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Member Spotlight: Parrish Henderson

Who are the FBI Association of Intelligence Analysts? Our Member Spotlight series helps you to get to know the FBI AIA a little better; Geospatial Intelligence Analyst extraordinaire Parrish H. sat down with us for our February edition:

Parrish, how long were you in the FBI, and what did you do?

I was in the FBI for 11 years, and I was blessed to be primarily involved as a geospatial IA from Quantico to my last day. I was originally recruited from another agency to the FBI due to my Geospatial and Intelligence background. I started in Miami, where I spent 5 years maturing a nascent geospatial program, using my old agency ties to drive the program further. I next moved to the Directorate of Intelligence (DI) at HQ to help develop the national program. I was lucky to work with some amazingly talented individuals and did stints with the Critical Incident Response Group (CIRG) and the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC). Perhaps one of the most fulfilling ventures while in the bureau was working with some highly talented Regional Geospatial IAs (RGIAs) and Staff Operations Specialists (SOSs) to develop and deliver a curriculum and courses of instruction to develop the geospatial skills of SOSs, IAs, and Special Agents (SAs).

That’s great you were able to stick with geospatial- where are you now, and what are you up to?

I’m currently at ESRI where I’m the Lead Product Engineer for ArcGIS Mission, a mobile command and control tool that uses ESRI services on the backend to facilitate situational awareness capabilities to organizations worldwide. In my role, I lead a team who focuses on the development of several components that make up the product, and I’m heavily engaged with customers and potential customers, understanding their needs and formulating the direction of the product from those requirements. While the product is primarily targeted at the Defense, Intelligence, and Public Safety sectors, it can be applied to help nearly any organization accomplish their needs.

Very cool work and quite an impact. How would you say you are using your skills from the FBI?

The components and projects I was a part of, like CIRG and TSC, allowed me to expand the knowledge I had from my military career and time with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) to an even greater depth. This helps me to better direct product development to assure the products are relevant to enhancing operations both analytically and operationally. The second aspect where I use my skills is my leadership role. As a former leader in the FBI where I represented my team across the organization, I developed great experience getting the chance to speak to folks in any role - from line employees to senior executives - with respect and confidence. I now put these skills to use helping to advance my team’s work at ESRI.

It’s great hearing how you use your skills in the private sector. What do you enjoy most in your new role?

I enjoy the flexibility of how and where I work. Being able to work from home most days allows me to be more present at home and promotes a healthy work/life balance. I also really enjoy that we have certain days where we make an effort to all be in the office. It fosters trust among coworkers and affords opportunities for organic conversations. In the work itself, I enjoy making decisions that impact the product direction, knowing my past experiences can help drive a better solution. I also note the gravitas that my DOD and FBI combined career holds when customers and company management alike hear your background. Many of the primary customers tend to speak freer of their needs knowing that at one point, I was in their same shoes and am trying to develop the product that best fits their needs.

Thanks for your time and thoughts, let’s finish things up with a softball - what do you do in your free time?

I keep it simple- spending time with my wife and daughter tops my list. Being able to be present as my daughter grows up and working around the house on different projects are what I really enjoy. My other passions are gardening (my yearly datil pepper crops are my babies), fishing, photography, reading, and staying active.

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