Nexight Group is pleased to welcome Jim Carey to the team as our Senior Technical Consultant. Jim recently was a Vice President at Energetics Incorporated, where he worked for 25 years. We asked Jim a few questions about himself, his background, and his new role at Nexight.
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Being in that somewhat indeterminate age between childhood and senescence, I have recently shifted my work schedule from full-time to part-time. I am fortunate to live on a farm, which offers great personal benefits and also ensures that I will never have too much time on my hands. By joining Nexight as a part-time employee, I’m able to gain the elusive work-life balance.
While my background is in biology and environmental science, I take pride in being a good systems analyst of that often denigrated ilk: the dreaded generalist. Since everything is a system (ecosystems, family systems, computer systems, business systems, school systems, and more), I consider this to be a handy trait to possess. In an era where multi-disciplinary challenges abound, being a good generalist may be coming into its own. In today’s ever-more complex world, being able to see the forest really does matter.
Q: Why did you decide to join Nexight Group?
I have always enjoyed—and preferred—working with smaller firms. I was fortunate to work with another (once small) company for many years, and Nexight has a similar feel—collegial and capable. It is an environment where I can say I trust and respect those around me, and it’s a bonus that they are friends as well. What more could one ask?
Q: You’ve had a long career in supporting R&D programs. Give us a few insights.
What is so striking about R&D today is the rapidity of advancement in so many diverse fields. This points to several considerations, none are new, just more important than ever. First, effective technology surveillance is fundamental. Without it, you may simply be developing last year’s widget, blissfully unaware that you have been out-flanked or out-classed. Second, as always, a keen market understanding is crucial. While some technologies may in fact drive markets, most do not. A perfect answer for an evaporating market is pure agony. Third, adopting or adapting advances from outside core research areas might just save your bacon. Advances in materials and sensors are two excellent examples. Sometimes answers are out there just waiting to be found.
Q: You’ve been working with critical infrastructure protection since 2004. What is the biggest challenge facing critical infrastructure today?
There has been a fundamental shift from protection to resilience over the past several years, which reflects the simple fact: even if we had unlimited resources we can’t protect infrastructure from all threats, particularly those from Mother Nature. While some organizations are extremely well-positioned to handle whatever is thrown at them, the challenge is to get everyone focused on the need to be resilient—individuals, communities, regions, governments, and companies both large and small. When a major disaster happens, if it’s in our neighborhood, we all are in the same boat.
A related concern is the ability of organizations to recognize and prepare for cyber threats. Not surprisingly, we seem to be more attuned to physical threats rather than the behind-the-scenes cyber threats that we cannot readily visualize. In infrastructure, however, cyber literally controls much of the physical world. We can’t afford to solve only half the problem.
Q: What are you most looking forward to about your new position?
Over the years, I have worked with most of the Nexight staff, and I look forward to continued engagement on interesting topics with interesting folks. Hopefully, I can help our younger staff build capabilities by imparting the quasi-wisdom-of-the-ages gained through experience: successes, failures, and lessons learned. I may not have the answer, but can certainly help avoid some of the pitfalls. From a purely personal perspective, I admit to looking forward to a beautiful morning and thinking: “Hmmm, this does not appear to be a commuting day!”