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Meet Lt. Col. Baker Beard

Erin Eckles

Lt. Col. Baker Beard, Harris Geospatial Solution’s new DoD Major Account Manager, is not your typical sales person. “I’ve still got the customer mindset. I know what they are looking for and I see things through that lens.” After 26 years in the Air Force, Beard formally retired last week, and the lens he mentions includes five combat deployments conducting Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), working with high-altitude surveillance aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles that run the gamut from Predators, Reapers, and Gray Eagles to Hunters and Shadows.  In addition, he has extensive experience in weapon system program management, tactical communications networks, and systems integration of Full Motion Video (FMV) and imagery in an enterprise architecture.

“You know what they say, ‘You know what you know, and don’t know what you don’t know.”  For me,  I’m learning the business and sales side of ISR products and services, but what I do know is the customer—the warfighter.”  Beard explains that he worked with Harris Geospatial’s web-based geospatial data management software, Jagwire, when he was a Mission Operations Commander. “I worked at four of the five Air Force Distributed Common Ground System (AF DCGS) stations in different positions, including Director of Operations and Squadron Commander.” AF DCGS is the Air Force’s primary ISR weapon system that employs a global communications architecture connecting multiple intelligence platforms and sensors.  “That’s where I became familiar with Jagwire. Of course, I knew it as IAS, but later learned that IAS is the Air Force version of Jagwire.”

“When I was preparing to retire, I didn’t think I’d be able to stay in the intelligence community and remain in Huntsville, Alabama.  Because this is a space and missile research and development center, I had almost resigned to pursuing program management in missile defense, but then I got a call from a recruiter.”  Beard explains that on a Monday night he got a call from a recruiter who found him on LinkedIn and just eight days later Beard found his new home at Harris Geospatial Solutions doing exactly what he wanted. “Jagwire is the industry standard, and it’s fantastic in the way it bridges near real-time FMV.  In a deployed environment, bandwidth limitation is a huge issue and if you’re tracking a target, there is no tolerance for a break in coverage,” explains Beard. “If you lose eyes on the target, you lose positive identification of the target and cannot engage in a kinetic strike. Jagwire meters the FMV to provide continuous video streaming in a bandwidth constrained environment.  Although resolution might be diminished, it never buffers out or pauses which is critical to combat operations.”

But Beard isn’t satisfied with the status quo. “I’m asking a lot of hard questions of my new employer, because I know what the customer doesn’t just want – but actually needs.  And in the business I’ve been in, the stakes couldn’t be higher.” Hard questions evoke insight and illicit innovative answers.  So, Beard has found that he is in the right place at Harris Geospatial Solutions.

“I’ve been talking with customers such as the Air National Guard. While they support combat missions overseas, they also have domestic missions where Jagwire has a proven record of success,” says Beard. “When you have limited assets to respond to domestic events like fires, floods, and hurricanes, Jagwire is a critical asset to on-scene commanders to be able provide real-time FMV to gain situational awareness and enable the rapid employment of limited resources where they are needed most—saving property and lives,” explains Beard.

With over two decades of operational ISR experience, Beard feels privileged to continue his service to the nation, this time with a Harris logo on his shirt, by applying cutting edge technology to solve battlefield challenges with the full spectrum of Harris Geospatial products and services.  Backed by a team of the nation’s top software engineers in their field, Jagwire is positioned to maintain its dominant role in geospatial data management and ready to meet current and emerging military and domestic operational requirements. Learn how Jagwire discovers, transforms, and delivers geospatial data to the people that need it most.