Sam Malhotra: A Forward-Thinking Leader in Hogans Cabinet
By Deborah Lambert
When Sam Malhotra accepted his post as Secretary of the Department of Human Resources (DHR) in Governor Hogan’s Cabinet, he knew it would be a challenging job. After all, the head of this agency manages 24 local departments of social services in Maryland’s 23 counties and a staff of 6,500 employees in order to oversee Maryland’s state welfare programs.
Even so, Secretary Malhotra made a seamless transition from his role as a Montgomery County businessman by noting shortly after his confirmation that of all the government agencies, DHR has “the noblest mission of all – providing the social safety net for the most vulnerable Marylanders who may very well be our neighbors or friends.”
“Serving the people of Maryland is a privilege and an honor,” said Malhotra, who pledged that “Together we will aggressively pursue opportunities to assist people in economic need, provide prevention services and protect vulnerable children and adults.”
His friends and colleagues who know him as the founder and CEO of Subsystem Technologies Inc., an Arlington-based defense contractor, were not surprised that Malhotra was named for this Cabinet post.
Subsystems Technologies president Dick Bodson noted that “This change is a typical reflection of Sam – moving on to a humanitarian leadership position. Just as he started Subsystems 29 years ago with the best of intentions to serve the defense and safety of the United States of America, he has now gone on to help his home state of Maryland.”
Secretary Malhotra holds a B.A. from the University of Maryland at College Park, an MBA from Georgetown University and an OPM from the Harvard Business School. He serves on the board of the Creative Education Foundation and the board finance committee of Holy Cross Hospital. Malhotra’s company, Subsystem Technologies, Inc., has received numerous awards including the Inc 500, Deloitte & Touche 500 and Washington Technology FAST 50.
The first Indian-American to be named to a Maryland governor’s Cabinet, Malhotra also served on the Maryland Commission for Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs during the Ehrlich Administration.
The DHR currently operates on an annual budget of close to $2.7 billion, including federal funds. Since Secretary Malhotra’s top agenda items include developing a welfare-to-entrepreneurship program, and a foster youth pathway to a career, one gets the impression that he will empower individuals served by the DHR with free market principles in order to move ahead in their lives. His success in doing so could have far-reaching effects.
These days, Secretary Malhotra is already following through on his promise to visit all 24 offices of the DHR this summer, and looks forward to modernizing the department’s legacy computer system in order to improve service delivery, save money for Maryland citizens and improve customer experience when interacting with the department.
Secretary Malhotra recently joined a group of government officials who gathered in Baltimore to kick off the 2015 season of summer internships for inner city kids. This program was made possible by Gov. Hogan’s $3.13 million state funding project to provide more than 8,000 young people who live in Baltimore City with summer job opportunities and work experience.
The month-long program offers “opportunities to work with mentors who help them develop positive work habits and attitudes, as well as learning about job requirements, career development, and financial literacy.” Currently, there are 17 YouthWorks interns taking part in the month-long program at the Baltimore City headquarters of the DHR.
Malhotra spoke highly of the program, saying that “Summer jobs can launch careers, and that’s what we hope happens here. But more than that, this real-world experience will give each DHR intern an advantage, not only when they interview for jobs or work in a professional environment, but in everyday life as an adult.”