by Katherine Walsh

2007 CIO Ones to Watch Standout Winners

May 01, 20076 mins
IT Leadership

Honoring the five individuals who represent the key qualities of successful CIOs today.

The Change Agent: Vince Mancuso

Vince Mancuso, deputy CIO of the Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC), says it’s hard to say which came first—his role as a leader or as a change agent—but there is a symbiotic relationship between the two. His most significant achievement is turning around the ReserveNet initiative, a Web-based system for managing scheduling and readiness training of Air Force Reserve personnel. Within three months he assembled a technical team, built and fixed failed applications, and stabilized the infrastructure. He also restored confidence in IT’s ability to deliver core mission applications to frontline users. Mancuso says the successful execution of ReserveNet’s turnaround comes from his ability to identify a challenge and then articulate a plan that all stakeholders can understand and buy in to. It doesn’t hurt that he is fluent in business and technology, which is critical to any transformational leader. “You don’t have to be the expert, but you need to be conversant at all levels,” he says. Adds Col. John Hayes, AFRC’s CIO, “He’s an effective change agent that translates vision into focused solutions that streamline our organization.”

Tip: A change agent’s power is derived from the stakeholders. Without valuable solutions, that power becomes insignificant.

The Innovator: Wayne Haughey

Innovation requires creativity and a certain level of risk. “The greatest innovation challenges are often not technical, but [have to do with] the ability to embrace change,” says Wayne Haughey, director of systems engineering at Pulte Homes.

Haughey’s talent for innovation has shown itself in his ­ability to conceive and lead projects at Pulte that drive business value for the company and break new ground in the IT-shy homebuilding industry. He says he has pushed the envelope by first assessing the company’s readiness for innovation before unleashing an initiative. This approach has helped him successfully implement projects that are industry leaders, including the Global Integration Factory, which centralizes and controls all data for Pulte Homes for a cost savings of $10 million annually; Pulte Home Builder Suite, the first enterprise homebuilder ERP suite in North America; and the homebuilding industry’s largest sales process and sales system integration of lead management, campaign management and CRM, delivered through Siebel OnDemand. CIO Jerry Batt cited Haughey for “driving industry-leading innovation and change through the entire corporation” while building IT’s credibility as a trusted business partner.

Tip: Continuous assessment and improvement is the key to making innovation work.

The Team Builder: Elizabeth Rockowitz

Elizabeth “Rock” Rockowitz, executive director at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, believes strong teams create strong employees who aspire to reach higher goals and meet tough challenges. “Creating a path for the team and supporting the group with a clear vision of the end goal is the first step for a leader,” she says. The belief that each member of a team needs to fit into the organization so that their strengths can shine is at the heart of Rockowitz’s leadership philosophy. That includes “making sure their managers and supervisors are setting them up for success, not failure,” she says. Rockowitz has established teams that work across the organization, demonstrate a “phenomenally” low turnover rate (no small feat as the talent wars heat up) and an ability to deliver projects such as the Health Management Engineering Division, an in-house consulting service that helps hospitals and clinics associated with the medical school realize the benefits of technology-enabled workflows. Respect and business leader loyalty are the result of her personal and team communication process and prompt execution of deliverables.

Tip: Teams need to know that what they do is important and that it has a positive effect on the organization.

The Business Strategist: Marc Hamer

Marc Hamer infuses a strong business sensibility into his role as acting VP and CIO for Raytheon’s Intelligence and Information Systems. This honoree also rejects traditional notions about technology’s role as a supporting player to the business. “I don’t see IS as a support organization—it is a clear ­discriminator for our company to gain revenue,” he says. Hamer uses his business background (stints in finance, business development and product ­development teams) to reshape his organization around business growth. “I run [IS] as if I were the owner of my own business,” he says. “That way, I can achieve success and continue to be a key player at the executive leadership level and let them know the business can’t be successful without IT.” His go-to-market strategies have created new business opportunities by reusing traditional vendor products and technologies and applying them to solve customer problems. This approach has led to the introduction of new products or new features to existing products, saving the customer time and money and proving IT’s value to the business.

Tip: Think of yourself as a leader who is as important as the CEO. Then run your IT shop like a business.

The Project Driver: Perryn Ashmore

Tight deadlines, demanding stakeholders and bumps in the road don’t faze Perryn Ashmore, deputy CIO of the Federal Acquisition Service, U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). When it comes to project delivery, Ashmore has scored successes, such as last October’s successful launch of the HSPD-12 managed service, a standard for secure and reliable identification and authentication through cards issued to federal employees and contractors. However, Ashmore says, things don’t always go as planned. For instance, it took him eight months to convince the GSA’s Federal Technology Service that its SAP implementation couldn’t deliver as expected and should cease. In a case like that, “you roll up your sleeves, get in there with them, show them that you’re part of the solution and will be there even when things aren’t going well,” he says. As program manager for the reverse migration, he led the restructuring of the SAP environment from more than $3.1 million per month to less than $250,000 per month; this resulted in improving the progress made in the transition away from the SAP legacy environment. This high-profile, high-risk project is nearing successful completion.

Tip: Consider what’s possible, then give people a vision of what they need to achieve and how they can hit that target.