Alumni Profile: Harry Abell
During a long and successful career as a security expert and project manager, Harry Abell had many opportunities to observe the kinds of qualities that make for career success.
A graduate of the Capitol Radio Engineering Institute (CREI), as Capitol College was once known, Abell went on to work for major corporations such as IBM and Abaci Consulting, with a special focus on infrastructure and utilities. He retired in October 2013 after working for fifty years, and now lives on Lookout Mountain in northwest Georgia.
According to Abell, the best team members aren’t necessarily the smartest. Dedication and work ethic count more.
“At the consulting companies where I worked, we had a lot of young people joining us,” Abell said. “One thing that I always looked for [in making personnel decisions] was whether a person had a great attitude, really wanted to work hard, and was willing to do whatever it took.”
“They didn’t get their nose out of joint if you gave them a job that they thought was beneath them, or too entry level,” Abell said. “They did well no matter what it was. Those kinds of people rapidly progressed and they were the ones whom everyone wanted on their team.”
Determination and hard work were vital to moving Abell’s career forward, as well. As a young husband and father during the late 1960s, he sought ways to advance his educational goals while providing for his family.
“I wanted to learn as much as I could, as rapidly as I could, and I was working at the time, with a young family, so it was a good option to be able to study at home, and fit it into my work schedule,” he said.
CREI’s correspondence courses – a precursor to today’s online learning – proved to be a good fit, providing the convenience, flexibility and technical training that Abell sought.
The institution was designed to “help people gain a great deal of in-depth technical knowledge and perhaps not be a traditional college graduate,” he explained. Abell went on to supplement his CREI degree with a BA in management from University of South Florida and an MBA in database processing from the Florida Institute of Technology.
In addition, he holds Certified Informational Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) and Project Management Professional (PMP) certifications.
According to Abel, the training he received at CREI not only provided him expertise in specific fields, but also fostered higher-order skills that could be used in a variety of arenas.
“Logical thinking skills and conceptual thinking skills were the greatest asset,” Abell said. “When you learn a lot of technical material, which is certainly what happens at Capitol College, you have to be organized and learn how to put all the various pieces together to see the whole picture.”
When working with utilities and other organizations, he often found himself urging their managers to think outside of the box
“I’d tell them that maybe they didn’t have to do things a certain way just because that’s how it was done in the past. There might be a better and different way,” Abell said.
“Thats a very rewarding experience: helping others help themselves,” he said.