2016 CTO of the Year – USA & IT Services
Founded in 1975, AMERICAN SYSTEMS is a government IT solutions provider, and is proud to be among the top 100 employee-owned companies in the United States. Based in the Washington, D.C. area, with approximately 1,400 employees globally, the company provides advanced systems and network infrastructure engineering, technical, and managed services to the Department of Defence (DoD), Intel, and civilian government customers.
As CIO and CTO for AMERICAN SYSTEMS, Mr. Brian Neely leads the overall vision, planning, and management of all technology, information and cybersecurity-related resources throughout the enterprise. As he shares his background, it becomes abundantly clear how his career story epitomises how a genuine love of technology can take a budding entrepreneur from strength to strength, if they manage to locate the proper channel for their skills. This can be difficult at the best of times in the increasingly dynamic technology market, and becomes particularly difficult when the pace of technology accelerates into such an unbridled gallop.
Indeed, technology is evolving so rapidly that, to get ahead, aspiring tech innovators have to be looking from an early stage at the most leading-edge schools in America. This is as true today as it was for Brian 20 years ago. Having said that, Brian’s graduate program at Carnegie Mellon University was well chosen, as it was the number one graduate program for MSIT (Masters in Information Technology) and Computer Engineering at the time. During his time here he benefitted greatly from the institution’s strong heritage in software life cycle development and in cyber security, due to collaborative programs with the federal government, as well as his access to CyLab, one of the largest university-based cybersecurity research and education centres in the world.
Carnegie Mellon also gave Brian an opportunity to broaden his horizons, and develop a robust understanding of the applications of advanced technology in the world of business. However, “effectively fusing the technology and business worlds can be the difference between success and failure. Business school helped, a lot.” Choosing the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania gave Brian this much needed perspective, and was one of the driving factors behind his success at AMERICAN SYSTEMS. “A real key to being a successful CTO is having a solid understanding of the business side of the house… the challenges they face, the pain points they have, and how you can augment that with technology-based solutions, in a fiscally responsible manner.”
“I had an engineering background with disciplines in ocean and aerospace engineering, and AMERICAN SYSTEMS was a growing company with opportunities that fit my background.”
As such, when Brian began his career at AMERICAN SYSTEMS in 1996, he found himself thrust into the heart of the business. “I joined the company as an Engineer, working on strategic command & control and weapons platforms. I worked on several different Navy and Army programs, eventually ending up supporting the Intelligence Community.”
To this day, he is very proud of his accomplishments during this formative time, as it bestowed upon him a deep insight into the enterprise’s real-world business operations. After a decade of direct customer support, he moved over to the corporate office to support several of their strategic acquisitions, eventually taking on the role of corporate CTO.
AMERICAN SYSTEMS has enjoyed a sustained period of growth and advancement within the United States Armed Forces and the Department of Homeland Security. By focusing on areas of national priority, and bringing practical, innovative solutions to the table, the company prides itself on helping keep the Nation and its citizens safe. To Brian, this adds enormous value to his job. Exemplifying this, Brian was awarded a Presidential Commendation for his role in the quick reaction and recovery efforts after the September 11, 2001, attack on America. “Playing a part in protecting the Homeland certainly adds tremendously to the fulfilment. When you love what you do, when you can take pride in what you do, that’s all the motivation you need.”
The passion that AMERICAN SYSTEMS pours into its work has not gone unnoticed. In fact, the company has recorded a new spate of defence contracts in just the past month, totalling more than $135 million, signifying their increased role as a trusted partner in providing critical IT solutions to the DoD. The US Air Force, long-time clients of the Company, awarded contracts to American Systems to continue providing technical and analytical operational test services on the Air Force’s next generation F-22A and F-35 Lightning II fighters at the Operational Test and Evaluation Centre.
In addition, and perhaps most notably, AMERICAN SYSTEMS’ IT expertise has come to the forefront, having been recently awarded a task order of $42.5 million by the US Navy Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR). On this five-year task, American Systems will continue its support and operation of the US Navy’s 311 Support Centre, thereby providing a lynchpin to the Navy Distance Support strategy, and bolstering the ‘single face to the fleet.’ Contracts such as these reflect well upon the company’s Chief Technology Officer, and speaks of bigger, bolder things yet to come.
Ultimately, as the pace of technology continues to open up new, uncharted realms in the defence and IT solutions markets, AMERICAN SYSTEMS maintains a fluid, open-minded approach to the future of their company and their industry. As Brian Neely poses, “what better industry is there to work in than one that is constantly changing?” What’s not changing however, is their mission, to embrace innovation, to utilise technology creatively to solve problems, and to honourably support the defence of their Country.
Company: AMERICAN SYSTEMS
Web Address: http://www.americansystems.com/
Address: AMERICAN SYSTEMS, 14151 Park Meadow Drive, Suite 500, Chantilly, VA 20151