CXO FELLOWS: Jason Kruse

The CXO Fellows Program regularly features members of the class of 2015-2016. This is a part of that series.

Name: Jason D. Kruse
Title: Chief IT Enterprise Architect
Agency: Office of Personnel Management

What’s the best part of your job (other than the people you work with)?
The best part of my job is being able to see, view, and work with the entire enterprise of OPM in a holistic view. This perspective at an enterprise level brings a wide variety of skills, perspectives, and experiences together to accomplish the mission as a whole, fostering collaboration, teamwork, and being able to manage this is very satisfying, as well as challenging.

What was your worst summer or part-time job?
My worst and shortest job was working at Roy Rogers fast food restaurant. I was under 18 at the time so I was unable to run the slicer, so I was assigned to chicken prep. Between the breading and frying of the chicken, the sensory overload of Au Jus sauce, and the environment, I only lasted a week. I was unable to eat at Roy Rogers for 2 years after that due to the smells of the restaurant.

What hidden talent or hobby do you have?
While being an IT professional at work, I enjoy making and breaking things with my hands in my off time. I have built cabinets for my basement, taken welding and automotive classes at Northern VA Community College, replaced rusted parts on my vehicles with new metal, and enjoy “tinkering” around with all things mechanical. Having the capability to build, repair, and or reuse things is very enjoyable to me. When things break, I tend to disassemble them to find out what is broken, and to better understand how they work.

Who was your most-valued mentor?
While not an actual mentor, I think I’ve learned the most character building lessons from my grandfather. He was a one of 8 brothers growing up in the Midwest during the dustbowl times. He was a blacksmith moved on to be a dry land farmer in Colorado. His work ethic, his respect for the land, people, family, and his religion, and his self-reliance leave me in awe to this day. Growing up in Northern Virginia where the a 7-11 or fast food restaurant is on every corner and distance in the car is measured in time did not prepare me for working on the farm every summer while growing up. When the closest store is 20 miles away and the closest fast food is 40 miles away, your perspective changes. Being prepared there means being able to survive with the weather (once time when I was on the farm, I was able to see 5 tornados at one time), repair your own equipment, and being able to mentally accept that a hail storm is wiping out your crop for the year as you sit on your porch and watch helplessly. His life and teachings stay with me to this day.

Who is your favorite artist or musical group?
I enjoy a large variety of music. Typically, on long trips, I’ll put my ipod on shuffle. The comments and looks I get from whoever I’m traveling with are amusing to say the least. When songs play back to back from Lucio Pavarotti, Johnny Cash, Disturbed, Jay Z, Evanescence, and Lady Gaga, the person in the passenger seat is just shaking their head. Typically, my “favorite” is heavily influenced by my mood or what I am doing. For example, living in the DC area and commuting daily, I have several CD’s in my car to keep my mental state in order while driving . . . Disturbed. Now, while sitting down to read over the new legislation or mandates that will impact the work, I’ll select something a little less intense, some Evanescence. Working in my shop, I’ll probably put on some country playlist. So, my favorite would best be defined as variety.

Learn more about the CXO Fellows Program.