33 Rising Stars

Ash Brooks, 42, VP, IT Infrastructure and Operations, Arrow Electronics

; In just a short time, Ash Brooks has completed several hefty infrastructure projects, all with significant ROI; he has been given charge of Arrow Electronics’ vendor management office; and he has instituted a regular benchmarking process for IT infrastructure costs. Brooks supervises 200 IT employees (who in turn support 12,000 end users), and somehow still found the time to earn an MBA with honors. A comment from CIO Mark Settle sums up Brooks’ "legendary" multitasking skills: "Whenever Ash commits to getting something done, it gets done."

Michael Carlson, 42, VP, Business Transformation and Customer Value, Xcel Energy

; Michael Carlson’s most notable accomplishments at Xcel Energy have involved building teams and coalitions. Two examples: His participation was key to the success of Xcel’s utility of the future initiative with the company’s suppliers. And with his consensus-building skills, he turned around an analysis and reporting process implementation that had previously failed three times, and brought it to a successful conclusion in just six months. "[Mike] builds coalitions horizontally across the company better than anyone I’ve ever seen, while creating inspired teams within his own organization," says Xcel CIO Raymond Gogel.

Bill Chapman, 51, Senior VP and CTO, Avnet

; The list of Bill Chapman’s accomplishments reads like an index of IT’s major themes: alignment, ERP, contract management, systems consolidation, infrastructure integration, Web design. You name it, he’s probably done it—and always with significant cost savings and efficiency increases for Avnet. He also holds eight international patents. Yet, CIO Ed Kamins says, what is most compelling about Chapman as a leader is that despite his considerable past accomplishments, "he remains open to all possibilities that might improve his own effectiveness or that of the organization."

Cheryl Cohen, 43, Executive Director, Enterprise Systems, ManTech International

; A certain amount of fearlessness, in addition to an exemplary work ethic, is required when creating something new. Cheryl Cohen has done that several times at ManTech, starting with the position she now holds as well as the software development and customer service organization she leads—both of which did not exist before her tenure. She also took a moribund ERP implementation and revived it, remarkably completing it on the original timetable—the company’s IPO date, no less. And she nurtures a team environment where similar bold action is encouraged and celebrated, says company CIO David Spannare.

Daren Collins, 43, Director, Infrastructure IT, TransAlta

; By keeping himself on the leading edge of IT, Daren Collins has helped TransAlta become an industry leader in technology use. He supervised a complete redesign of the company’s architecture, and he and his group installed process controls, supervisory controls and data acquisition systems, wireless technology, document management and business warehouse systems, and a portal—all integrated seamlessly, and all increasing operational efficiency and reducing costs. No surprise then that Collins has the loyalty and trust of both IS and business leaders, and that TransAlta CIO Greg Wilson calls him his "right hand."

Christopher Crowhurst, 36, VP and Principal Architect, Thomson Learning

; Patent holder and former researcher Christopher Crowhurst has also been inventive in the way he has employed cutting-edge, service-oriented architecture to remove technology silos at Thomson and to create an integrated infrastructure that’s on track to produce an impressive ROI. He influences not only the company’s technology strategy but also its security and risk management practices.

Peg Davis, 45, Deputy CIO, City of Phoenix

; Municipal budget cuts in each of the past three years have made it necessary for Peg Davis and her telecom services staff to constantly brainstorm ways to survive on less. Her department’s tough approach to contracts, warranties and service-level agreements, and its regular audits, are saving the city of Phoenix more than $1 million annually while freeing up funds for new initiatives. And under Davis’s empowering leadership, the once dysfunctional telecom team now delivers customer-focused and cost-effective services.

Eric Dirst, 38, VP and CIO, Moving Services and International Relocation, Sirva

; Eric Dirst’s focus on IT projects that deliver business value has gained the respect and confidence of Sirva’s business leaders, according to CIO Ann Harten. Two such projects stand out for their creativity: One is his founding of an IT advisory committee made up of franchise agents that dramatically improved relationships with IS; the other is his development of a client extranet that not only was ahead of similar competitor offerings but was key to doubling the company’s relocation business in a single year.

Darren Dworkin, 34, CTO, Boston Medical Center

; When what’s at stake is the uninterrupted delivery of technology services in a medical setting, the term "mission-critical" acquires a whole new meaning. Darren Dworkin has implemented a number of new systems that solve problems unique to hospitals and combine IT technical understanding and business acumen. One, a real-time electronic "bed board," keeps tabs on how many beds are occupied and the status of the patients in them; another, a secure remote-access portal, enables clinicians to treat patients regardless of location.

Yomi Famurewa, 46, Former VP, IT Supply Chain and Design Systems, ArvinMeritor

; "Back office" is not a term that applies to the IT systems that do the heavy lifting at ArvinMeritor. While at the automotive components manufacturer, Yomi Famurewa constantly looked for technology solutions that would keep the company competitive. Notable among these was a new project management process that improved both customer satisfaction and the success rate of IT projects. Tireless and a quick learner, according to his former supervisor, he changed ArvinMeritor’s perception of IT from solutions provider to strategic business partner.

Mary Finlay, 46, Deputy CIO, Partners HealthCare System

; Mary Finlay led the effort that redesigned Partners HealthCare’s core IS processes, and she is now working to improve its infrastructure management. Her responsibilities are enterprise IT and major vendor contracts. She started an IT program management office and oversaw the integration of IT staff during a recent merger. She has taken on and turned around a couple of troubled projects. She has also won the praise of CIO John Glaser, who says the numerous awards the IT department has received are the direct result of Finlay’s contributions to its leader-ship and management.

Tony Habash, 38, Director, IT Strategy, Planning and Implementation Services, AARP

; A recognized business leader and change agent, according to CIO John Sullivan, Tony Habash routinely consults AARP’s business units and serves on committees that shape the association’s overall direction. When the AARP put together an IT governance process, for example, it was positioned as an enterprise business process. And strategy and planning are also joint IT-business efforts. Although his title suggests that he operates only on the IT side, Habash has clearly helped eradicate the business-IT divide throughout the organization.

Kashif Hashmi, 37, Codirector/DPM, State Bank of Pakistan

; It’s likely that most IT executives will never have to cope with foreign travel bans that interfere with their ability to hire IT contractors from other countries. The State Bank of Pakistan’s Kashif Hashmi has, however, and he’s also had to come up with ingenious solutions to more ordinary problems. For example, he launched an in-house development division that improved the relationship between IS and the business so much that he won support for a top-to-bottom revamping of the bank’s software and hardware infrastructures.

John Heveran, 42, VP and Functional Information Officer for Customer Relationship Management, MCI

; From day one at MCI, John Heveran established himself as a go-to person and tireless problem solver. Hired to take over a troubled project—a new telemarketing platform that was beginning to look impossible to implement—he finished it under budget and ahead of schedule. He’s continued to take on and successfully execute large and complex projects—for example, a global sales force transformation that involved 10,000 users worldwide and the launch of a new business unit in a record six weeks.

Deborah Judy, 46, Manager, IT Value, United States Postal Service

; Businesses talk about "IT value," but the USPS is one organization that’s doing something about it, in the person of Deborah Judy. For example, she has implemented a set of tools that allow the IT department to establish standard, repeatable processes that manage time and cost information, and she has created an integrated solutions methodology that is a lifecycle framework for developing, implementing and tracking IT-business solutions. So, even as the IT department helps the USPS function better, Judy is helping the IT department function better.

Raymond Karrenbauer, 36, CTO, ING Insurance Americas

; Integration, alignment, change—many companies have a tough time realizing even one of these requirements for success. Not so at ING Insurance Americas, where Raymond Karrenbauer’s dedication to alignment and his strategic, enterprise-based technology outlook have won him the company’s admiration as an innovator and change agent. He deserves his company’s applause: A multiyear enterprise information infrastructure project he facilitated resulted in a 20 percent reduction in regulatory compliance costs, and a data consolidation across ING’s divisions resulted in substantial improvements to customer service and sales.

Mark Kiernan, 39, VP, Production Operations, GMAC Commercial Holding

; Often technology problems are, in reality, people problems. Mark Kiernan gets high marks from GMAC for how he handles IT vendors and manages the IT strategic process. He’s earned even warmer accolades, however, for his adeptness at handling staff, and for his measured approach to solving problems. When the company telecom group experienced morale problems and lowered productivity, for instance, a voice-over-IP project seemed doomed to fail until Kiernan turned around the project—and its staff too.

Pradeep Kumar, 50, VP, Application Development, APL

; A colleague at APL says that Pradeep Kumar is respected and sought out because his solutions to business problems are both practical and valuable. Key to Kumar’s approach is simplicity: He simplifies the design of previously troubled projects, and they become doable. And he builds agility into his own software projects, such as a financial system that created a one-day close for APL, a multinational company with 300 offices. His team is deeply loyal to him, and competition for open positions in his department is keen.

Leslie Lambert, 45, VP, IT Service Management, Sun Microsystems

; "Leslie Lambert is a star example of strong, compassionate leadership through disciplined focus and astute balancing of priorities," says CIO Bill Vass. "She is the person you want to trust with your business- and life-critical systems. She essentially ’sets the rules’ for all of Sun IT’s activities, encompassing more than $350 million in spend every year." Leslie was the leader behind Sun’s successful deployment of Siebel case and customer relationship management (CRM), a global undertaking that involved both development and infrastructure improvements and greatly enhanced global business-process capabilities. She is a role model in many ways, but especially in her integrity and courage to do what’s right for the company, according to Vass.

Kim Langford, 50, Director, Road User Safety Application Solutions, Ontario Ministry of Transportation

; While the Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s mission is to save and protect lives, Kim Langford’s mission is to make sure that the ministry’s systems deliver critical information reliably and on demand. He carried out a massive upgrade and overhaul (34 subprojects in all) that stabilized those systems. And he’s stabilized his department’s application development process, instituting methodologies to ensure that mistakes happen only once. Langford’s supervisors regard him as an exemplary IT leader, one whose vision and tenacity inspire his staff to top-notch performance.

Robert Machen, 36, VP, Corporate and Brand Solutions, Hilton Hotels

; The story of how Hilton Hotel’s guests got high-speed Internet access is only one example of Robert Machen’s skills. When he took over the project 18 months ago, it had been stalled for several years. Machen negotiated the necessary technology and service contracts; in the process, he saved Hilton more than $10 million in deployment costs, making possible $2 million in ongoing annual savings. Today, guests in more than 2,200 hotels have high-speed Internet, and Hilton has a new revenue stream. CIO Tim Harvey calls Machen a charismatic and savvy businessman, whose input is valued by the company, as is his ability to ensure that IT resources deliver on their promises.

Cheryl Monroe, 52, Senior Director, Global IT Operations, Align Technology

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