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In the past I led our Digital Solutions business. Today I am leading an effort to modernize Booz Allen’s management systems to handle the complexity of our business. But on large-scale technology projects, it’s not just about the technology—it’s about everything else, from user education to change management. Throughout the years, I’ve learned what it takes to build, manage, and implement these efforts.
In the process, we transformed Digital Solutions into one of Booz Allen’s fastest-growing segments, helping the nation’s top agencies modernize their technology. One particular highlight was leading the Affordable Care Act work for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services—and receiving a thank-you phone call from President Barack Obama.
One secret to my success? I have high standards for myself and my team. The best advice I ever got was that in business, there’s no such thing as a draft. Everything you do is a reflection of who you are.
Gary Labovich leads Booz Allen’s efforts to modernize management systems to support the complexity of the business. He directs a team of financial analysts, change management experts, and system technologists in identifying business requirements, evaluating technology alternatives, and creating change management forums to introduce a refreshed management solution.
Prior to this role, Gary led our Digital Solutions capability, which is responsible for supporting the capture, execution, and delivery of Booz Allen’s $1B+ software development business. In this role, Gary led a team of technology experts delivering modern, world-class digital capabilities.
Gary also served as a leader for financial services organizations in the Civil market. In that capacity, he led the delivery of capabilities and service offerings to federal and private sector clients such as the U.S. Department of Treasury, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Reserve, and private banking institutions.
Previously, Gary led Booz Allen’s technology capability, an 8,000+ person organization providing technology consulting and systems solutions to clients across the federal government and in commercial markets—specifically financial services, health and energy. Employees delivered capabilities and service offerings via the deployment of three centers of excellence representing systems development, cyber technologies, and strategy technology and innovation.
At an institutional level, Gary serves as a member of Booz Allen’s Leadership Team, with responsibility for formulating and executing the strategic agenda for our business. He serves on key committees, including those responsible for identifying and managing operational risks and overseeing the review process for non-traditional investments. He is also trustee for the employee retirement and disability/death benefits program. Previously, Gary served as a member of the ethics committee and the Booz Allen Excellence Awards (BEA) committee, which recognizes projects that generate the highest impact and most meaningful results for clients.
Prior to joining Booz Allen in 2004, Gary spent 18 years at American Management Systems in key roles as both an entrepreneur and a senior executive specializing in systems development and strategic consulting for federal, state, local, and commercial organizations.
In addition to his work at Booz Allen, Gary serves on the Board of Trustees for Clark University and he is a former member and chair of the Board of Trustees for the Greater DC-Maryland chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Gary holds an M.S. in public management and policy from Carnegie Mellon University and a B.A. with high honors in economics from Clark University. Upon completing his graduate studies, he was awarded a Presidential Management Internship in Washington, D.C.
What excites you most about your job? My aspiration is to help Booz Allen have the most modern and efficient management systems to support a growing, $6B+ operation. As an organization we were awarded a CMMI Level 5 certification, making us one of only a handful of firms in the world to earn it for technology work. It’s a huge achievement. I would like our internal systems to reflect that level of sophistication and expertise in supporting our staff who are serving our clients.
What are the most pressing needs in your industry? Talent. Finding people who have the right skill set and mindset, and are committed to the mission of our clients; people who can think analytically and be quick on their feet and have a passion for doing great work. That’s the limiting factor for us right now.
What’s the best business advice you ever received? When I first got out of graduate school, I was working with someone who asked me to put together a draft deliverable. When I got it back, it had red ink all over it. I couldn’t believe it. I went to speak with this person and asked why the deliverable had so many comments. I told this person that it was just a draft; I was just getting ideas down. This person looked up at me and said, “In the professional world, there’s no such thing as a draft. Everything you do, say, or write is a reflection of who you are. You should take care in everything you communicate, because it sends a signal.” To this day, I spell check all of my emails, I make sure that whatever I say, I say it well. Everything I do, I make sure it’s first-rate. You should have a high bar for yourself. That advice has made me a better consultant and professional.
What did you want to be when you grew up? A professional baseball player but I fell considerably short of that goal.
What’s an obsolete item you can’t get rid of? I have a Sharp Elsi Mate calculator. I got it back in high school—I think it was one of the first ones ever made. I still use it every day. It’s been through all of the journeys with me: college, graduate school, all of my jobs. It’s been through every exam I ever had and every project I’ve ever worked on. It has cracks in it and I literally have tape holding the battery in, but it’s never failed me. People laugh when they see it, but it is like “Old “Faithful” to me and it reminds me of where I’ve been and how I got to where I am today.
Most prized possession? My dad left me some coins he had collected during his lifetime and they are very eclecticThey’re special for a lot of reasons.
Influential book? For Whom the Bell Tolls. I’m a big Ernest Hemingway fan.
What’s your best character trait? Being straightforward so that people always know where I stand
How are you helping your clients prepare for the future? We’re helping them evolve their technology capabilities. For example, we’re promoting the notion of Agile development. It used to be that you would go out and interview lots of people, create a set of specifications, then have programmers write up software. The new model is much more flexible and rapid. It’s less standardized. We’re helping clients understand this new model and showing through the economics how it cuts back on time and cost.
Why is Booz Allen the ideal firm for someone with your skills and expertise? We have a 100-year management consulting heritage. On these large-scale technology projects, people don’t realize it’s about everything surrounding the technology. It’s easy to write code and somewhat easy to put systems into place. What’s hard with these kind of jobs is getting the users ready to adapt and adopt new technology. Having a management consulting heritage and sensitivity to those issues gives us a competitive advantage. It’s the best of all worlds for the kind of work that we do.