Joe Morgan, VP and CTO at Standard Register

Two years ago, Joe Morgan stepped into what was then a newly created position at Standard Register and one broader in scope than the previous CIO job. This year, the company ranked 43rd on the InformationWeek500. list.

Joe Morgan, VP and CTO at Standard Register -- Photograph by Bob Stefko

Photograph by Bob Stefko

Joe Morgan
VP and CTO at Standard Register

Interview by Eric Chabrow

InformationWeek 500

A bobble-head doll of the late Don Adams sits in his office, a testament to his favorite TV show, "Get Smart." Morgan liked the show's political satire and advanced technology, including the shoe phone. "I remember my parents thinking that was insane," he says. And not just the shoe part. "Why would someone have an individual phone? Sure enough, we all have it now."

In Mourning
The Massachusetts native grieves the quick demise of the Boston Red Sox in this fall's baseball playoffs, a year after his dream came true with a world championship. "I was upset until the Yankees lost, and that balanced things out."

Burning Question
"I want to understand why so many senior executives made bad decisions around technology investments. They don't understand technology; they have blind faith at times. They know they need to move the ball forward, but aren't sure how to do it."

As an entrepreneur and intrapreneur, Morgan estimates he's batting .500, meaning half of the projects he conceived have failed. "I really value people willing to push the envelope. Technologists in general have a hard time with that, though, because they take a lot of pride in what they do," which can make them more risk-averse.

Morgan credits the late Mark Ungerer, who headed filmic materials provider FLEXcon Corp., for ingraining in him "the importance of customer and culture. ... He turned me from solely focused on operations to recognizing that the only reason that part of the business exists is to satisfy the customers."

Editor's Choice
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Carrie Pallardy, Contributing Reporter
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author
Astrid Gobardhan, Data Privacy Officer, VFS Global
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing