Get to know the Premier 100 Class of 2017

The annual Computerworld Premier 100 awards shine a spotlight on individuals who have had a positive impact on their organization through technology.

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Kim Felix

Kim Felix

Title
Vice president, IT

Employer
UPS

Location
Louisville, Ky.

Career highlight:
Working as a developer on the creation of the cellular network at the start of my career and now leading an organization in developing strategies and solutions leveraging mobile technologies. It’s amazing to reflect on what we’ve accomplished in the industry and how fast we’ve evolved.

What emerging tech has captured your interest?
Wearables. From the time I joined the transportation function and started spending time in our operations, the potential use cases became apparent. We’re working now on the required infrastructure with mobile interfaces. Managing cost for our scale and securing regulatory approval are key.

An innovative staff idea:
It’s an application that models the ESPN draft process to dynamically manage staff load-balancing in the operation. It’s a simple and cost-effective way to better utilize resources, and it creates a more positive work experience for the staff.

How are you using reverse-mentoring?
We’ve been increasing our internship/co-op programs to bring more students in to work as part of our teams. The project assignments are geared to look at new technologies and how they can be incorporated into the projects. Our target is to convert the students to full-time staffers. During the internships and after conversion, they provide feedback on work preferences and serve on our engagement committees to implement their ideas.

Jeff L. Fields

Jeff L. Fields

Title
CIO

Employer
Servpro

Location
Gallatin, Tenn.

Career highlight:
I spent time in Jerusalem and Haifa working on financial and inventory systems for Intel. I enjoyed both the challenge and the culture.

What emerging tech has captured your interest?
In our organization, the internet of things is starting to play a big role in all of our technology offerings, including mobile applications and WorkCenter.

Coolest current project:
We are working on a machine-learning product that captures leads from social media, internet news feeds and other websites; this will bring in new business for our franchises.

How are you using reverse-mentoring?
We hire many new IT people who share fresh ideas and participate in our architecture and development process.

Boldest prediction for the next 5 years:
All of our processes are moving to the cloud, and the internet of things will become more prominent in our technology offerings, ensuring that all areas of business are seamlessly connected in real time.

What’s the most important task you’ve delegated this year?
I’ve hired a chief information security officer and delegated some of the infrastructure security responsibilities to him.

How are you working with startups?
I am involved with the Nashville Technology Council, a group that works with multiple startups.

Harry Folloder

Harry Folloder

Title
CIO

Employer
Advantage Waypoint

Location
Tampa, Fla.

New title in your IT organization:
Data visualization specialist

What’s the most important task you’ve delegated this year?
Intercompany communication and project transparency -- the role is IS&T coordinator.

Your spare time?
I take my blind twins to different experiences and relearn through them what the world is like and the pure joy that most people take for granted.

How do you find time to innovate?
I dedicate one day per month to spend with a person in the business, on the street, representing our clients to always understand the pulse of our culture and clients.

What title do you aspire to?
Chief innovation officer

Read Folloder's full profile.

Michael Garcia

Michael Garcia

Title
Vice president, development services

Employer
Fannie Mae

Location
Washington

What emerging tech has captured your interest?
Blockchain definitely holds opportunity for a Version 2 of the internet; one that offers true anonymity and cuts out middlemen everywhere. In my organization, I will be looking at how blockchain might replace databases as trusted sources and facilitate transactions with our financial services partners.

Coolest current project:
An enterprise conversion to lean agile with full engagement from the business. We have reached a critical mass in the organization, and watching the culture change has been exhilarating. We went from pushing the ideas uphill to having them pulled from us across every team.

New titles in your IT organization:
Tribe leader, agile coach, software development engineer test, DevOps engineer and scrum master.

Personal leadership style?
I believe in servant leadership. I try to empower the team by removing impediments but fully authorizing them to make decisions and do the work. I also believe in developing a continuous learning environment where we are invigorated and inspired to constantly experiment with new ideas.

Rodell A. Garcia

Rodell A. Garcia

Title
Chief technology adviser

Employer
Manila Water

Location
Quezon City, Philippines

Career highlight:
During my 12-year stint in GlobeTelecom, where I was CIO for 10 years and CTO for two, I was given the opportunity to lead the implementation of one of the first mobile money projects, Globe’s GCash product. GCash launched in 2004 and won the GSMA’s Best Mobile Messaging Service in 2005.

What emerging tech has captured your interest?
We have the beginnings of the internet of things in our enterprise asset management system, where we have interconnected sensors in our plant and equipment, and have mapped these into our geographical information system, thus making the status of our facilities visible to our frontliners. We are expanding these capabilities in our IT/OT convergence project, wherein we will be deploying more sensors and collecting data that will be fed into an analytics engine.

Boldest prediction for the next 5 years:
The internet of things will become ubiquitous in both the corporate and consumer environments.

How has your vendor management strategy changed in the past few years?
In the past, vendor relationships have mainly been project by project and maintenance mode. This year, we have identified vendor-partners whom we have looped into the early stages of our strategic planning process, resulting in a mutually beneficial relationship.

Gint Grabauskas

Gint Grabauskas

Title
CTO

Employer
Vixxo

Location
Scottsdale, Ariz.

Career highlight:
While at GoDaddy (where I worked before joining Vixxo), I performed a rap on stage -- about our development of an OpenStack cloud platform.

Coolest current project:
Taking a vertical scaled platform and reworking it as microservices in the cloud.

How are you using reverse-mentoring?
One example are weekly “lightning rounds,” where I ask my staff to research and briefly discuss a new technology in five minutes.

Personal leadership style?
Servant leadership is a passion of mine, and my natural style. It works great with really smart folks (who are also humble and fun to work with). My job is to help my folks be the best they can be (servant leadership isn’t weakness).

How do you find time to innovate?
Every Friday, I carve out four hours to research, prototype, code and otherwise look at new technology. This time is booked on my calendar and can’t be calendar-stomped.

José A. Güereque

José A. Güereque

Title
IT and innovation director

Employer
Arca Continental

Location
Monterrey Nuevo Leon, Mexico

What emerging tech has captured your interest?
Big data is transforming our approach to decision-making. We can no longer rely on instinct or individual experience — we need to leverage multiple data sources for insight. The new winners will be the ones able to fulfill customer needs at a personal level.

New titles in your IT organization:
Data scientists. These individuals bring new skills, models and ways of thinking to gain new insights from the information we see daily.

How has your vendor management strategy changed in the past few years?
We now demand innovation from every vendor — even those in operational roles — and expect them to be part of our innovation ecosystem. They need to be fully engaged in the transformation of our company and the improvement of our products and services.

How do you find time to innovate?
It’s a matter of priorities. We’re always very busy, so I have to make the conscious decision to spend time during the week on innovation, such as reading, attending seminars and networking with entrepreneurs. The only way to ensure innovation is to make it a firm requirement for myself.

Saravanan Gurumurthy

Saravanan Gurumurthy

Title
CTO

Employer
ForwardLine

Location
Woodland Hills, Calif.

Career highlight:
While studying for my engineering degree in India, I read a book about Japanese culture and its unique management style that prompted me to move to Japan. That moment changed my career and life and resulted in a unique, amazing experience both professionally and personally.

Boldest prediction for the next 5 years:
Social internet of things -- an IoT where things are capable of establishing social relationships with other objects autonomously with respect to humans. Rather than making decisions by analyzing just the data collected from machines, devices will rely on feedback from humans, thereby creating a more simplified connected ecosystem.

Biggest tech disappointment?
Smartphone technology, in how quickly it matured as a product and market, and seems to have lost the ability to surprise us with any significant new features.

Personal leadership style?
Firm and fair. I strongly believe in creating a service-oriented technology organization. I have an open-door policy and am as serious about other people’s careers as I am about my own.

Greg Hart

Greg Hart

Title
Vice president, cloud services

Employer
McKesson

Location
Alpharetta, Ga.

Boldest prediction for the next 5 years:
A turning-point event — nation-state cyberattack on critical infrastructure or an unprecedented large-scale cloud breach — will cause a change in our cybersecurity approach at a national level (some good changes and some reactionary). Private and public cooperation for monitoring and defense, and increased hard regulations will result.

Biggest tech disappointment?
The password. Data breaches and ransomware are doing more to harm technology progress than anything else. Much of the headline focus is on the wrong areas, with debates on the safety of cloud or mobile when the biggest security issue remains people and compromised credentials. The death of the password is long overdue.

Personal leadership style?
Leaders really have two primary jobs: Point in a strategic direction and develop people. What I do differently is to dedicate and formalize career plan discussions and to focus on people’s strengths rather than the traditional performance management, which focuses on improving weaknesses.

How has your vendor management strategy changed in the past few years?
Strategic technologies require fewer strategic partners, and traditional vendor management approaches don’t work anymore. For areas like cloud and analytics, I look for partners with an understanding of the enterprise who are driving successful adoption and open platforms and making other strategic partners better when working together.

Joseph C. Haskell

Joseph C. Haskell

Title
CTO

Employer
Planned Systems International

Location
Arlington, Va.

Boldest prediction for the next 5 years:
Smaller, faster and cheaper hardware will continue to make strides forward, but the real innovation in technology will depend on augmenting human interactions. Identity management and data security will make the quantum leaps to allow trusted human interactions and increased big data analysis.

Biggest tech disappointment?
All technology and processes around information security. Many significant data breaches around the world are the result of a combination of inadequate focus on security combined with ineffective software. The cost of these breaches continues to escalate rapidly.

New titles in your IT organization:
Recently our IT group added a quality management division. We have added a director of quality management and several quality managers.

Your personal leadership style?
My leadership style and the environment of PSI is based on empowerment and trust. By assuming positive intent in all interactions and enabling people with the authority and tools to succeed, it is possible to have staffers who are always motivated to do the right thing for their customers.

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