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VP and CIO, Great River Energy
Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: In the early to mid-'90s, the electric industry began transformation to open access transmission practices. There was an implementation target date and the concepts were defined, but not down to sufficient detail so that systems could be built to automate things. There were many challenges and several groups formed to work on them. It was long and hard work, great teamwork, innovative thinking, creative solutions--and we met the deadline. The work we did then prepared many of us for greater things to come.
Most important career influencers: I had a great high school math teacher, Mr. Erickson. He had real enthusiasm and he encouraged us to open our minds to allow our logic to flow. Also, I was fortunate to work with Dr. Potter at Iowa State. His passion was around renewable energy sources, particularly with innovative processes. Together, they remind me to keep an open mind and look for new solutions.
The next big thing for my industry will be ... having a more holistic view of the energy value chain. In regard to electricity, this includes everything from all generation sources through delivery and energy use by customers. The smart-grid vision further melds existing power system technologies with innovative digital technologies. Demonstration and commercialization of new solutions will be critical to upgrade the operation of the electrical system.
Best way for CIOs to cope with the economic downturn: Continue refining operating practices for greater efficiency and effectiveness. Engage business sponsors for buy-in and justification of decisions related to strategic investments.
Kids and tech careers: We're encouraging our children toward technology--not necessarily to have a tech career but to learn as much as possible about it and be able to use it in whatever career they pursue.
On The Job
Size of IT team: About 65
How I measure IT effectiveness: The most important indicator is customers and business partner satisfaction. We ask them to rate our performance as well as for suggestions on how we can improve.
Leisure activity: Fishing
Favorite president: Jimmy Carter; after significant energy issues in the 1970s, he enacted an energy policy specifically calling for innovation
Business leader I'd like to have lunch with: Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute
Favorite sports coach: Tony Dungy, formerly with the Buccaneers and the Colts
If I weren't a CIO, I'd be ... either an entrepreneur or a teacher--the goal of each is to inspire possibilities and new ways of thinking