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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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Senior VP and CIO, UniGroup

CAREER TRACK

How long at UniGroup: About a year at this logistics services company.

Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: Making the transition from the business to IT. Education in IT made me a better business leader; business experience makes me a better IT leader.

Decision I wish I could do over: In the past, I made the mistake of chasing technology. There's a balance between implementing new technologies that offer a competitive advantage and developing reliable, consistent systems.

ON THE JOB

IT budget: $30 million

Size of IT team: 180

Top initiatives:

  • Building a supply chain management system.
  • Moving more systems to an open source stack from a mainframe.
  • Engaging a colocation facility.

VISION

One thing I'm looking to do better: I want to improve collaboration. We just have too many walls today.

How I give my team room to innovate: I ask for individuals or teams to present ideas to me that they feel have potential to make a difference. This demonstrates initiative and passion for the idea. If an idea has merit, I free up their time to pursue the idea and ask for regular updates.

The most common cause when IT projects go wrong: A breakdown in communication between IT and the business or a lack of support from the business is usually why projects fail.

What I want from tech vendors: We need truly unique, innovative approaches to problems from our vendors instead of another repackaging of the same old ideas.

The most overrated IT movement: Cloud computing. It's not that I don't support it or believe that it's going to happen, it's just that there are so many case studies that are simply not true. Let's face it, there is still a lot of work to be done to make it easier and more affordable.

Kids and tech careers: I'm definitely trying to steer my kids toward technology careers. They're still young, but I believe that technology will always have a future.

PERSONAL

Degree: Creighton University, BS in computer science

Favorite pro sports team coach: Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers, because he coaches his team like I feel I coach my team -- we're both involved and personal

Best book read recently: Unbroken, a well-written and incredible story about Louis Zamperini

If I weren't CIO, I'd be ... a COO -- I love operations

Ranked No. 12 in the 2012 InformationWeek 500

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