Meeting Speaker: Anne O'Neil - Leading Cultural Change and Transformation

ATA, 1300 Britt Street, SE
Ann Hodges

Abstract: Effective Systems Engineers often serve as change agents – whether guiding introductions of new capabilities and/or new technologies as well as the corresponding impacts on processes, people and organizations.

A diversifying range of industries (particularly infrastructure sectors) are beginning to recognize the need for adopting Systems Engineering practices and expertise to respond to increasing complexity and integration. Here, the impact of introducing SE, itself poses fundamental cultural change – affecting business practices, decision-making as well as the supply chains that support them.

Digital Engineering represents impending change for all engineering disciplines. Where integrated capability and solutions must be delivered, Systems Engineering must be engaged and therefore has an opportunity to play a significant change leadership role.   

Given the importance of cultural change to SE practitioners, this presentation explores how we as Systems Engineers can lead these cultural transformations, and utilize our Systems skills in doing so. It will also share the observations and insights of a Systems catalyst engaged in these efforts. 


Anne O’Neil, P.E., CSEP,  Systems Engineering Catalyst and Strategist, Anne O’Neil Consultants, Founding Chief Systems Engineer of MTA New York City Transit - Former founding Chief Systems Engineer for MTA NYCT, Anne O’Neil serves as a committed catalyst for building Systems Engineering capability among infrastructure sectors.

Founder of Anne O’Neil Consultants, the firm advises organizations seeking to adopt systems practices and apply systems engineering (SE) capability to achieve and improve business outcomes. Anne counsels the increasingly diverse range of infrastructure industries facing complexity and integration challenges. She supports businesses across a spectrum of maturity levels – from assessing where applying systems expertise offers the strongest business benefit, to acquiring or enhancing systems capability as an organizational core competence.

From 2005-2013 as the founding Chief Systems Engineer for MTA New York City Transit (NYCT), Anne established and integrated SE capability to improve the agency’s capital project delivery. This required developing systems engineering discipline expertise and modifying the agency’s business process and program development approach. It also necessitated effecting change and building systems awareness at an industry level – among peer transit properties, consultants, contractors and systems suppliers. 

A former Board member for INCOSE (International Council on Systems Engineering), Anne currently serves as INCOSE Industry Outreach Ambassador. She has long served as a systems champion within the transportation industry, raising SE awareness. She evolved the INCOSE Transportation Working Group into an international forum for industry exchange, serving 6 years as co-chair (2006-2012). Concurrently, she founded and chaired (2008-2012) the Systems Engineering Committee for APTA, [North] American Public Transportation Association. In recognition of Anne’s extensive outreach efforts within both the SE community and transportation industry, she was awarded the 2011 INCOSE Founders Award.

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