Strategic CIO // Executive Insights & Innovation
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CIO Profiles: In Their Own Words

IT leaders share their top priorities, biggest mistakes, and career dreams if they weren't a CIO.
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CIO, CRST International

How long at current company: I've been at this logistics company for seven years.

Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: The creation of Gazette Technologies, a software development company specializing in data warehouse software to serve the media industry.

Most important career influencer: As a young IT manager, I had a great manager and mentor named Tom Redder. Tom had the unique ability to challenge you to do your very best, while teaching by example. In the process, he was able to give you enough rope on a project to let you manage the process, but not enough to let you hang yourself.

Decision I wish I could do over: Many times, it's very hard to balance the desire for growth in your career with the needs of your family. I'm lucky to have two great daughters and a very understanding wife, who have had to make several moves because of my career. I wish I had taken more time to better understand their needs when making a move. Ask for and listen to your family's feedback instead of just focusing on new opportunities.

IT budget: $8.7 million

Size of IT team: 47 employees

Top initiatives:

• We're migrating our freight management system off the mainframe to an open systems environment. This will let us meet the needs of the business and reduce our technology cost of ownership by moving off the mainframe, while embracing current technologies. • We're redesigning our recovery plans to significantly reduce recovery time. Our new plans include the ability to fail over to an off-site recovery center and an off-site office facility capable of hosting 165 people.

How I measure IT effectiveness: The IT team reports to the business on 20 key items, including hardware performance, help desk call resolutions, software development resource allocations, and computer operations efficiencies. We continue to examine these metrics annually and update accordingly.

One thing I'm looking to do better: Partner with business stakeholders to better understand the issues and how technology can bring better solutions. We've created an environment built for growth and business analytics, and now is the time to drive the value home.

Lesson learned from the last recession: The importance and value of a multiyear technology plan for the company. The plan has to be flexible, of course, but such a guiding focus is especially valuable during tough economic times.

Kids and tech careers: The need to understand technology is key in any career decision given today's environment. I didn't try to steer my kids toward or away from a career in technology. Both have graduated college and are successful in their careers today. Neither are professional technologists but use technology very effectively.

Leisure activity: Golf

Favorite president: John F. Kennedy, because of his ability to execute on a vision and be decisive

Last vacation: Caribbean cruise

Favorite sports team manager: Jim Leyland of the Detroit Tigers, who has the ability to develop and get the most out of good players

Tech vendor CEO I respect most: Cisco's John Chambers

Smartphone of choice: BlackBerry

Ranked No. 19 in the 2011 InformationWeek 500

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