Special Commendation for Service to the IT Community: Kevin Carroll

2007 GCN Awards | Carroll gave support to improving DOD's IT systems

Carroll's Management Lessons

Kevin Carroll credits his success to promoting
openness and honesty, involving
industry, and giving his staff the tools
and freedom they need to do their jobs.
'If we're honest and upfront with [our
customers] when we have troubles, that
really saves the day. And I think that
would be a key factor in what made us
successful in enterprise integration and
in communications,' he said. But that
honesty extends beyond Carroll's interactions
with customers.

'He inspires confidence in his employees,
customers and industry,' said Dave
Borland, Carroll's one-time boss and
former Army deputy chief information
officer.

Carroll said one of the biggest mistakes
government program managers make is
to not engage with industry. He recommends
'opening your door and letting any
company come see you, from large to
small, all companies. The ones you like,
the ones you don't like.'

PEO-EIS is now 'an industry-friendly
and open kind of organization,' Borland.
said. 'That's what he's made it.' And he's
done so with 'no ego'without selfaggrandizement,'
he added.

'My job is to make the program manager
successful,' Carroll said. 'And if
they're successful'then I'm successful.'

To that end, Carroll's encouraged his
staff to focus on how they can help their
employees and remove any roadblocks.
'When things are going bad, my job is
to get up and out in front of people,' he
said. 'And when things are good, I need
to stay in the back.'

Kevin Carroll

Zaid Hamid

'I'll never have a job that's as fulfilling
and as much fun as this,' said Kevin
Carroll, the Army's outgoing program
executive officer for Enterprise
Information Systems. After 30 years of
government service, 24 of them with the
Army, Carroll retired on Sept. 30.

For the complete list of the 2007 GCN Award winners, click here


He was first introduced to government
service when he was drafted in 1972. 'One
of the happiest days of my life was leaving
the Army,' he said. 'Little did I know that
I would be coming back to it.' Or that he
would one day be sad to leave it.

For the past seven years, Carroll has managed
the Defense Department's and Army's
business and combat service support system
programs, in addition to Army communication and computer infrastructure programs.

'Kevin Carroll has moved PEO-EIS from
an obscure acquisition agency to a main pillar
of Army enterprise,' said Vernon Bettencourt
Jr., acting Army chief information officer.
'And he has done all this with a can-do
attitude and an Irish wit.'

After completing his two years in the Army,
Carroll used the GI Bill to earn his undergraduate
degree at the University of Maryland,
working part-time buying parts for the
physics department's particle accelerator. That
experience qualified him for a position in contracting
at the Transportation Department.

From there, he joined the Federal Highway
Administration and then the Coast Guard,
along the way earning his master's degree in
business administration from Maryland.

Carroll got into buying computers at the
Coast Guard and liked it. Then he heard
about Dave Borland's reputation as a top information
technology guy with the Army
and sought him out. Borland hired Carroll
for the Information Systems Selection and
Acquisition Agency, where he rose to the Senior
Executive Service and eventually succeeded
Borland as the agency's chief.

After moving up through several Army
commands, he was recruited to the Army
Materiel Command, where he gained experience
in program management before joining
PEO for Standard Army Management Information
Systems, the precursor to EIS. Carroll
saw three major challenges there: lack of
communications, stovepipes and a lack of
emphasis on security.

'Command and control, the warfighting
systems, got all the communications,' he said.
Carroll pushed for moving his systems to the
Web, and, he said, 'we put up a whole bunch
of various small-aperture satellites and wireless
LANs'that are now one of our biggest
successes in the war. Even the warfighting
guys have picked up our solutions.'

Carroll also sought to address logistics
stovepipes. 'The reason that's been such a
challenge is because of the way the Defense
Department and Army work, both developing
requirements and funding IT systems,'
Carroll said. So he focused on bringing people
together, pointing out what was obvious
from the program management point of
view ' that a lack of coordination often
meant a duplication of efforts.

He also recognized the need for information
assurance, which was not a priority
when he arrived. 'They just never thought
they were going to be under attack like the
weapons systems guys would be,' said Carroll.
Such naivet' is long gone.

Looking back, Carroll said he'd grade himself
with an A for improving communications,
a B for security and a C for enterprise
integration ' breaking down those
stovepipes. But enterprise resource planning
tools are on the way, and they will help the
organization design its business processes in
an integrated manner, he said.

Carroll regrets that he won't be around to
see the integrations completed, and he sounds
genuinely sad to be leaving his post. 'I loved
being able to help make the G4, the head of
logistics'happy that we're providing value.'
During his tenure, the organization grew
from approximately 170 employees to more
than 650. It has the largest presence of any
PEO deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, including
soldiers, government civilians and
contractors.

'We've really done so well there with our
systems,' Carroll said. '[We're] getting parts
and products where they need to be to keep
things operating. So I'm really gonna miss
delivering, I guess you could say, results that
are positive for people.'

Reader Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above