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VP of IT and CIO, Toromont Industries
How long at current company: 5 years at Toromont, an industrial machinery and equipment distributor.
Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: My proud moments come from anecdotes and comments. For example, a recent hire from a competitor remarked about how much more information was available from our IT tools, and that helped him be more successful. That's what it's about--beating the competition with better information and technology.
Most important career influencers: I have three. The first is a cost accounting professor in my MBA program. I don't remember his name, but he scared the crap out of everyone. You either knew your stuff, or got fried like bacon. I still use lessons I learned in that class. The second is an old boss who taught me you can find a positive outlook to just about everything in business. Third is a former manager, when I wasn't working in IT. He was an SOB and tried to sabotage my career. I learned that some walls are made of concrete and can't be moved.
Decision I wish I could do over: A bad hiring decision--it set me back a year and a half.
On The Job
Size of IT team: Approximately 50
How I measure IT effectiveness: I monitor traditional spend-to-plan and results-to-plan. However, my key assessment of our group's effectiveness is feedback from senior and line-of-business management. If they're more effective and gaining a competitive advantage, they know it and say so. If not, we have a problem, no matter what the reason.
Best way for CIOs to cope with the economic downturn: Read Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People and focus on the first habit, which is Be Proactive. Concentrate on the things you have control and influence over.
Kids and technology careers: Technology is our future. My oldest son specializes in search engine optimization at an ad agency. I wouldn't steer them in this direction at the cost of some other passion, however.
Favorite sport: Ice hockey
Last vacation: Huatulco, Mexico--I like warmer weather
Business leader I'd like to have lunch with: Kent Kushar of E.&J. Gallo
Business-related pet peeve: The phrase "Someone needs to" and sentences that start with "Yeah, but"
Smartphone of choice: BlackBerry
If I weren't a CIO, I'd be ... doing something related to marketing