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5/26/2010
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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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Sr. VP and CIO, Automotive Resources International

CAREER TRACK
How long at Automotive Resources International: I've been with ARI, which handles fleet leasing and management, for over three years.

Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: I was part of a very motivated team at Commerce Bank prior to obtaining my position at ARI. In a two-year time frame, we developed and implemented a new teller and customer relationship system, which supported 2 million customers in 500 locations. This system helped the bank win several awards and secure new business.

Most important career influencer: My parents, for instilling in me the Golden Rule--"One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself." They taught me to be a good person and that everything else will take care of itself.

Decision I wish I could do over: Early in my career, I didn't recognize the plus side of failure. If I made a mistake, I'd either ignore it or, even worse, hide it. Now I stress the importance of learning from mistakes. On a weekly basis, my team holds an incident and problem management team meeting to identify areas where we can improve.

ON THE JOB
Size of IT team: 140 full-time employees and 25 contractors

IT budget: $26 million

Top initiatives:

  • Enhancing our real-time and predictive analysis tools for customer use through our Web-based fleet management system.
  • New product development and innovation.

VISION
The next big thing for my business: The integration of technology in vehicles will give fleet managers more real-time data, from notification that something in the engine needs attention to alerts that a driver is speeding. That information will increase their ability to control operating costs and improve driver behavior.

One thing I'm looking to do better: More tightly aligning the IT team's focus with the company's business plan and increasing their understanding of how their day-to-day activities support ARI's business.

Lesson learned from the recession: Always invest--in your people and yourself--in all economic cycles.

Kids and tech careers: Most professions today are tied in some form or fashion to technology. The stronger kids' base knowledge is tied to technology, the more opportunities will open to them.

PERSONAL
Colleges/degrees: Drexel University, BS in finance; Phoenix University, MBA in technology management

Leisure activities: Coaching basketball

Best book read recently: Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes Into Stepping Stones For Success, by John C. Maxwell

Smartphone of choice: iPhone

Personal computer: Mac

If I weren't a CIO, I'd be ... a grammar school principal

Ranked No. 30 in the 2011 InformationWeek 500

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