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Boeing Frontiers
April 2004
Volume 02, Issue 11
Boeing Frontiers
Main Feature

Carl Alan Solomon
Discovering 'visioneering'

Carl Alan SolomonPerhaps it's little wonder that Senior Technical Fellow Carl Alan Solomon studied both geology and computer science at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa. He's an engineer whose feet are firmly planted on the ground, but one who's always scanning the landscape for the bigger picture.

Solomon is a leading expert in the application of technologies for national security missions, knowledge management, and mission and enterprise architecture. And since coming to Boeing last year through the acquisition of Conquest, he's developed a reputation throughout the enterprise for his technical and market-shaping know-how. He's already earned a "Pride at Boeing" award for his contributions to the Computer-Aided Passenger Prescreening System II proposal for Homeland Security & Services.

But Solomon, who served as Conquest's chief technology officer, quickly sought to integrate former Conquest employees within Boeing, moving its engineers and scientists into the Technical Fellowship cycle.

"The fellowship was one more way to share our expertise with the company," said Solomon, who works for Boeing Advanced Information Systems - Maryland Operations, "but it was also a way to learn about the company."

In 1997, Solomon had an experience that helped shape his current career trajectory in a way that's paying big dividends for Boeing.

"I was helping intelligence analysts to document and understand what their technical needs were and then translating those needs into the language of scientists and developers," he recalled. "What I realized is I needed to lend a voice to intelligence analysts because so often, engineers and technologists begin to get very focused on the technology, and sometimes miss the operational understanding of the customer's mission."

Carl Alan Solomon

'A great big-picture thinker'
Career field: Enterprise Architect, Architectures for Intelligence Analysis, Mission Focused Processes
Organization: Boeing Advanced Information Systems—Maryland Operations, Columbia, Md.
Company service: 5 years
Education: Master's degree in computer Science, Johns Hopkins University, 1995; bachelor's degree in computer science and geology, Juniata College, 1985
Publications: 6

That breakthrough led to what Solomon terms "visioneering," or his concept of helping an organization define its focus. But first, he said, "I had to understand the organization well enough to illustrate to leadership in the organization how they could use this new technology and new ideas."

This process includes "lock-ins," or closed sessions that last anywhere from two days to a few weeks. Here, an organization's key members hunker down together along with consultants Solomon invites "to spike the punch with new ideas."

It's all about facilitation—and that's what Solomon now does throughout the Signals Intelligence and Homeland Security communities, for projects that literally can mean the difference between life and death.

So it's not surprising, says Maryland Operations Manager Kevin Reville, that Solomon was tapped as a Senior Technical Fellow.

"He's a great big-picture thinker, so he'll be a great asset at Boeing from the Technical Fellowship aspect," Reville said. "He's the best on the forefront of a new program as a thought leader, helping to set the stage of a program to get it going."

At Conquest, Solomon created the Industrial Consortium for Homeland Security soon after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. This four-person group managed to secure an audience with Tom Ridge, then U.S. Office of Homeland Security Advisor.

"Many of the ideas we had presented to him before he became (secretary of the) Department of Homeland Defense we found (have) been implemented," said Solomon, whose small group now includes other companies and has been renamed the Boeing Homeland Security Consortium. "We'd influenced a large organization, and that's what it's really all about: getting your ideas implemented."

—Maureen Jenkins


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