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Ever since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to tackle the unknown, to do something different. And in my professional life, I’ve always been something of a change agent. I tend to be the one asking, “Why not?”
A former CTO at a chemical startup, I bring strong entrepreneurial skills to my leadership of the firm’s work with Department of Veterans Affairs and the Centers for Disease Control.
That’s why Booz Allen is a perfect fit for me. We’re allowed to be bold here.
Richard Crowe leads Booz Allen’s Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) business from our Red Bank, New Jersey, office.
With more than 25 years of strategy development and technology delivery experience, Richard drives a diverse portfolio of VA business, including numerous IT and healthcare operations.
Prior to joining Booz Allen in 2004, Richard served as chief technical officer at PlasmaSol Corp. There he led a multidisciplinary team of engineers, physicists, chemists, and technicians in developing custom plasma-based applications for dual use in counterterrorism and medical applications. He also provided technical leadership in intellectual property management and product development proposal assessments, as well as expertise on technology strategy plan development and merger and acquisition strategies.
He has authored seven patents related to the method and application of non-equilibrium plasmas.
He holds a B.E. in electrical engineering from State University of New York Maritime College and an M.S. in technology management from Stevens Institute of Technology.
What excites you most about working with Veterans Affairs? What we’re doing is transformational in the way veterans receive their benefits. From health care to benefits delivery, we’re transforming the way the VA delivers these services today, whether it’s helping them reimagine health care in support of the Access to Care Act, helping them in transforming to next-generation IT to enable veterans to get access to benefits quicker. We’re implementing a veteran benefits management system and another program called veterans relationship management, which is one of the largest implementations of Microsoft Dynamics in the world. We’re enabling the VA to have better continuous contact with its veteran population. We’re part of one of the largest rollouts of mobile infrastructure to veterans and clinicians. We’re revolutionizing how services can be delivered to veterans. For me, these are more than just jobs or engagements. They’re having lasting impact for the veterans that we serve.
Why is Booz Allen ideal for someone with your skills and expertise? I tell people all the time that Booz Allen is a large company that encouraged me to let my entrepreneurial bent shine through. I took the success factors I learned in small business and came here. Booz Allen is right for me because we’re allowed to be bold. We’re allowed to think differently. We’re not locked into certain lanes. We’re allowed to question the status quo, as long as you’ve got a plan to move forward.
What are your top tips for managing and motivating people? Authenticity. People want to know the truth about where you see the market and where you’re headed. Frequently and accurately communicating with our staff allows us to hear what their aspirations are and see how that fits in to where we’re headed with a firm. Constant dialogue at all levels has been the secret sauce at Booz Allen during my 12 years here. Being able to collaborate as a team is what makes us totally different from all of our competitors. The way we go into client engagements is totally different from all of our competitors. You can’t have authenticity until you have a dialogue.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? True innovation starts with your staff. If you forget that, you’ve lost something. What makes Google a great company isn’t its algorithms, it’s the people. What makes Booz Allen the preeminent firm is what each individual staff member brings. We as leaders are responsible for making each person achieve their maximum potential. In other words, technology has a first and last name.
What did you want to be when you grew up? An engineer at NASA. My father was a Merchant Marine, so I was also interested in that, seeing the world and being on ships. I’ve always had a sense of exploration and desire to do something unknown and different.
Favorite vacation spot? I go to Disney every year with my kids. I can be a kid with my kids. For me, it’s a place where I can unplug from the pressures of the world.
Biggest challenge? Time. To live an accomplished life and do everything you want to do, the one thing we don’t have enough of is time. You can always find more money or different resources, but it’s difficult to find time.
Where do you see the firm going in the next 100 years? It’s like the Star Trek theme: to boldly go where no one’s gone before. To move forward, we’ll have to boldly take on missions that will make the most impact for our clients and our nation. I think we’re in the best position to boldly lead in to a future of uncertainty.