President of Emerging Markets Group, Akima
Barry Smallwood brings over 20 years of experience managing engineering and development programs in the law enforcement community, including leadership of the DEA’s Office of Information Systems, to his role as president of Akima’s Emerging Markets Group.
Smallwood’s focus is to develop technology solutions to address emerging threats and changes to customers’ mission needs, while fostering an internal culture of innovation. This includes leading investments in artificial intelligence, machine learning and cognitive automation-driven solutions.
Smallwood has a long history of using emerging technology to enable transformative outcomes for the organizations he has supported. The solutions he has introduced to customer environments have enabled measured improvements and new mission capabilities for defense, public safety and law enforcement programs.
The exploding interest in AI keeps Smallwood busy with both existing and new clients. He understands the appeal of AI investments and their potential for making better decisions with ever-growing data sets and mission complexities. However, he also emphasizes the need to balance the benefits of AI with a strong focus on safety and ethics in its implementation and use.
“At Akima, we see up close the powerful benefits of AI and its growing use cases for the federal enterprise,” Smallwood said. “However, harnessing the true power of these technologies requires proper checks and balances, both technical and procedural, as well as culture and training to avoid unintended consequences and potential mission failure.”
Smallwood expects the implementation of AI solutions to mature as both the technology and the practitioners evolve and unlock measurable value.
“We need to keep in mind that AI is both a powerful and maturing technology,” he said. “This means that aligning its use to the organization’s business strategy while maintaining change agility is critical as we move forward.”