Linh Pham came to the U.S. in 1975 after honorably serving in the South Vietnamese Air Force as a combat pilot. He settled in the Washington Metro area working multiple jobs to put himself through school, eventually starting his professional career with Xerox before coming to SMS as an engineer in 1987. Throughout his career, Linh had a powerful effect on his colleagues and everyone who came into contact with him.
I first met Linh when I was a GS employee at Pentagon Renovation, around 1996. He, along with 5 other SMS staff, came to work for me at PenRen directly. Interestingly, 4 of those 6 still work at SMS! From that beginning, Linh has been the standard setter for the SMS culture and one of the reasons many, including me, ultimately decided to join SMS. Unbelievable work ethic, always positive, very personable and he would do anything for you as long as it was done with the highest standards in quality and integrity. He is the best of what a person should be, and personifies what SMS strives to be. –John Ladd, SMS Chief Operating Officer, former GS, Pentagon Renovation
Linh was the most dedicated engineer I knew and always helping someone out of a jam. It was not by chance that at almost every customer meeting there would be someone across the table from us who knew Linh. With a user community of 25,000 users, I wondered if there was anyone he hadn’t helped. When I reminded him that most of these folks weren’t our customers, he’d smile and remind me that one day we might need their help! Linh gained the customer’s trust one small act of kindness at a time. I soon realized that Linh does the things he does because they are the right thing to do. –Richard Gilbert, SMS Program Manager
Linh has many great qualities that have made him an invaluable part of every team he’s ever been on. The one that always impressed me the most was his complete ownership of the success of the team’s mission and his willingness to go above and beyond to get there. Linh is one of a kind, which is a shame, because the world would be a better place with more people like Linh in it. Working with him has been one of the highlights of my career. –James Scobey, former SMS team lead, current Assistant Director, Cybersecurity Operations, Securities and Exchange Commission.
We interviewed Linh in February 2021, shortly before his retirement:
SMS: Where did you grow up?
Linh: I was born and grew up in Saigon, South Vietnam. After we lost the war, I arrived at Ft Chaffee, AR in 5/75 as a refugee.
SMS: When did you join SMS and what was your first assignment?
Linh: I started working at SMS on 7/13/1987 as a Lab Technician with SMS’ Test and Integration Department. Later, we integrated Cisco and other equipment used by U.S. troops during Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
SMS: What did you like most about working at SMS?
Linh: Company values, quality, friendship, support and good leadership.
SMS: Can you share a special memory from your time at SMS?
Linh: The day after Sept 11, 2001, our team was tasked with restoring the Headquarters of the Army’s network. We spent three days and nights, and finally had that network up and running. While taking a little lunch, as soon as I got off the elevator, there was four-star General Eric Shinseki standing in front me. He saw me wearing a CAC on my chest and he shook my hand and said thank you. That really brightened my lack of sleep that day!!
SMS: What are your plans for retirement?
Linh: Babysitting my first grandchild and gardening!
Thank you Linh, for the memories and the great service to both SMS and your country!