Interview With Homeland Security CIO, Part 2 : Page 2
Those three objectives are about 200 percent of my time.
Q: Which of your skills has served you best in managing IT?
I think there are a couple. One is communication. The second is -- I think probably just serendipity and the good fortune of genetics -- but the ability to ask questions that others may not ask or seeing things a little bit differently than everybody else, has proven very valuable because it enables you to get to possible solutions we might otherwise not have been able to get to simply by thinking about things a little differently. Overall, it has been a very beneficial type of skill -- I'm not sure it's a skill but the way my brain is wired. I think the technology expertise that is gained over 25 years of doing things is very valuable.
Q: What advice would you give someone looking to advance their career the same way you have?
I don't know that I'm real good at giving people advice for their career. I know I've become much more humble over the years...I recognize now that's not what I'm about.
You have to manage your career. I can share experiences I've had and help you determine if there's any relevance to what you're trying to do. I'm reasonably good at that but not good at giving advice. I don't think it's my place to give anyone advice on how to advance their career.
Q: What keeps you awake at night?
I don't know. I usually sleep pretty well. Honestly it's that people leg of the stool: How are we going to be able to break down the cultural, political, organizational barriers that are absolutely critical to getting to the sharing and integration of information? That's what I worry about. What I'm talking is a huge change management initiative. And as a result it's the people aspect change I'm most concerned about.
Q. What do you do in your spare time?
Sleep. All three hours of it a night. I'm being serious. At the moment, I'm a very boring person. People in our office are working about 16 to 18 hours a day. It's very serious, urgent business from our point of view. We're talking about people and property damage. We're deadly serious about combating terrorism. Right now if you're not working, you're sleeping. It's fun, it's exciting, but if you were look at us from the outside, you'd be thinking, "These people need to get a life." It's tough because my family is not here. So honestly I fall into this rut of "might as well work." My family will be down in late June and after that time it won't be all work.