Award-winning project: Introduced radio-frequency technology in the warehouse as part of Creativity's ERP application. This improved product packing and shipping methods and reduced errors.
Number of employees: 300
Time in job: Four years
Educational background: Bachelor of Science degree in computer science from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa.; MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, N.J.
First job: Help desk associate at Nabisco Brands. That was when PCs first came out, and we rolled them out for the first time in the company in any large scale. It was a whole new world there, and a whole different scale of levels and expectations -- since they were new, no one knew what they could do.
Best advice you've ever received: "Measure twice, cut once." My father said that to me. He was working at a woodshop, and you can't make mistakes with an expensive piece of wood. It's applicable to all of the things you do, [such as] specifications for a program. It's an art form, in a lot of ways, much like painting or even writing, when everyone has creative input into process. With artwork, you maybe have more open-ended results, but, with programming, there are many ways to do things. So it's important to measure twice, write the code once, rather than have to redo the code later.
Best career move: Deciding to move away from programming languages to focus on database technologies and business intelligence.
Biggest career influence: There's not one person that's a standout. I've melded different things from various people I respect.
Best technology decision: Standardizing on Cognos 8BI for our analytical and reporting platform. I came into this company four years ago with a deep knowledge and a lot of experience in various [business intelligence] BI tools out there. One reason I thought I was good fit for this company is that I thought it needed to launch an analytical solution on top of its burgeoning ERP application. I brought in tools to evaluate … the resources we had to do this.
Biggest IT challenge: Providing responsive, secure and impactful business applications to users anywhere, anytime, while managing unrelenting growth in the quantities of data.
Best personality trait: A sense of humor.
Worst personality trait: Impatience.
Hobby: Listening to music, and playing the trumpet in my youth. Tennis and skiing are things I like to do when I get away.
Alter-ego career: I'd like to teach, probably at the college level. Mathematics and computers are two things I'm looking to do.
Current reading:I don't get a chance to read a lot of books, but, outside of tech journals, Portfolio magazine is a really good business magazine. It's about the business climate, the economy and how businesses are handling different issues. It's like The Wall Street Journal, but in more of a storyline [format].
Next big technology: For us, certainly virtualization plays a big part. In the midsize market, we're just getting into it now, and getting into it big time. For the industry, new storage technologies that provide greater capacity at ever-shrinking costs. Storage requirements are going to keep going up as there are ever-increasing amounts of media and file types needing to be stored.
One word of advice to IT pros coming up the ranks: Don't fall in love with any one technology; make sure you invest your time in a broad range of skills. And don't stray too far from the database -- for most organizations, that's where it all happens, and it will be the linchpin of all major corporate systems going forward. If you focus knowledge on that area, you'll always be employable and relevant, and have a good career in IT.
Let us know what you think about the story; email: Rachel Lebeaux, Associate Editor