Booz Allen Hamilton

Ray Hensberger


“The environment at Booz Allen encourages learning cutting-edge, emerging technologies and collaborating with peers to develop viable solutions for our clients.”

Why did you choose Booz Allen?

While I was still in college, I worked at Booz Allen as an intern, developing software and learning software reverse engineering techniques. I didn’t know much about Booz Allen then, but during my internship, I gained a greater appreciation for the people and unique insight Booz Allen brings to its clients. It was important for me to find a company that recognized, rewarded, and challenged my technical skills through my everyday work and interactions. Booz Allen fit that mold perfectly.

What type of work do you do at Booz Allen?

I lead software teams in our Systems Development capability, mostly focused around cyber mission sets, where we design and build innovative solutions for complex technical challenges our clients face. We tackle these problems using a variety of technologies and approaches, such as cloud computing and agile methods. Every client and every problem presents a unique set of challenges that we have to be ready for. For example, recently we’ve been focusing on helping clients deal with Big Data and the information overload that they constantly battle. They need to turn large volumes of complex data into information, and that information into knowledge. In certain circumstances, that knowledge can be turned into action, so it’s vital that we deliver holistic and reliable systems to our clients to help with that challenge.

How has your background/education helped you be successful at Booz Allen?

My engineering background has been vital to my success here, providing me the ability to break a problem down and derive a solution that meets clients’ mission needs. It takes a certain skill set to understand how all of the pieces of a technology system come together in a larger context, not only technically, but also in terms of the mission. It’s important to keep in mind that what we’re building will impact the mission today, as well as in the future.

Discuss some of your career highlights.

I’ve always been proud of my work in cybersecurity. I’ve helped clients quickly turn around mission-critical technology systems and capabilities that have been used to extract significant information and maintain situational awareness during critical times. We provide the necessary thought leadership to help keep clients one step ahead in delivering on their missions.

What types of technical skills are needed to be successful at Booz Allen?

Having a deep technical understanding of systems--including programming languages, statistical algorithms, or mathematical models used for computations--is important in analytics and software development at Booz Allen. Being able to collaborate with others is very important here. We often work in integrated teams with staff from across the firm, such as in our systems development, advanced analytics, and mission analytics capabilities. This helps ensure that our development work addresses the full range of our clients’ mission-area concerns. You also need to be able to communicate the use of your technical skills at both a detailed technical level and a broad higher level for non-technical audiences. That’s a consulting skill and is just as important as understanding and appreciating technology.

Why is Booz Allen an ideal firm for someone with expertise/skills in your field of work?

At Booz Allen, you’re always presented with new challenges that test your skills and willingness to learn. We serve a wide range of government and commercial clients, so we need to bring unique approaches to problem solving, especially with technology. The environment at Booz Allen encourages learning cutting-edge, emerging technologies and collaborating with peers to develop viable solutions for our clients.

What differentiates Booz Allen from other technology companies?

There’s a collaborative environment at Booz Allen that is hard to find anywhere else. We are encouraged to network across  the firm to learn about the technologies, capabilities, and services we offer in all of our markets. For instance, a technology like cloud computing could be applicable to clients in completely different markets or with different missions, such as those focused on algorithm development or intelligence analysis. We learn from each other here and share our expertise and intellectual capital to drive robust solutions for clients.

This year’s Annual Report features “missions that matter” at Booz Allen. Discuss a “mission that matters” that you are involved in.

We’ve helped clients through some of the toughest situations they’ve encountered in the cyber and Big Data domains. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some incredible teams developing the next line of national cyber defense and situational awareness capabilities. Architecting, building, and deploying these systems, and seeing their mission impact firsthand. Those are missions that matter to our clients and the country.

What projects have you had the opportunity to work on at Booz Allen where you have used your technical skills?

Every project I’ve been involved in at Booz Allen has leveraged my technical skills, many times in ways I never expected. I’ve done extensive software programming with languages, such as Java. I’ve also worked on the integration of complex systems and software components. I’ve designed and implemented solutions that leverage cutting-edge software, like those seen in cloud computing, to reduce cost and maximize efficiencies for clients. I am constantly exposed to technologies and markets that challenge me to learn and expand my technical skills.

What excites you about your work?

I work with some of the smartest and most well-rounded people I know. I’m thankful for the team and leadership I work with on a daily basis. We’re always pushing the limits, technically and conceptually, to solve the most complex issues involving national security. The opportunities and experiences that Booz Allen has afforded me have been tremendous and continue to be exciting.