- Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Winona, Minnesota. It is a beautiful river town of 26,000 people snuggled in a valley. For me, it was a great place to grow up.
- How did you become interested in IT and leadership?
I became interested in IT during junior high school. In eighth grade, I took my first programming class. I had enjoyed math but I was really fascinated with instructing a computer to follow my directions. As I learned more, I realized how powerful computers could be. While investigating college majors, I liked computer science but I also liked business. I found a major called Management Information Systems that combined both. That was the right fit for me and I never looked back.
I do not remember becoming “interested in leadership”. However, I always volunteered for leadership roles as early as grade school. I wanted to make a difference and usually leadership came with that.
- Who have been the most influential people in your life?
I have had many people influence my life. My parents were influential with me growing up. My mother was a teacher and emphasized the importance of continued learning. My father was a tool and die maker for 41 years at the same company. He was known for never missing a day of work and modeled loyalty and reliability to me.
I grew up active in many different sports, and there were many teachers and coaches that influenced me. The one coach I remember vividly was my tenth-grade basketball coach. We were a talented team that could win a lot of games by just going through the motions. During that year, he taught us about the need to always prepare, to always be ready for opportunities, and to always work hard. I realized as a young man that if I wanted to be successful in life, I couldn’t just go through the motions. I always needed to prepare, be ready for opportunities and work hard.
After I began my career, I had the opportunity to work with and for many different leaders. While there were some that stood out more than others, I learned something positive from each of them to emulate. They all had different leadership styles and I learned to flex my style working with each of them.
Finally, my wife has influenced me in many ways. I often bounce ideas and thoughts off of her. She has been a rock-solid support system and for that I am very fortunate.
- Share what SIM Minnesota means to you:
SIM Minnesota is a special group to me. I was initially introduced to SIM back in college. Company leaders involved with SIM used to come to campus and talk about the exciting things going on in their company.
I joined SIM Minnesota in late 2016 and have been able to meet and network with many different IT leaders. In addition, I was able to participate in a yearlong cohort and interact with different CIO’s. I have also heard a variety of really good speakers at the SIM events. Since taking over as the SIM Minnesota Board President, I have been able to engage with chapter leaders from all over the country. I have started to realize how much SIM Minnesota has to offer members including leadership programs and a national practice behind it.
We have a great mix of new and returning board members and I am so excited to work with them. They bring energy, new ideas and passion to our meetings. I am really looking to see how the new board shapes and grows the organization in 2021!
- What made you volunteer to be President of SIM this year?
I had finished up terms as President on two other volunteer boards. SIM Minnesota was looking for additional help and asked if I would be interested. As I learned more about SIM Minnesota and had the opportunity to interact with other regional chapter leaders, it felt like a good decision to become the President.
- What excites you most about 2021?
2021 is going to be a great year! As we come out of this pandemic and reunite as a society, we will never be the same. Many of us have been impacted with loss of loved ones due to COVID-19. However, I am looking forward to reclaiming our lives and enjoying the time with friendships and social interaction again.
For SIM Minnesota, we are taking this opportunity of virtual meetings to re-invent ourselves as a board and a chapter. We are actively collaborating with fellow SIM chapters and academic institutions to bring more value for our members. We plan to start a new sponsorship program and are generating new ideas for events. I am excited about all the possibilities so stay tuned for a great year in 2021!