Senior Information Systems Analyst
A2Z, Inc., Logistics Services
Field: Information Technology Management
A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Alan C. Reid relies upon the field training he gained in the military in his position as senior information systems analyst for A2Z, Inc., Logistics Services. The information systems logistics and support company’s motto is, “The only things that count are those ships and the people who man them.” Providing information systems services and support for government contracts, logistics, management and consulting, the company has stood behind this philosophy for more than a decade.
Mr. Reid’s 30 years in the military prepared him well for his present career. In 2002, for example, he was charged with the planning, coordination, and successful deployment of 3rd Marine Air Wing information systems and support to Iraq in execution of the global war on terrorism. In the scope of three months, he set up three disparate locations to support 27 aviation units and two support ships comprising 216 aircraft and more than 5,000 personnel working with local computer systems and satellite communications. For his dedication to serving his country, Mr. Reid was given several awards, including the Meritorious Service Award, two National Defense Service Medals, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. He was also commended with no fewer than seven Sea Service Deployment Ribbons and 10 Marine Corps Good Conduct Medals.
Upon his recent retirement from the U.S. Marine Corps as an E-9 master gunnery sergeant, Mr. Reid joined A2Z. In his current capacity, he handles training, backup services, troubleshooting and long-distance support, offers naval logistics information systems support for all vessels, and restores databases. Additionally, he teaches system administration classes to sailors. To enhance the knowledge he gained in the military, Mr. Reid earned a bachelor’s degree in information technology management in 2004 from National University, followed three years later with an MBA from the University of Phoenix. Most recently he earned certification from CompTIA, Inc., and certification in security leadership and global information assurance.
Mr. Reid volunteers for local blood drives and supports the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, and Habitat for Humanity International. When he finds a moment to himself, he enjoys photography, traveling, and physical fitness.
Conversation with Alan C. Reid
Worldwide Publishing: On what topic(s) do you consider yourself to be an expert?
Alan C. Reid: Logistics, aviation maintenance management, information systems management, project management and data analysis.
What characteristics help to separate you from your competitors?
I am energetic, hardworking, tenacious, and a good team player with an extensive knowledge of my field. I gained most of these attributes through my career in the Marines.
What motivates you?
Getting the job done right the first time around.
What lessons have you learned as a professional in your field for the past 35 years?
No matter how well you plan, something will go awry. You have to go to plan B, C, or D —whatever needs to be done to accomplish the task.
What short-term and long-term career goals are you currently pursuing?
Short term is to finish my many certifications, and long term is to earn my doctorate in information management.
How do you plan to achieve these goals?
With everything being online now, it makes it hard for me, with all of my work hours, to put in the needed amount of time for my education. I would perform better in a classroom environment.
What is the most difficult obstacle or challenge you have faced in pursuit of your goals?
Time, and being able to manage it accordingly.
What is the most significant issue facing your profession today?
Money — the costs of equipment and the classes necessary to maintain hardware and education [is great] and there are limited resources.
Did you ever consider pursuing a different career path or another profession?
I considered being a fighter jet pilot, but my eyesight prohibited that.
What do you find to be the most rewarding about your profession?
Being able to help other people accomplish their jobs.
What is your favorite or least favorite work-related task to do and why?
My least favorite is the daily checks, and the repetitive task of checks and balances. My favorite is when something new pops up that challenges me.
Who have been your mentors or people who have greatly influenced you?
Chief Warrant Officer III Thomas McCabe was my mentor when I was finishing my schooling in information systems.
What changes have you observed in your industry/field since you started?
Technology; it went from programmable calculators and typewriters to keyboards and computers that are as powerful as the original mainframe computers.
How do you see these changes affecting the future of your industry?
Manually, it made the job a lot easier. Mentally, it made it much harder because you have to think much more.
What advice can you offer fellow members or others aspiring to work in your industry?
Be consistent, concise, and diligent because the IT field changes daily. Information technology will change drastically within a short time. Additionally, technology will continue to change exponentially and you must be able to adapt and overcome your short falls to remain current.
Beginners within the IT field need to master the basics before they take on advanced level training and certification. Additionally, everyone makes mistakes — learn from them. Balance your short- and long-term goals to effectively enhance your skills. Furthermore, contribute and add value to the organization you are working for because all the schooling, certificates, and skills stand for nothing unless you provide business value.
Be positive, knowledgeable, and supportive in all of your endeavors. A broad set of experience works best and integrity/reliability are the hallmarks of a professional. Network with industry professionals throughout your career and avoid burning bridges. Consider challenges an opportunity to shine. My motto throughout my career has been, “There’s always an opportunity to make a difference.”