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High Five: Meet Ken Sanders, CIO Of GenslerHigh Five: Meet Ken Sanders, CIO Of Gensler

Ken Sanders is CIO of Gensler, an architecture and design firm that's in the midst of embracing 3-D design using Autodesk's Revit software. It's a major industry shift in how designers think and work--and a major training and change management challenge for IT.

Chris Murphy

June 15, 2007

2 Min Read

Ken Sanders
CIO of Gensler
Interview by Chris Murphy

Ken Sanders, CIO of Gensler

Photograph by Jeffery Newbury


A licensed architect out of the University of California at Berkeley program, Sanders realized early on that he had a technology aptitude, and he gravitated to the IT side of the industry. As a bridge between the creative and technical parts of the craft, he sees his role as giving designers tools that they'll apply in ways he never considered: "I'm sort of lighter fluid."


Gensler will train 1,500 to 2,000 people on Revit over about two years. Sanders' rule: Use the software immediately after the three-day training. "They need to sit down the very next hour and start on a project using 3-D modeling."


Sanders tries to climb a volcano every year. Beyond the physical challenge and joy of the outdoors, being on a volcano offers a humbling experience in which to "reconsider your place on the planet, being on this remnant of the creation of the planet that's still smoking and breathing." He's hiked up Mounts Rainier and Hood, among others.


Gensler is known for designing energy-friendly buildings, from an auto dealership to government buildings certified as "green." 3-D technology should help that cause, Sanders says, by letting designers assess a building's sustainability earlier in the process, when it's easiest to make changes.


Sanders doesn't own a car. Living in San Francisco, he walks or takes the trolley to work, and he owns a motorcycle. "It's sort of a low-carbon-footprint lifestyle--if not for all the air travel I consume."

About the Author(s)

Chris Murphy

Editor, InformationWeek

Chris Murphy is editor of InformationWeek and co-chair of the InformationWeek Conference. He has been covering technology leadership and CIO strategy issues for InformationWeek since 1999. Before that, he was editor of the Budapest Business Journal, a business newspaper in Hungary; and a daily newspaper reporter in Michigan, where he covered everything from crime to the car industry. Murphy studied economics and journalism at Michigan State University, has an M.B.A. from the University of Virginia, and has passed the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exams.

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