By Lou Gionfriddo
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)
When we were a young family living in Maryland and Virginia, we taught our children to embrace these traits—be true, noble, pure, lovely, and admirable. Early on, we encouraged them to “set a higher standard.” After all, we are the Gionfriddo Family.
I have strived to live by this throughout my career as a project manager and program manager on commercial telecom projects and federal IT contracts. Federal contracting is an ever-changing profession. Living from contract to contract was challenging and exciting at the same time. I felt I was living on the edge of a riverbank…always looking for the contract to carry me through the next two to three years. If nothing came through, into the river I would fall.
I moved from contract to contract and company to company. Because of this, I was out of work many times. For most of my career, I landed on my feet. Throughout that time, Christ was my vision and example of perseverance and I was often able to encourage fellow employees who were also struggling.
There was one time I was managing an IT/Office Support contract with a federal agency and was asked to perform a task which was not within the scope of our contract. The request was clearly unethical and I refused to do what was asked. Eventually the request was rescinded and the contract successfully moved forward. The request had come to the president of my company from the government program manager and my refusal to comply with the request was a risk. However, I knew the right thing to do, and I did it.
Toward the end of my career, because of changing contracts, it was difficult to maintain a good salary. I was in positions where I felt misplaced and over qualified. Still, at one point one of my children said in a family honoring, “We never really knew growing up we had financial difficulties. You never showed the troubles in the way you lived, nor in the way we lived as a family.”
I thank God for that. We faced challenging times. Yet, we were always hopeful, humbly trusting in God in all circumstances. We always brought the best to our situation, and never lost sight of the high standard we had set for ourselves. No matter what, we were the standard Christ set for us.
We are now retired and living in South Bend, IN. I am still involved in federal contracting, though in a different role. My company, Third Coast Federal, helps companies in Indiana and Southwestern Michigan to build, grow, and maintain a federal contracting business.