National Military Appreciation Month: Booz Allen Celebrates National Guard and Reserve Employees

May 22, 2020 8:00 AM ET

Members of the National Guard and Reserve train with the military part-time while holding civilian jobs or attending school—and play important roles in America’s military community. 

National Guard soldiers are deployed domestically during conflicts and natural disasters and internationally alongside full-time service members when necessary. Reservists are called to active duty in times of war or national emergency.

For this year’s National Military Appreciation Month, Booz Allen celebrates its National Guard and reservist employees and families—their career paths, contributions, unique civilian/military roles, and personal journeys. Meet three of them here as we celebrate this important tribute month.

Complementary—and converging—leadership roles

John Pisano spearheads innovation in both his civilian and military lives. He’s a principal with Booz Allen’s Strategic Innovation Group in Beavercreek, Ohio, leading complex cloud modernization efforts across defense, civil, and commercial organizations. With the Army Reserve, he is the Command Sergeant Major for a 3,500-soldier brigade that provides a wide spectrum of engineer capabilities, from vertical and horizontal construction, to bridging to mobility augmentation.

Sometimes these facets of his identity intersect in interesting ways. When Pisano recently assumed responsibility for the brigade, the virtual ceremony was conducted over the Defense Collaboration System (DCS) supported by Booz Allen. 

“The fun connection to Booz Allen is not only am I an employee of the firm, but DCS is a system that our Joint Command Center colleagues support and maintain,” Pisano said.

 “I find it satisfying to create innovative solutions in my Booz Allen role that me and my Soldiers may use in our military roles,” Pisano went on to say. “I am proud of my combined careers with Booz Allen and the Army Reserve – I’m collectively contributing to something bigger than myself through both of these worlds.”

A career reservist shifts to cybersecurity

As a reservist in the Marines, then the Air Force, Associate Ashlee Harper-Johnson explored many paths: military intelligence, infosec, analysis, and more. But after over a decade of work, she hit an impasse. 

“I was beginning to feel as if I had saturated all my skills and was afraid there would be nothing new to learn in my long-term goals,” she said.

Then a Booz Allen recruiter found her resume on an online job board and posed a question: Did Harper-Johnson want to add cyber to her professional credentials? 

“The thought of adding a whole new skill while not having to start my career completely over intrigued me,” she said. And Booz Allen delivered mentorship, support, and education. Less than six months after joining the firm, she received three industry certifications through Booz Allen’s Tech Excellence program and had several mentoring conversations about where she wanted to take her new skills. 

“I’ve been with the firm now for a little over a year and a half and I officially feel like I have a career that has endless growth and opportunity,” Harper-Johnson said.

Delivering leadership in an area of need 

The Navy is in Mike Barea’s blood. His father, who has worked at Booz Allen since 2011, is a retired Navy captain, and Barea himself is a Navy Reserve Environmental Health officer who has led Navy initiatives in preventative medicine and activities to protect sailors’ health. 

Under normal circumstances, Barea supports Navy fleet readiness from Booz Allen’s Norfolk, Virginia office. When COVID-19 hit, he left his job and family to deploy to New York, where he serves as the Lead Safety Officer and Preventative Medicine Department Head for Expeditionary Medical Facility Bethesda. Here his leadership experience and environmental health expertise are playing a vital role in the Navy Reserve’s COVID-19 response. 

"As a reservist you always have to be ready to answer America’s call, and I am honored that I was able to use my unique skill set to be a part of something so important and help our Nation in its time of need,” said Barea. “Although always tough to leave my loved ones behind, it was very reassuring to know that I also had the support of my Booz Allen family back home." 

Learn more about the military community at Booz Allen