Q&A with Carl Ice

"Faith drives me to do good things, to do something that makes the community better."

Carl recently concluded a distinguished 42-year career with BNSF Railway, where he ascended to the roles of Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board. Throughout his tenure, he achieved remarkable financial growth, doubling net margin and increasing annual revenues to more than $22 billion. Under his leadership, BNSF thrived despite industry challenges, with Carl fostering a culture of resilience and employee development. Beyond his professional achievements, Carl is an active philanthropist, serving in leadership roles for organizations such as The Salvation Army National Advisory Board and the Kansas State University Foundation.

01. How did you meet the Army?  

After I was asked to go on my local advisory board, my wife Mary and I became more involved with the Army. We have been blessed with the ability to help others and we believe it is our obligation to do so. 

02. What initiative(s) from the National Advisory Board are you most excited about?

I am most excited about the Army’s focus on issues like food security and acquiring the necessary skills to escape poverty.

03. What should The Salvation Army expect of advisory board members at a local level? Likewise, what is your expectation for officers who work with advisory board members? 

Be engaged if you’re an advisory board member. You were asked to serve for a reason and it’s your obligation as a board member to lend your talents to the best of your ability. The expectation for officers is to have a plan. Drive the agenda. You have an advisory board that has agreed to give you their time and talent, so take advantage of what’s being offered. Put them to work. 

04. What has been one of your greatest joys as a leader? 

Doing something important and passing along what I have learned to those coming behind me. 

05. How does faith influence your career and community volunteer work? 

Faith drives me to do good things, to do something that makes the community better. You can’t help but be successful if you get out of bed every morning excited to get back to doing what you do.

06. What do you see as The Salvation Army’s greatest opportunity? Greatest challenge?

The Army is uniquely positioned to serve needs at the local level, from giving someone a hand when they need it most to providing disaster assistance. I think The Salvation Army with its long history and storied legacy faces the challenge of being true to its roots while adapting to today.

07. How do you make space in your life for rhythm and rest?

Managing a work/life balance is a team sport. Mary and I are blessed with wonderful and independent children who have always been part of that balance. Ensuring that you spend meaningful time with friends is also essential to maintaining that balance.