and the company culture he has helped to create and nurture. “We always begin with hiring the right people. We put a lot of effort and thought into who we bring in, and that shows. We also work diligently to remove as much internal red tape as possible, so our team members are free to deliver superior results to our clients.” A key focus has been the professional development of RSDC team members. Stone’s focus has been to develop his team so that they are not only equipped for the next RSDC project, they are prepared for their next career move – whether that’s within RSDC or not. “I am proud of all the people who came in at the junior level, who we were able to mature over time with training, challenging work, and trust in their abilities.”
All of us at RSDC would like to thank Charles Stone for his service and his dedication. He embodies all that makes RSDC special. We send him off with warm wishes for continued success throughout his career.
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