Alumni Spotlight: Clayton Simons

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My IEM Experience By Clayton Simons (Class of 2014)

Well, where to start. When I first applied to IEM I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting myself into.  Initially I was thinking IEM would be something like an MBA for engineers, but was pleasantly surprised (almost shocked) to find that IEM was much more practical and real-world applicable then any MBA program ever could be.  Everything I learned in my IEM courses I wanted to write down and save for future use.

As I went through the IEM courses I began to change my way of thinking. I learned what was important to my employer (my customer), and how to stand out in the crowd of cubicles. I learned how to add value to my customer, show my value, and always be in a business for myself. I learned how to speak professionally, and what you shouldn’t do when speaking publicly. IEM has taught me how to lead from any area in a company. Gaining further understanding of business practices and life-cycles, management in all aspects, and strategic business thinking.

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Welcome New Faculty: David George

David George IEM Spotlight July 2013
This year, we welcome a new faculty member who is also an IEM Alumni. David George came on board Spring 2014 and we are very excited to have him as part of the IEM team. Here, we interview him, so you can get to know him, and join us in welcoming him. 
 

IEM : Why did you decide to pursue a faculty position at IEM?

David: Part of my reason for pursuing the IEM degree was the thought of teaching others with the knowledge that I would gain.  Once I was involved in the program I really noticed how the individuals that were teaching the courses had a genuine interest in the clients and their success both inside and outside of the program.  I knew then that I wanted to be a part of something like this.

IEM: What courses are you teaching?

David: I am currently teaching the course titled Leading Technical Organizations.  EGR 658. 

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Alumni Spotlight: Bob Woolverton Feb 2014

This was a phone conversation, this write up represents a rough transcript of our conversation. Every effort has been given to transcribe verbatim, but some technical phrasing (like definite locations and personal information) have been left out for the security of our client. 

bob woolverton

(ringing, then Bob says hello). 

IEM: Hi this is Cassidy Cash, is this Bob Woolverton?


Bob: Yes, hi!

 

IEM: Is this an ok time to talk about the Alumni spotlight?

Bob: Yes.

IEM: Tell me a little about yourself. I think I met you at Global Entrepreneurship Week, didn’t I?

Bob: Yes

IEM: You told me then what you do, but tell me again what you do and what part IEM played in that.

Bob: I’ve been a computer programmer for 30 years now. I started at the beginning of the golden age where automation was key (inaudible). It was good work, fun work and rewarding work. I elected at some point to stay on the technical track. I got to a point where I began to rethink that [choice]…the technical track will lead you to a place where you can get stuck…it’s hard to move up if you can’t get a management position, and it’s hard to move out and deliver the same value, to get the same compensation. So I was looking for an education track. I looked at MBA for a long while, and a friend of mine invited me to hear Dale speak at a career assistance network event…this one was actually at a church. (talks briefly about the location, the actual church)

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Alumni Spotlight: Ronique Carter

Ronique Carter IEM Class of 2012
Alumni Spotlight: Ronique Carter

IEM: Who are you and what is your professional title?

Ronique: Ronique Carter.  I work for Hubbell Power Systems as the KPO Manager.  I manage change and continuous improvement throughout our facility, which includes some of the following: facility operations, product development, supply chain, key business performance indicator improvements, etc.



IEM: What motivated you to move to your current job?

Ronique: I worked at Honda in Ohio and transferred to Honda in Alabama for a plant startup project. I worked for Honda for almost 12 years. Honda is a good company, but the growth potential and lack of flexibility became stagnate issues. I was contacted by Hubbell Power Systems and they talked to me about the job description and it really fit with what I was looking for.  After I met with the VP, and the other managers at the facility, I was sold.  We were of one accord with our approaches and values.


IEM: How did you find out about IEM? Why was IEM intriguing to you? You have many options for Masters Degrees, why IEM?

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Shane Hill, September 2013 Alumni Spotlight

Alabama Tailgating Cookbook Shane HillBriefly describe yourself.  Who are you, and what do you do?

A chef want-to-be trapped in an analytical IT body.  My day job is working for BBVA in the Retail Credit Risk department managing our decision technology.  By night I cater from time to time, run AlabamaTailgate.com and host 100 of my best friends at each Alabama home game.  Roll Tide.

How did you end up at IEM?

My wife graduated from one of the early classes (#3 I think).  So I had known about the program for some time.  I also worked for a start up here in town that had some ties back to IEM.  Ultimately, my GI Bill money was about to expire so I decided to take advantage of that money and IEM seemed like a great fit at the time.

How did IEM affect your career? 

It has had a great impact.  Since graduating I have really been able to leverage my skills, sell myself and move into an area of the bank that is really allowing me to challenge myself and grow.  It has also allowed me to see that I can have some additional income following my passion.

What's a memory you have of IEM that you'll never forget?

Honestly, it was finishing.  I was not a very good undergraduate student on paper.  I had been successful and in leadership roles since I finished undergrad, but the sense of accomplishment in earning a Masters degree actually ended up meaning more to me than I thought.

What advice do you have for others traveling the same road you've taken?

Slow down.  If you enter the IEM program there always seems to be a feeling that you will change jobs.  IEM is a great networking tool, and one you should take advantage of for sure.  But, I found by taking a deep breath and finishing the program really led to some great internal opportunities in my existing company.

What book are you reading right now?

Outliers and Million Dollar Consulting

One fun fact about yourself. (Favorite movie, animal, talent..)

.       I am one of the few programmers that really does not like math.

For people visiting Birmingham, what’s the one hot spot they simply must see before they leave here?

Sloss Furnace, so much history of how Birmingham came to be the city it is today.


Alumni Spotlight: Jerry Higgs

Jerry Higgs, IEM Alumni, AT&T Engineer in Palo Alto, CA. Jerry Higgs IEM Spotlight October 2013

Meet Jerry. He's an senior development engineer with AT&T. He works in Palo Alto, CA. He just moved there about 3 months ago and credits his advancement to what he calls the "cutting edge forward thinking culture of IEM." 




Here's the interview:

IEM: Describe yourself. Who are you, what do you do?
Jerry: I am a modern day explorer. I like to investigate & learn. I live in Palo Alto, CA. I am a senior development engineer working in the ecosystem and innovation chamber. 

IEM: How did you end up at IEM? What affect did IEM have on your career?
Jerry: I started out at the University of Alabama getting my bachelors degree. I wanted an MBA, but with technology. I had a professor there recommend the IEM degree, so I came and met with Dr. Callahan. After I talked with him, [I signed up.] I didn't realize at the time how state-of-the-art and forward looking IEM was until I got to the Bay Area and I was so prepared for the innovative environment. At IEM I was taught the same concepts as what they expect out here. Moving outside the norms and being creative is what we use here--and that's the same as IEM. 

IEM: What are some of your favorite memories of IEM?
Jerry: Many school-things don't relate to what you need in the workplace. IEM is structured to put you in real life situations with real business people. You learn to manage and operate in the real world when you leave. It goes against the culture of the South--but it's on the cutting edge of what we need here on the west coast. The culture of the South makes it hard to quantify the value of the way IEM thinks and operates, but I get regular recruitment requests because of the value IEM gave me. It's exciting and compelling. There's a shortage of qualified engineers and IEM is very important in getting people out of their comfort zone to be what this field needs. 

IEM: What advice or suggestions to you have for other people considering IEM?
Jerry: IEM made it possible for me to go from a Masters to PhD. The projects they assign help me manage the complex engineering problems I face here in Palo Alto. There's a shortage of engineers that can manage projects. So few can bring a project to completion. IEM trains you to do that. 

IEM: What book are you reading right now? 
Jerry: I read so many technical books with my job that I like to read "Just fun" books, I just ordered "Wild at Heart" by John Eldredge. I haven't read it yet, it just arrived. 

IEM: Share with us a random fact about you. 
Jerry: My favorite color is black, and I love to watch cartoons with my two little girls, Gabrielle and Zoe.

IEM: If someone is new to Birmingham, what should they be sure to see while they are here?
Jerry: The Civil Rights Museum. It's neat to see where Birmingham was compared to where it is now. Also Regions Stadium.

IEM: We are so excited you're doing so well in Palo Alto. Thank you Jerry for talking with us and please keep in touch!
Jerry: Thank you.

IEM will be in touch with Jerry to see what new and innovative things his new position out in California brings for him. We are sure to update all of our readers here at IEM News with the latest. 

You can get in touch with Jerry and learn more about what he's doing at AT&T here. 
http://www.att.com/gen/press-room?pid=2949

https://www.foundry.att.com/

https://developer.att.com/developer/forward.jsp?passedItemId=5300164


Are you an alumni?
Do you have stories to share about how IEM impacted your career? We want to share your story!
Contact us here. 
iem@uab.edu
Include "Alumni Spotlight" in your subject line. 

Thanks!

Alumni Spotlight: Scott Tankersley

Scott TankersleyInterview with IEM Alumni, Scott Tankersley on his time at IEM, and how he's putting that IEM Masters Degree to work for him today. 

IEM: Briefly describe yourself.  Who are you, and what do you do?

ST:  I am a very outgoing individual who enjoys a wide variety of activities.  On a personal level, I enjoy being active, participating in many cycling events throughout the year, as well as triathlons.  For fun, I teach cycling at a local gym here in Birmingham.  Furthermore, my wife and I just had baby Kowen, making 2 boys for me!  Professionally, I am very busy working for NWN, a national IT services company offering managed services, cloud computing and enterprise software delivery.  Specifically, I work in the software delivery and consulting group overseeing many efforts with one of our clients while managing the development of a new regional product.

IEM: How did you end up at IEM?

ST: Having originally graduated from the UAB School of Engineering, I received some information regarding the program and once I checked into the details, it sounded very interesting.

IEM: How did IEM affect your career? 

ST: IEM prompted many changes in my career.  At the time of graduation, I received a promotion at work and was given responsibility of managing a large portfolio of business critical software projects.  Every step from that moment has been a step up.

IEM: What's a memory you have of IEM that you'll never forget?

ST:  Well, off the record, I’ll never forget making all the friends and watching football after class on Saturdays in the fall!!  On the record, I will never forget standing up and presenting our final project and feeling like we were pitching an idea to Venture Capitalists.  We took it very seriously and that day put a cap on what was a very rewarding time in the program.

IEM: What advice do you have for others traveling the same road you've taken?

ST:  Work hard and continuously assess your short term situation against your long term goals.  If you see any misalignment in the two, take action to correct it.


Just for fun:

IEM: What book are you reading right now?

ST:  Consulting 101 by Lew Sauder

IEM: One fun fact about yourself. (Favorite movie, animal, talent..)

ST:  I am a music fanatic.  I love just about any type of live music and I like exploring artists who are good, but haven’t made it big.

IEM: For people visiting Birmingham, what’s the one hot spot they simply must see before they leave here?

ST:  Fortunately for Birmingham, it is difficult to name just one spot.  With some of the latest improvements we have experienced, there are many things to do here.  To name one, though, I would recommend Vulcan Park and just stand and look over the city.