SP500 Winner: Executive Of The Year - Carahsoft's CEO Aims High


The smarts to know when a technology is a flash in the pan, and when it's time to bet the business on it. Hard work--and a belief that "if you build it, they will come."

Those are the traits of a top leader, and CRN's Executive of the Year, Craig Abod, president and founder of Carahsoft, embodies all of them.

"I think the sort of team we built is based on lead-by-example style," said Abod. "We're of high integrity, are hard working, have a good work ethic, and are bent toward high activity." One key, he said, is to have many goals, and to measure and track progress consistently.

All that goal-setting could set the stage for an overly competitive environment, but, Abod said, during the course of the past 25 years, a culture has developed at Carahsoft that promotes building up the company as a whole, rather than simply celebrating individual victories. "If one team develops a best practice or finds a way to take better care of a customer, they are encouraged to spread that and give it to another team," he said. "Rather than competitive, we are collaborative. We're much more team-focused."

The team approach was integral for the government-focused solution provider's enormous growth. According to Abod, he "knew" he'd grow the fledgling Carahsoft from $4 million to $1 billion in seven years, and he created a fast-paced, hard-driving culture to meet that goal.

"We built [an] infrastructure to start knowing we'd be a $500 million to $2 billion solution provider. Our platform of tracking and measuring gives us a finger on the pulse of business--without that, it would have been impossible for us to get to $1 billion."