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Being an engineer means figuring out how to enhance things, make them faster, easier. I’ve kept that mindset throughout my career, which today means leading the firm’s C4ISR business for the U.S. Army.
For my clients, that means solutions that boost productivity, improve communication systems, and save crucial minutes in the field. And it means showing them how to innovate during a time of declining budgets.
Instead of giving our clients more of the same, we are trying to give our clients more than what they’re getting today.
Bill Schuler is a senior vice president with a business focus on the Army market. He leads the command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) business and Army enterprise IT infrastructure programs.
Bill has extensive experience in technology projects involving networking, communications systems, cloud computing, enterprise systems and operations, emerging technologies, identity and access management, C4ISR, and software-defined radios. As a recognized engineering and technology leader, Bill serves on the firm’s engineering market development council and oversees all science, technology, engineering, and mathematics staff aligned to the Army account.
Among his numerous assignments at the firm, Bill led the network architecture design for a Department of Defense next-generation Internet protocol-based satellite communications system. He also led the design and standup of the firm’s center for networking and systems innovation.
His memberships include the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, Association of the United State Army, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Communications Society.
Bill holds a B.S. in electrical engineering from George Mason University and an M.S. in electrical engineering from The Johns Hopkins University.
What prompted you to come to Booz Allen, and what has kept you here for 29 years? The opportunity to work on advanced military communications was a major appeal. It’s an engineer’s dream. So I chose to come because of the interesting work. But what’s kept me here over the years is the people I work with. Number one, I always felt like there was positive peer pressure. I felt like I was working with sharp colleagues and I didn’t want to let them down. I didn’t want to be the weak link, if you will. And the other thing is that I always felt at the end of the day that I had great leadership and I trusted the leadership. People ask me “Why have you stayed at Booz Allen so long?” And I feel like I haven’t. I feel like I’ve had many different jobs. That challenge is something I have found interesting.
How are you helping your clients prepare for the future? I collaborate with others in the firm who are working on C4ISR solutions. One of the things we’ve been highlighting is a vision for enterprise integration. Essentially it creates a digital ecosystem that connects the systems through common standard interfaces. The government takes control of the open architecture and that way you don’t necessarily get contractors to lock our clients in with specific technologies. It’s more of a plug-and-play situation where people are tapping into the architecture and we have an interoperable environment. We are interfacing people at the network level and people are able to start leveraging what’s in those stove-piped systems.
What do you do to keep on top of new technology? You have to have an ear for what the clients are looking for. They don’t necessarily explicitly tell you what they are looking for, but they talk about the challenges, and you have to think what might be out there from a technology perspective that could address their challenges. I try to keep abreast of new technology by leveraging our Strategic Innovation Group (SIG) and working with them to tailor specific innovations for what our clients need. I also try to stay well read with industry periodicals, I’m always reading about what’s happening in the communications space. And finally, the use of labs — part of the reason we created labs at Booz Allen is to experiment with leaning-forward technologies that customers may be interested in having us move out on some solutions.
When you’re not at work, what are your driving passions? Bringing my kids up right — I have three. This job can bring a lot of stress, so I go to a boot camp three times a week. For an hour we get yelled at and do all kinds of challenging exercises and come out of it worn down, but you’re glad you did it. On the weekends, I like to have fun on the water with my boat and on the streets with a muscle car, that give me a little bit of stress release.
What is your biggest accomplishment to date? Getting elected to the Booz Allen partnership. I can remember when I was a Level One 29 years ago, a partner coming into my office to welcome us to the firm, and I had an office mate. And we were looking at each other and were like, someday we’ll be partners. As a partner, I feel privileged to be one of the stewards of a world-class firm and member of an extraordinary team. To be part of such an elite team, that’s my proudest accomplishment–short of my kids and convincing my wife to marry me.