CIO delivers sustainable IT for Peace Corps

CIO Ram Murthy took a mainframe migration project (which had failed once already) and turned it into an award-winning infrastructure.

Award winner: Ram Murthy, CIO, Department of Transportation (DOT), Office of Inspector General

Award-winning project: Gave new life to a mainframe migration project by facilitating business process re-engineering. Saved $1 million by eliminating license fees.

Hear from our award winner
Ram MurthyListen in as Ram Murthy talks with executive editor Kate Evans-Correia about his work.
Industry: Government

Time in job: Five years in the Peace Corps (as director of application systems) and four weeks at the DOT.

Educational background: Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the National Institute of Technology, Durgapur, in West Bengal, India; a master's degree in mechanical engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT); and a master's degree in computer science from NJIT.

First job: Graduate research assistant at NJIT.

Best advice you've ever received: To understand and acknowledge the priorities of your boss. If you don't agree, it's time to move on.

Best career move: Joining the Peace Corps from a private-sector job. Its mission is world peace and friendship. I didn't realize how passionate people are. I realized how important it is.

Award-winning IT
Why this project worked: We had a passionate team. Everyone was motivated. We talked to all the business units. All stakeholders knew what was happening. We had commitment from the users and business units.

How you sold it to management: We proved our business case.

What the judges said: This was a methodically planned project with redefined processes, required infrastructure upgrades and sustainable solutions. Clearly, there was keen technical understanding, business leadership and vision. The ROI and continued growth expectations made this project extremely valuable on both hard and soft costs.

Biggest career influence: Having the trust and confidence of my managers. In a job I held for 16 years at InterCAP Graphics Systems, the trust and confidence my managers had in me helped to boost my spirits and made me work harder. I started there as a software engineer. By the time I left I was director of customer support.

Best technology decision: The one that stands out was at InterCAP when we migrated to a turnkey technical illustration system that required us to go from using Unix to using Microsoft Windows. Once we migrated, it boosted sales and the company became profitable.

Biggest IT challenge: Being hired to make a change. Change doesn't come easy. It takes time and effort.

Best personality trait: Ability to stay calm under pressure.

Worst personality trait: Stubbornness and not being able to stand indecisiveness.

Hobby: Fix broken stuff and design and engineering model making.

Alter-ego career: Automotive design engineer looking at alternative sources of fuel.

Current reading: Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama -- I'm just trying to understand why he thinks he can get things done.

Next big technology: Software as a Service -- with some changes so the customer has better control of data.

One word of advice to IT pros coming up the ranks: If you're not passionate or mission-driven, the job is not for you. Put in your best 100% and you can make a difference.

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Kate Evans-Correia, Associate Editor

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