USC Price School of Public Policy

Alumni Spotlight: John Carlin, BS ’98

By Kimberly Ueyama

John Carlin

When asked about the current state of American affairs, SPPD alumnus John Carlin reflects, “We live in interesting times where government is expected to do more with less and the public has little confidence that it can do either.”

During challenging periods that foster doubt and frustration, a steadfast entrepreneurial spirit can drive innovation, inspire positive change, and offer hope for an improved American way of life. As founder and CEO of Global Business Solutions, Inc (GLOBAL), Carlin emblemizes the success attached to an unwavering dedication to one’s personal goals.

Carlin’s path to entrepreneurial achievement presents an inspiring story of determination and perseverance. Having been raised in a single-parent household, in an economically disadvantaged area of East Los Angeles, instilled Carlin with a strong work ethic and taught him that hard work pays off.

“I always knew I would one day run my own business,” he said.

After graduating from high school, Carlin joined the United States Army, an experience that provided him with valuable lessons he used to supplement his professional aspiration. When he completed his military service, he enrolled at USC.

For Carlin, these experiences complemented each other.

“Military service gave me the discipline and confidence to get things done,” he shared. “USC gave the academic background and understanding of leadership to take things to the next level.”

Taking advantage of the many resources USC offered, including lectures, field assignments and direct interaction with professors, helped prepare Carlin for starting his own company. According to Carlin, being a Trojan “opened my eyes to what I could accomplish in business and gave me the tools to succeed in the business world.”

Being an SPPD student bolstered Carlin’s USC experience. “If you are serious about running your own business, being an expert on public policy, planning or development, or the various hybrids thereof, then SPPD is the way to go,” he noted.

For Carlin, SPPD inspired a sense of serving the community and reiterated the importance of building relationships with professors and fellow students.

When he completed his undergraduate studies at SPPD, Carlin moved to California’s hub for innovation and technological advancement — the Silicon Valley. Working as a financial analyst in this area gave Carlin hands-on experience with companies that shared his forward-thinking mindset.

Just as he used his experiences in the Army and at USC to further fuel his personal passions, Carlin’s work in the Silicon Valley prompted his decision to fulfill his goal of beginning his own company.

“I was inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit that had created great companies like Google, Cisco and Apple, just from an idea,” said Carlin, “and I founded GLOBAL in 2002.”

Currently headquartered in Costa Mesa, Calif., GLOBAL is a leading provider of professional services to public and private sector organizations worldwide. The company specializes in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), financial management, project services and technological development with the vision of delivering projects efficiently and promoting innovation.

Ensuring his company’s success hinges on Carlin’s personal belief in the individual’s ability to positively impact society, a philosophy that his own story exemplifies.

“I treat my employees like independent professionals and empower them to make decisions to better serve our clients,” Carlin noted. “I am very proud of the fact that the professionalism and dedication of GLOBAL’s professionals have made Los Angeles a better place in which to live.”

Through its work, GLOBAL is able to have far-reaching impacts that benefit many people, beyond just their clients. For example, the company has played an integral role in working to make buildings more accessible to people with disabilities through their ADA services division, which is dedicated to ensuring that all of their structures comply with ADA stipulations.

Carlin views his role as CEO as an opportunity to actively pursue his personal commitment to helping the community and, as he notes, “fulfilling a dream of supporting causes I believe in.” He is a dedicated supporter of the Puente Learning Center in Boyle Heights where he grew up, the 11-99 Foundation that aids the California Highway Patrol, and various other programs focused on helping inner-city youth.

As a result of his commitment to service, Carlin is able to play a significant role in helping communities in Los Angeles and throughout the world.