Harvil Jenkins is a Senior Vice President for MIL’s Rapid Engineering and Prototyping Solutions (REPS) Sector and the Acting Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) for MIL. Within REPS, Harvil manages large and complex Navy programs and focuses on bringing in new work for the REPS Sector. He particularly enjoys starting and leading new engineering, cybersecurity, and information technology projects, preparing the next technical leader to assume his position, and then moving on to the next challenge. As CISO, Harvil is responsible for ensuring MIL’s corporate information systems remain guarded against external threats while still providing high-level functionality to our teams.
As a young person, Harvil was always fascinated by technology became hooked on computers from the moment small computers became available. His first desktop computer, a Commodore 64, inspired his passion for technology and science—he knew he wanted to build computers and hoped to one day work at a company like IBM. Harvil graduated from North Carolina State University with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering in 1994. In 1999, he earned a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina A&T State University. A&T is the largest Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in the country.
His advice for the next generation of minority students deciding on their path is to develop an entrepreneurial spirit in whatever you do. Despite his educational achievements, Harvil recognizes that college isn’t necessarily for everyone. But, if your path does lead you to college, especially young black students, he recommends choosing an HBCU. At an HBCU, young black students are surrounded by positive and accomplished role models—numerous black professors, PhDs, and other high achieving professionals. Students at an HBCU are able to see professionals who look like them and likely have similar backgrounds. It also creates a pipeline of lifelong resources and networking opportunities to help bridge some of the systemic educational gaps still plaguing minority populations. For that same reason, he also favors in-person studies over online instruction. Being on campus and in the classroom helps you gain not only academic experiences but also provides opportunities to interact with like-minded peers and build social and professional connections you can carry forward in your life.