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Executive Spotlight: Charles Brookman, VP of Information Technology at Parsons

Charles Brookman

VP of IT


Executive Spotlight: Charles Brookman, VP of Information Technology at Parsons

Charles Brookman, vice president of Parsons Corporation’s information technology business, recently spoke with the Potomac Officers Club about his career highlights, his service background and the executives who have helped to shape his professional leadership style. Brookman, who previously worked for Lockheed Martin and Leidos, has nearly two decades of experience leading IT programs in the government contracting space.

What can you tell us about your background and how you’ve been able to adapt to the ever-changing challenges of the federal landscape over the course of your career?

“I have a degree in information systems with a focus on network infrastructure and program management. I started my professional IT career with Lockheed Martin, a renowned federal program contracting agency operating within the IT space. The opportunity gave me a good insight into federal contract support, delivering solutions to numerous Department of Defense and other federal agency contracts. During my tenure with Lockheed Martin, I had the chance to work directly with multiple DOD agencies, especially the Army, which allowed me to understand their challenges and pain points, enabling my teams to align our support to the mission of the warfighter effectively.

An ongoing challenge we faced was to ensure we had a promising pipeline of a skilled workforce with the required clearances on staff and incentivize them to address staffing demand cycles. We also maintained transparency with our Army customers on funding and industry staffing challenges, finding candidates with specific skillsets and clearances from a limited pool.

There was also the challenge of keeping up with cyber risks and addressing challenges presented by our adversaries. Erring on the side of caution, federal agencies have adopted stringent risk mitigation plans and implemented numerous security compliance checks — to list a few, NIST and CMMC. Navigating the process and ensuring a comprehensive understanding and implementation of the compliance checks is not straightforward.”

When did you decide to pursue a career in the federal landscape and what were the key tasks that you wanted to complete? Any bigger goals you still want to accomplish?

“My career with Lockheed Martin started in 1997, and at the time, supporting federal agencies was the option I had, based on the business unit I was hired to. I was able to work close to the frontline on the federal contracts I supported, with opportunities to be deployed with troops to Afghanistan. My experience in Afghanistan gave me an enriched understanding and appreciation of the sacrifices our soldiers were willing to make to keep us safe back home. I also had first-hand knowledge of our customers’ pain points to help prioritize their needs. I managed essential tasks, including ensuring ‘have-to-have’ capabilities and requests were readily available to our customers, and the team proactively supported them. A goal I want to accomplish is to continue automating processes to reduce lead times for service delivery and create more repeatable and scalable processes.”

What do you believe are your core strengths as a leader and what lessons taught you the most about driving success?

“Core strengths of leaders include maintaining high ethical standards, leading by example, imparting knowledge to others and being an advocate for helping employees attain their career goals and aspirations. Authentic leadership also embraces the diversity of thought and encourages employees to be more precise at work. These are standards I strive to adhere to and lead by. Driving success has always been important to me, and I constantly challenge the status quo and seek ways to do things more effectively.

Success, through my lens, should be the cornerstone of every leader, encouraging teams to think outside the box to ensure success in what is delivered. However, leaders should be mindful not to have employees perceive communication of success as a deterrent to individuals newly exposed to an idea or system to think there is no room for error and not try to engage.”

Who are the executives that have inspired you the most over the course of your career?

“I have been fortunate in my career to have exposure to executive leaders. One of the jobs I had during the early stages of my career was as an IT executive support lead. I maintained close contact with the executive team at Lockheed Martin from that opportunity. Supporting organizational leaders such as Linda Gooden, the executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Information Support and Global Services at the time; Mike Dignam, the chief finance officer; and Richard Johnson, the chief technical officer, solidified the foundation for the support I provide today. The exposure to these leaders and the networks I fostered became the springboard from which my career progressed. At the mid-level of my career, I was privileged to work with Douglas Ash, who recently retired from Deloitte. He took a vested interest in my career and introduced me to the Management Academy with IT Senior Management Forum (ITSMF) to provide more refinement to my leadership skills. Carey Smith, the current CEO of Parsons, has continually challenged me with opportunities both at Lockheed Martin and Parsons, and she helped extensively with my development as a leader. Stu Kippelman, CIO of Parsons, to whom I report directly, is very supportive and seeks opportunities to aid my career growth and advancement.”

If your career came to an end tomorrow, what would you say have been the most significant accomplishments of your career? Where do you feel you made the most impact?

“I have had a great career and enjoy what I do each day. A highlight of my career journey and something I take to heart is mentoring, opening doors for others and seeing them excel. I have always spent time imparting my knowledge to others, which has also helped me learn extensively from them. I have been an advocate for employees regarding career advancement and growth. On numerous occasions, I have encouraged employees to leverage company-approved and incentivized training programs to complete degree programs and attain certifications that position them for success.”

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Tags: Carey Smith Charles Brookman Douglas Ash executive spotlight govcon Linda Gooden Lockheed Martin Mike Dignam Parsons POC Richard Johnson Stu Kippelman