ARLINGTON, Virginia – It was the early 1980s. The Vietnam War was well over, the uncertainly in Lebanon had been temporarily quelled, and the U.S. had invaded Grenada. A young, wide-eyed and optimistic Brian Callahan was about to enlist in the Army. He would then complete infantry and airborne training, and would soon be knees deep in mud and muck at the elite U.S. Army Airborne Ranger School.
Merely a few years after the U.S. quickly defeated the Cuban military and restored a constitutional government to Grenada, Callahan soared to the top in all his training and pinned on his exclusive Ranger Tab. This meant he was ready for his assignment to 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. Soon thereafter, he deployed to Jordan.
Time marched on quickly for Callahan and he soon found himself invading Panama, where the Rangers, U.S. Marines and other forces deposed Manuel Noriega.
“As a Ranger, I was trained for special, short-notice missions and operations,” said Callahan. “Stealth and surprise were paramount to resolving life-threatening situations in airborne or special operations settings, where sometimes lethal force is required.”
Callahan promoted to Sergeant, then separated from Active Duty in May 1988. He then served another three years in the Army Reserves in the 12th Special Forces Group. He also deployed to support Cold War operations by NATO during Exercise and Campaign Reforger. This annual exercise was important to ensure NATO had the ability to quickly deploy forces to West Germany in the event of a conflict with the Warsaw Pact.
Now, from a Sergeant in the Army to the President and Chief Executive Officer of multi-million dollar company Segue Technologies, Callahan reflects on how military service helped make him the leader he is today.
“The Ranger motto, ‘Sua Sponte,’ continues to guide my leadership philosophy at Segue,” said Callahan. “it’s about nurturing a corporate environment where technical experts and program managers are encouraged to take initiative, and are empowered to push themselves and Segue for continual improvement for its operations and its customers.”
September 16, 2019, Callahan celebrated 22 years at Segue. In 2002 he began serving as President and CEO. Callahan reels back to memories of his time as a Ranger, and anecdotally attributes much of his success to those young experiences.
“I provide strategic direction and vision in overseeing operations, to include all aspects of corporate budgeting and financials, internal controls, compliance and policy development,” he said. “I provide leadership with respect to company growth, strategy, team building, employee development, innovation, technology mastery, and development of effective relationships. In many ways, my time as a Ranger prepared me for success as I learned the benefits of planning and preparation and gained the self-confidence to lead and take risks.”
People never forget their first project at a company like Segue. For Callahan, that project was designing and developing a budget and financial system that enabled a Segue customer to plan, execute and analyze a $5 billion portfolio of programs.
“Their legacy system was an ancient mainframe program that was extremely difficult and enormously time-consuming to use,” recalls Callahan. “Working with an incredible group of talented software engineers, we were able to deliver a new system that greatly improved data accuracy and insight while realizing tremendous time savings. The customer and users were thrilled!”
For Callahan, there’s no cliché loneliness at the top, because top to bottom, and laterally along the way down, Callahan believes in an entire team concept. At the most strategic level, he still works in tight unity with executive partners.
“Working closely with Mike Behrmann and Ron Novak, I develop strategies to advance Segue’s mission to solve our customer’s challenges by consistently delivering high-quality, innovative products and services,” said Callahan. “My passion lies in working with customers to design process improvements and apply appropriate technologies that transform their operations and solve their most challenging problems. Over the past 22 years, I have successfully managed a wide range of DoD enterprise-level software development and data analytics implementation efforts, delivering measurable and meaningful performance improvements and costs savings.”