Meet Big Sky Associates' Advisory Board

Big Sky's Advisory Board is composed of top leaders and thinkers in the fields of business process improvement, operations, military strategy, and decision science.  The Board provides hands-on leadership and guidance to ensure that our team is continually improving our own internal operations as well as delivering above-and-beyond results to our clients.  If the Board isn't constantly pushing us past our comfort zone and helping us achieve the big, hairy, audacious goals that most small companies only dream about - they aren't doing their job. 

John Dillard

john dillard

Big Sky founder and President John Dillard has dedicated his career to understanding what makes operations like yours tick. Before he was old enough to walk into a local pub and order a beer, John was writing for the Presidents' Daily Brief and the National Intelligence Daily at the CIA. After his venture as a CIA Analyst, John finished an International MBA at the Moore School of Business. Ever since, he’s committed himself to helping clients use data end evidence to improve their operational efficiency. Throughout his 15 years in the consulting and operations business, he has successfully worked with organizations of all sizes. But he knew there was a better way to offer guidance to companies and federal agencies. This is what spurred him in 2006 to co-found Big Sky Associates: providing clients with a straightforward, action-oriented path to measurable results and tangible success.

John has worked in a wide range of industries, including the federal government, energy, security, financial services, manufacturing, airlines and aerospace. Never completely severing ties with his intelligence roots, he served as an intelligence officer in U.S. Navy reserve and maintains membership in the Individual Ready Reserve. 

John has received awards and recognition for his drive to help companies take action with data and evidence. His alma mater, the University of South Carolina, named him the 2011 Moore School of Business Distinguished Young Alumnus. The Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army for Intelligence honored him with the U.S. Army Commander’s Award for Public Service – one of the highest awards the Army can grant a civilian. As a major driving force behind Big Sky’s acclaim as the 7th fastest-growing company in the Charlotte region, John was named one of Charlotte's “Forty under 40.”

John is a proud South Carolina native and lives with his family in Charlotte, NC. When he isn't working on your toughest challenges, he's busy serving his community as a Board Member of the Entrepreneurs' Organization and as a workout leader for F3, a fitness and leadership organization. He is particularly fond of obstacle racing and burpees – and no, we’re not kidding. If you want anyone taking on your toughest organizational challenges, it’s someone who excels at such a famously grueling activity.

Born in Greenville, S.C., John received bachelor’s degrees in political science and international studies from American University in Washington.  

Manoj Malhotra
Co-Founder and Advisory Board Member

manoj malhotraManoj Malhotra is co-founder and advising director of Big Sky Associates. A prominent thought leader in operations management, Malhotra is responsible for the firm’s project methodology development in management, operations and decision sciences. 

In addition to his involvement with Big Sky, Malhotra is the director for the Center for Global Supply Chain and Process Management at the University of South Carolina’s Moore School of Business. He is a Jeff B. Bates professor and chairman of the Management Science Department at the Moore School of Business, as well as an associate editor for Decision Sciences and the Journal of Operations Management.

Malhotra’s areas of expertise include production planning and control in multistage production systems, re-engineering and business process management, dual-resource constrained systems and scheduling in service-sector firms. He is also an expert in manufacturing strategy and supply chain management, interface between operations, information systems, economics and marketing.

Born in Meerut, India, Malhotra achieved a bachelor’s degree in technology from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, India. He also earned Master of Science and Master of Art degrees, as well as a doctorate, from The Ohio State University.

MG Steven W. Smith (ret.)
Advisory Board Member

Major General Steven SmithMajor General Steven Smith, United States Army retired, is a senior level business executive with 39 years of experience in a wide range of enterprises in both the private and military sectors, including cyber defense risk mitigation, strategic planning, complex project management, product development, network operations- telecommunications, and financial management. He has an excellent reputation for building strong teams and work culture that promotes creative, opportunistic and flexible thinking along with rapid delivery of technology solutions.

General Smith has had an influential career spanning business and government assignments and encompassing increasingly authoritative positions. His most recent role was as senior military advisor to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Manpower & Reserve Affairs, where he counseled the assistant secretary on all training, readiness, and mobilization issues for the Army.  General Smith came to that position after serving as commanding general of the US Army Central Command, 335th Theater Signal Command/Army Central Command (USARCENT) CIO. In that role, he led 2,800 soldiers and civilians deployed across the Middle East, and successfully integrated all theater-wide Army strategic command, control, communications, and computer (C4) systems connectivity. He also provided oversight and accountability for C4 commercialization efforts and tactical network conversion. He managed a $450 million operating budget and significantly improved USARCENT Cyber Defense, earning the formation a “commendable” rating on the US Cyber Command Cyber Readiness Inspection. Prior to his deployment, General Smith developed the Cyber Defense – Information Security strategic plan, policies, guidelines, and standards as chief information security officer in the Office of the Army CIO at Department of the Army Headquarters.

MG Smith served the United States for over thirty nine years on active duty, in the Army National Guard, and in the Army Reserves. He has also served in numerous industry executive positions including as a senior director of Global Clients Services to the Information Technology Group at Convergys Corporation; as a senior management consultant at Barclay’s Bank International; as a vice president of OES & Associates; and as a senior vice president and chief technology officer at Fleet Mortgage Group.

General Smith earned his BS in education from The Citadel, graduating as a distinguished military student. He earned his MS in strategic studies from United States Army War College and his MPA from Western Kentucky University.  General Smith holds TS/SCI security clearance.

John Miller
Advisory Board Member

John MillerAs an advisor to Big Sky Associates, John Miller provides counsel to Big Sky's President and leadership team about the firm's strategic direction, financial performance, business development, and operations. Miller collaborates with Big Sky's leadership to help formulate the company’s vision, develop and monitor strategies for long-term financial health and business growth, and develop future leadership within the company. 

Prior to co-founding The Clearing, a DC-based management consulting firm, Miller was one of the founders of Ironclad Technology Services, LLC (Ironclad) - a strategic business, IT consulting, and engineering services company focused on the federal government market. At Ironclad, Miller served as Vice President and Director of Operations, overseeing all aspects of service delivery, sales, contracts, and administrative services functions.

Before co-founding Ironclad, Miller was also one of the founders of Touchstone Consulting Group, Inc. where he influenced the growth of the company from its initial entrepreneurial stage into a world-class consultancy. Among other duties, Miller performed as Director of Operations, overseeing all internal operations. Previously, Miller had held positions of increasing responsibility at IBM over a ten-year period.

Miller holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Central Michigan University and has completed more than 1,000 hours of additional education including meeting facilitation, leadership, visual information management systems, marketing strategies, program management, federal sales, and presentation skills.


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