July 14, 2020
Software, firewalls and encryption are all essential parts of a secure network but Kadeon Reid ’02 G’03 says a company’s people and culture may be even more important to their overall cybersecurity strategy. It only takes one successful phishing attempt or insecure password to give attackers an opportunity.
“You can have a fortress but it is vulnerable if just one bad actor has a key,” said Reid.
Reid is a director of cybersecurity at the energy firm Baker Hughes working on the company’s identity and access management initiatives and responsible for authentication and authorization.
“Making sure access is managed and ensuring that we have technology and behavior in our culture,” said Reid.
His interest in cybersecurity began while he was an undergraduate computer science major. He says electrical engineering and computer science Professor Shiu-Kai Chin was a key mentor for him as a student and showed him the growing demand for cybersecurity skills.
“I saw that cybersecurity is a pretty exciting place,” said Reid.
He also credits ECS staff member Kate Pynn and former Assistant Dean Lori Hunter for helping him make the most of his Syracuse experience.
“Student support services had a significant impact. Right at the beginning, it gave me the support to be academically successful,” said Reid. “From Academic Excellence Workshops (AEW) to everything else the office offered, it helped me greatly.”
As he excelled in the classroom, Reid took on leadership roles on campus. He mentored fellow Engineering and Computer Science students as an AEW facilitator and served as president of the Syracuse chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE).
“Becoming involved as a leader on campus, it was one of the most propelling aspects for me,” said Reid. “All those communication skills make an impact.”
Reid also completed a Master’s degree in Engineering Management knowing it could put him in a better position to make the career moves he was interested in.
“Taking classes in the Whitman School of Management along with engineering classes was a great combination,” said Reid. “To have the kind of attitude to succeed and being OK with change and not having things laid out is a significant indicator of whether you can be put into a new environment and succeed.”
After graduation, he joined GE’s Information Management Leadership Program. It took him to Atlanta, Wisconsin, Italy and Germany over the course of the 2 year rotational program.
“They challenge new hires by putting them in short term assignments so that after two years you have exposure to different parts of the business” said Reid. “Being effective in these different cultures was a challenge but really set the tone for what comes next.”
He went on to a commercial operations role, and traveled around the world while deploying manufacturing systems.
“Over the course of two years we deployed our systems to 30 facilities,” said Reid.
Reid continued taking on additional responsibilities and leadership roles at GE while also balancing his career and family.
“It turns out life beyond graduation is more than a getting job and a car,” said Reid with a laugh. “I learned to adapt, reinvent and fit priorities as they were changing for me.”
In 2014, Reid moved from GE Power to the company’s oil and gas division and eventually moved to the Los Angeles metro area. In 2019, Baker Hughes and GE separated and Reid stayed with Baker Hughes. Reid says he respects Baker Hughes’ commitment to be a net zero carbon producing company.
“We focus on what is important for our customers and the environment,” said Reid.
He believes the collaborative environment at Syracuse University gave him not only the skills to succeed but also the connections.
“The way Syracuse puts a focus on interacting with others and succeeding in a team environment is essential,” said Reid. “In the modern world, we do not work in silos, I’ve always been part of a team.”
“It is so important to create a group of people who can contribute to you and you can contribute to them,” said Reid. “Take advantage of all the Syracuse alumni out there, it may not turn into a job offer but will help you develop your network. Students will always find alums who are willing to invest their time.”