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Hands-on experience: tech exec rolls up his sleeves to tackle homeland security.

From his office window, Darryl B. Moody has a clear view of the Pentagon. The vista serves as a constant reminder of 9-11, when events changed not only his country but also his career. On his desk is another reminder of the events that took place that day. "I have a picture of Ground Zero. with the firefighters and the damage, right on my desk in plain view all the time," says Moody, 46, senior vice president of homeland security and intelligence for BearingPoint (formerly KPMG Consulting), a global business systems integration firm in McLean, Virginia. "Company employees were working in both the Pentagon and the Twin Towers at the time, so it was very personal for us."

It didn't take long for him to spring into action after 9-11. He knew that his military and high-tech background could be put to good use. "I really wanted to do something about it," says Moody, who formerly worked as a programmer for a firm that built data communications systems and as a project manager for the U.S. Air Force.

One of Moody's recent projects was the creation of BearingPoint's Homeland Security Program Management Office, which serves as a conduit between the Department of Homeland Security and small companies offering technology solutions. The department determines whether the technologies of the small companies can aid in protecting the country. "It's a way of bridging the gap between government and private industry," says Moody, whose leadership in the field of homeland security resulted in his being named one of Cousulting Magazine's top 25 consultants of 2004.

Moody joined BearingPoint in 1985 and worked on several projects to provide systems modernization and analysis for the Department of Defense. Working his way through several successful projects and positions, he now heads a 650-person business unit that also services the Department of Justice and the intelligence community. Moody's team supports many of the Department of Homeland Security's vital initiatives, including various border and transportation security projects like customs modernization and the US-VISIT project, as well as the Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Coast Guard, the Secret Service, and the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. Their responsibilities include critical infrastructure protection projects, terrorist watch list consolidation, and DHS back-office management systems.

As he navigates among the big agencies, Moody most enjoys getting out, meeting clients, and handling business development. "I like to roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty doing technical work on the products that my team is delivering," he says. But even with good people skills on his side, Moody says his high-tech career can get challenging at times--particularly when he has to keep up with rapidly evolving products and trends. "As you move up in an organization, you find yourself with less and less time to get things done. Finding the time to gain access to the right information and technologies to keep myself up to speed technically can he difficult," he says. To overcome the challenge, Moody says he's never afraid to admit that he doesn't know something and is quick to consult the Internet for information when he needs it. He knows it's all worth it when he glances at the picture on his desk and gazes out the window where, three years ago, he saw smoke rising from the burning Pentagon.

"The great thing about being in [the technology] sector is knowing that we can really make an impact," says Moody. "I believe that the security of the country has improved because of the tools and processes that our team has put in place."
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Title Annotation:Black Digerati
Author:McCrea, Bridget
Publication:Black Enterprise
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2004
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