This father of two is a U.S. Air Force veteran, cyber warfare expert, leadership instructor, and Student Affairs I.T. project manager. 

With nearly 600 employees, the Division of Student Affairs has a high demand for I.T. services, with hundreds of annual project requests ranging from online applications for student organizations, to website migrations, to hardware and software troubleshooting. Orchestrating those projects is Carl Ivey, I.T. project manager for the Student Affairs Department of Information Technology. A New Jersey native and 24-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Ivey has found a home at Texas A&M University.

“I was born in New Jersey, but at some point my parents moved to Houston. I lived there till I was four and then after my parents’ divorce I moved back to New Jersey with my Dad.”

At age 18, he started his Air Force career operating aircraft refueling equipment and offloading fuel tanker trucks and barges. He also managed store inventories and worked with cryogenics. During an assignment in England, he worked as a training manager and quality adviser, and also gained skills as a fuel accountant. Later, during assignments in Guam and in California, he managed a fuels laboratory, supervised fuels distribution, and worked as a manager of resources, training and finances.

During his career, Ivey experienced four deployments, including Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Storm; Turkey for Operation Provide Comfort; Africa for tactical joint training with NATO; and Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom.

“In 1989, an associate’s degree was an important thing. It was actually a life goal for airmen enlisted in the Air Force to get an associate’s degree. I immediately started taking classes, and 12 years later earned a bachelor’s degree.”

Learning While Serving

Ivey began working on a college degree in 1991 while stationed in England. With his Air Force responsibilities—particularly four deployments—it took 12 years to complete a bachelor of science degree in technology, networks and telecommunication. He was the first member of his family to earn a college degree. After completing his degree, he was accepted to Officer Training School and in 2003 became a cyber warfare officer.

He supervised a network control center in Colorado and upon his return from Afghanistan was chief of operations for the Network Operations Security Center-West for the Air Force Space Command. It was in 2007, while stationed in Colorado, he began thinking about a more permanent home for his family.

“I was working in network security, which is a pretty high stress job, and the Air Force wanted me to go to Iraq for another deployment,” he said. “I had just divorced and knew I would need to spend time with my two sons, so I started looking for a different kind of job in the Air Force.”

Carl Ivey, I.T. project manager for the Division of Student Affairs, served in the U.S. Air Force for 24 years.

Aggieland Grabs Hold

It just so happened that Texas A&M was looking for an ROTC instructor, and the position was being vacated by none other than Ivey’s brother-in-law, who was leaving for an assignment in Hawaii. Ivey ended up getting the job, and spent four years teaching ROTC at Texas A&M before he was reassigned to Washington, D.C., as a cyber-warfare officer with the Defense Intelligence Agency.

A basketball injury caused the Air Force to put a medical hold on his assignment to D.C., but after three surgeries and months of physical therapy, the medical hold was released, and Ivey was supposed to leave for Washington, D.C., in 10 days. “I was excited about the assignment to D.C., but my son was a senior in high school who was about to start at Texas A&M, and my younger son was about to start high school,” he said. “As a single parent, they were my primary motivators for staying in College Station.”

He requested special consideration from the Air Force to stay in College Station but ultimately was told that he had no choice. He could either accept the assignment or retire. “So I didn’t keep my job,” he said. “I elected to retire from the Air Force instead of continuing my former career so that my sons could stay in College Station and attend Texas A&M.”

“There I was on a Friday at 4 p.m. trying to call in every favor so I could stay in College Station. I did not want to uproot my family so soon.”

The Washington, D.C., assignment would have been a big promotion for Ivey, but in 2012 he made the decision to retire as a captain after 24 years in the Air Force and to become permanent residents of Aggieland. He continued to work for the Corps of Cadets teaching leadership classes, and three years later took the job with the Division of Student Affairs as an I.T. project manager.

Despite the career change, he still teaches two leadership workshops, both of which are required courses for juniors in the Corps of Cadets who are pursuing a leadership certificate through the Hollingsworth Center for Ethical Leadership. He also collaborates with 17 student employees in his department. “I strive to be that person who can provide real-life learning experiences for our students.”

Both of Ivey’s sons live in College Station. Carl IV (23), a 2017 Texas A&M history graduate, works for the College of Engineering, and Michael (19) is a certified pharmacy technician attending the nursing program at Blinn College.

Story and photos by Athlyn Allen ’19
Marketing Intern
Division of Student Affairs