Article from Wentworth Institute of Technology Summer 2017 issue
By Caleb Cochran
In his 2013 commencement speech at Wentworth, Lloyd Carney, EET ’84, Hon. ’13, put an updated spin on an idea introduced by Lewis Carroll in Alice in Wonderland.”If you don’t have a plan,” Carney said, “any path will take you there. A plan gives you clarity of choice. “ For the leader of a multibillion-dollar Silicon Valley company, this goal-focused philosophy makes sense. But for Carney, CEO of Brocade Communications, his thoughtful approach to management-and life-goes all the way back to his childhood in Kingston, Jamaica.
Measure Twice, Cut Once
“My grandfather had a bakery, a nightclub, and a movie theater. He was a farmer, and he had a trucking business,” Carney remembers. “And without saying it formally, he always had a plan.”
Carney moved to Boston to attend Wentworth, where he found a mentor in Fred Driscoll, now dean of the College of Engineering and Technology.
“Dr. Driscoll loves to teach,” Carney says.”I saw him recently and he
was talking about the innovation program at Wentworth, and his eyes
lit up like a little kid. He enjoys being in that environment, and he enjoys
engaging with students. You can’t help but learn from someone like that.”
While at Wentworth, Carney got a co-op writing software for RCA Government Systems in Burlington, Mass., without so much as an interview. The employer simply asked Wentworth to send the four students with the best grade-point averages in the class, Carney says.
Carney’s penchant for planning continued at RCA, where the company was in the midst of a multiyear project plan. He collaborated with scientists who were strong in physics and the traditional sciences, but ~ lacking in computer expertise.
“They didn’t know how to write software,” Carney says.”I worked with someone who was a great radar guy, great analog guy, great physicist, and tried to take what he was doing and put it into software.”
At RCA, Carney met another mentor who would have a great impact on his life, an engineer named Ed Kramer.”Ed taught me to be a good engineer,” Carney recalls.”Measure twice, cut once. There was a lot of attention to detail-a lot of attention to doing it right the first time, because there usually wasn’t a second time.”
Carney’s 30-plus year career in the high-tech industry included positions at Juniper Networks, Micromuse, Inc., and Xsigo Systems before he took the helm at Brocade-which specializes in providing network solutions for large corporations-in January 2013.
While he now leads a workforce of 6,000 employees around the globe, Carney holds true to the tenets of teamwork and collaboration that have served him well ever since his days at Wentworth.
“I listen more than I speak,” he says.”You learn so much more by listening to others than by listening to your own voice.”
Making a Difference
The next chapter in Carney’s plan for Brocade was unveiled last November, when Broadcom, a leading designer, developer, and global supplier of semiconductor connectivity solutions, acquired Brocade for $5.9 billion. Broadcom subsequently sold the IP networking portion of the business to Arris International.
“I just sold the company, the transaction just closed, and this summer it will be four and a half years since I started at Brocade,” Carney said in March. “I’m starting to formulate that new plan, and by the end of this year I’ll be able to engage in whatever that new thing is.”
Whatever Carney’s next professional plan might be, it’s clear that the 55-year-old has clarity of vision when it comes to the bigger picture.
“I’m happy now, and I hope to be happy five years from now,” Carney says, when asked about his plan for the next five years.
“As you get older and you start to reflect on your life, that’s a very important goal to have. You realize happiness counts for a lot. For me, working with great people and a great team-like I am here-drives my happiness and my fulfillment. Five years out, when I wake up in the morning, I want to be on a team with people I want to be around, and they want to be around me, and we’re making a difference.”