Award winner: Jerry L. Hodge, senior director of information services at Hamilton Beach Brands Inc.
Award-winning project: A formalized project and portfolio management (PPM) process in support of Hamilton Beach's information services governance program.
Revenue: $540 million
Number of employees: 550
Time in job: Six years, the past three years as director of information services.
Educational background: Associate of Science, Computer Science, and Bachelor of Science, industrial management, from Purdue University; MBA from Virginia Commonwealth University.
First job: A programmer at TRW Automotive, then spent several months as a production scheduler at a company plant. I love the smell of machine oil.
Best advice you've ever received: There are no technology projects, only business projects with IT components. Put another way: Get your hands dirty in the business and follow the cash.
Best career move: Leading the supply chain at Hamilton Beach for three years before being named head of IS. I've had the best of both worlds here.
Biggest career influence: My uncle, an early IT professional, used to bring me to work. I got the bug as a 13-year-old. From my dad, who was a retailer, I learned to manage by walking around and to be on time. To this day I still set all of our alarm clocks in the house seven minutes fast.
Best technology decision: We dipped our toes early into virtualization. We made an educated leap of faith about four years ago and had a lot of success with it.
Biggest IT challenge: My CEO calls it 'Getting more pigs through the python. We need to get more of the right stuff done with the same or less amount of resources.' That's an ongoing challenge because every day something new pops up or breaks.
Best and worst personality trait: Passionate. I go into things with everything on my sleeve. That can get me in trouble. Some people can misinterpret that passion for being arrogant. Some days I do a better job of being aware of that than others.
Hobby: I'm still physically able to play basketball and golf. I like walking on the beach with my boys.
Alter-ego career: General manager of a pro basketball or football team. With all the changes they've got, with salary cap, injuries and contracts, I'm thinking, it's no different from being here.
Current reading: Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success, by John Wooden, legendary UCLA coach and Purdue graduate.
Next big technology: I hate it when sales guys come in with technology in search of a project. I see opportunities with open source and likes the SaaS model.
One word of advice to IT pros coming up the ranks: Don't. That said: Execute faster, cheaper, better, cultivate high-quality people and build great teams.
Let us know what you think about the story; email: Linda Tucci, Senior News Writer
This was first published in June 2008