May 2009 - Alumni Spotlight - Ken Sawyer

This alumni spotlight was originally shown in the May 2009 IEM Newsletter.

May’s featured IEM alumnus is Ken Sawyer, Senior Application Systems Architect with Valmont Industries, Inc. Ken’s responsibilities include: serving as Architect, Developer, Development Team Lead, Project Manager and Business Analyst for various engineering, manufacturing and database applications, and leading the charge to adopt the Agile Scrum framework.

Ken received a BA in Human Relations from Samford University. In addition he received a Master of Education from The University of Montevallo. Ken entered the IEM program in the fall of 2007 and graduated in 2009. In addition to his academic achievements, Ken has successfully completed a number of certifications including; Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), MCAD, MCSD, MCP, and PMP.

Ken considers himself a generalist and really enjoyed the diversity of the IEM program, especially the networking and business simulation courses. Overall he felt that he received the most value from the Project Management course because it spurned him to take his career to the next level (Ken earned the PMP designation while in the IEM program). Overall Ken feels that the IEM program provided tools and techniques that he could immediately use at work and that all of instructors were very passionate about what they were teaching.

Ken and his wife Liz live in Pelham. They are currently enjoying each others' company, after having successfully raised two boys (Rob and Benji), several dogs, and even horses. Rob is currently a Lieutenant Commander in the US Navy and Benji is a Senior Web Developer at Brother. Both Rob and Benji have families of their own and have made Ken and Liz very happy grandparents.

One of Ken’s biggest passions is for scouting. Ken holds a number of awards from scouting including; Eagle Scout, Silver Beaver, Order of the Arrow Vigil Honor, and Order of the Arrow Founders’ Award. In addition to scouting Ken enjoys traveling, especially when he is visiting his two sons and their families.

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April 2009 - Alumni Spotlight - Carlette Durham

This alumni spotlight was originally shown in the April 2009 IEM Newsletter.

April's featured IEM alumna is Carlette Durham, Senior Supplier Diversity Analyst in Supplier Relations & Diversity of Alabama Power Company’s Supply Chain Management organization. In her role she serves as the primary point of contact for major business units within Alabama Power and is responsible for understanding the procurement needs of those business units and translating those needs into opportunities to do business with diverse suppliers. Additionally, she is responsible for creating and managing programs that continue to develop and expand the pool of potential diverse suppliers, as well as ensuring that the Company and its business units are in governmental compliance.

Carlette graduated with honors from Stillman College (Tuscaloosa, Alabama) in 1996 earning a B.S. in Physics. In addition to her B.S. from Stillman, she earned a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2005.

Carlette sees herself as a tweener (someone who lives in the space between business and technology). She felt that the IEM program was the perfect fit to help her broaden her horizons and work within her busy schedule. Her favorite instructor in the program was Kevin McCormick and her favorite class was the Entrepreneurship series. She felt that she was immediately able to take the new concepts she learned in IEM directly back to her desk at work.

Carlette is very active in the community, including serving as President on the Committee of 25 for Girls Incorporated (a junior board) and as a member of the Women’s Business Enterprise Council – South board of directors. She is a member of the Alabama Power Service Organization, Southern Company Women in Business & Technology, Southern Company Campus Action Team for the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Word of Life Christian Center where she is active in the Ministry of Helps. She also served on the 2007 United Way Leadership Team as Chair of Leadership Givers.

Carlette describes herself as an achiever who is confident in her abilities. She has always worked hard and strived to be the best that she can be. In doing so she was able to attend her undergraduate program on a full scholarship and have many great successes in her career at Southern Company.

Carlette’s hobbies include reading, traveling, and helping others.

March 2009 - Alumni Spotlight - Brian Cauble

This alumni spotlight was originally shown in the March 2009 IEM Newsletter.

March’s featured IEM alumnus is Brian Cauble, former Manager of Software Development for Bayside Business Solutions, Inc. Brian’s responsibilities included: managing a team of six developers, project management/technical team lead on several projects, and lead developer. Prior to joining Bayside, Brian was a Vice President of Software Development/Senior Software Engineer with Metsys Solutions, Inc. In total Bryan has over eight years of total software development, full lifecycle experience.

Brian received a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from UAB back in 2000. Several years later he was looking for a master’s degree program that wasn’t pure business or engineering and that’s when he stumbled upon the IEM program’s website. Shortly after an info session, Brian entered the IEM program in the fall of 2006 and then graduated in 2008.

Brian found the IEM program to "challenge what he thought his limits were." In addition it made him “challenge his assumptions” and “come up with new ways of thinking.” His favorite class in the program was the Technical Entrepreneurship class, as Brian sees himself starting his own venture some day.

Brian, along with Johna Ledlow, is co-founder of the Birmingham Entrepreneurship Incubator (BEI). BEI’s focus is on providing an environment to foster the creation of companies in the state of Alabama. The group had its first meeting back in December and will meet quarterly from here out. Brian says that he started the group as a way to keep from "going back to the cube."

Brian lives with his wife Amy, of seven years, in Trussville. He is a passionate Auburn fan and also enjoys basketball, considering himself a sports nut. Other hobbies include photography, health, and fitness. Brian enjoys reading non-fiction topics that interest him and help him grow.

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February 2009 - Alumni Spotlight - Adam Gooch

This alumni spotlight was originally shown in the February 2009 IEM Newsletter.

February’s featured IEM alumnus is Adam Gooch, Senior IT Analyst with El Paso Corporation. Adam’s responsibilities include: application development and system maintenance primarily for El Paso’s SCADA system. Prior to joining El Paso Corporation, Adam was a Project Manager with ADP Dealer services. Adam feels that the IEM program was instrumental in helping him land a more technical job.

Adam received a BS in Computer Science from UAB back in the spring of 2001. In addition to being named to the Golden Key National Honor Society, Adam was also a department scholarship recipient. Adam entered the IEM program in the fall of 2004 and graduated in 2006. Adam states that the greatest experience of the program was learning from others and the real world knowledge that he gained.

Adam got a lot out of the IEM program and found the experience to be invaluable. He was always kept on his toes when it came to giving impromptu talks; this taught him good public speaking skills. In addition he gained the confidence he needed to get back into a technical career. He proclaims that the IEM program took the fear out of changing jobs and really gave him a portable skill set.

Adam and his wife live in Gardendale with their three children; Lauren, Ethan, and Noah. In addition Adam has another little girl on the way this June. As you can see Adam loves children, but four is where he is drawing the line.

One of Adam’s biggest passions is for scouting. Adam serves as the Cub Master for his middle son Ethan’s den. Adam is quick to point out that scouting is an early form of leadership training. In addition it allows him and his family an outlet for their hobbies, such as; camping, fishing, hiking, and serving the needs of the community.

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December 2008 - Alumni Spotlight - Scott Tankersley

This alumni spotlight was originally shown in the December 2008 IEM Newsletter.

December’s featured IEM alumnus is Scott Tankersley, Director – Technical Recruiting with Savela Solutions. Scott was brought in to grow Savela’s IT business. Today he is accountable for the overall results of the IT & Engineering division as a whole. Scott has developed relationships with top-level executives within Birmingham and surrounding areas for both small and Fortune 500 companies. Prior to joining Savela, Scott was a Senior Analyst and Customer Relationship Manager for Bellsouth Telecommunications.

Scott received a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from UAB back in spring of 1998. From there he decided to enter UAB’s MBA program, but quickly realized that he wanted a degree focused on technology. After speaking with Dr. Callahan and others he decided to enroll in the IEM program in the fall of 2002. Scott graduated of the IEM program in May 2004 and hasn’t looked back since.

Prior to entering the IEM program, Scott felt that he had “tunnel vision”; all he could see was his role in the company. After the program, Scott was able to expand his view and horizons. He was able to network and learned to use his skills to build a new career. While in the program, Scott’s favorite class was Dr. Tanik’s object oriented analysis and design. He quickly indentified with Dr. Tanik because he enjoys being on the bleeding edge of technology. After graduation Scott had the privilege of co-teaching Technical Project Management for the fall 2005 semester.

Scott is an avid cyclist and competes regularly in events in Birmingham and surrounding areas. He utilizes his passion for cycling in order to raise money for the Alabama Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. In addition Scott volunteers for Habitat for Humanity and is an Assistant Cub Scout Den Leader.

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November 2008 - Alumni Spotlight - Hank Odom

This alumni spotlight was originally shown in the November 2008 IEM Newsletter.

November's featured IEM alumnus is Hank Odom, AVP Senior Project Manager with Protective Life. Hank has been with Protective Life since January 2007; previously Hank worked with a number of large and small companies in various technology leadership positions. In his current role, Hank finds himself managing a portfolio of large scale projects. Each project that he leads is a multi-year engagement consisting of project teams of over forty-five people and budgets in the multi-million dollar range.

Hank is a member of the second class to go through the IEM program, graduating in 2003. He takes great pride today in knowing that he and his classmates were instrumental in shaping the future direction of the program. Hank found out about IEM through his connections he made during his undergraduate days at UAB. Having graduated with a degree in Management Information Systems, he took four years off before starting his master's work.

Hank found the IEM material to be relevant and was able to use the information he learned directly on his job. His favorite class in the program was Dr. Tanik's Object Oriented Analysis and Design course. He found Dr. Tanik's lectures to be stimulating and very forward looking in terms of technology.

While Hank found the Entrepreneurial series interesting, he really has no interest in starting his own company. What he did find was that the program was able to open doors for him professionally. Hank directly contributes a lot of his career success to the IEM program. In addition he has been able to gain stature in the community, most notably with the local PMI chapter where he serves in various leadership positions.

Hank is married to his wife Kim and they have two children, Sarah who is eight and Tate who is five. Both of his kids are active in playing baseball and softball. Hank is an avid outdoorsman; he enjoys camping and hunting. In addition to being outdoors, Hank loves football, especially U of A football. Luckily for Hank, his team is on top this year, they might actually have a chance against Auburn for once.

Join Hank on LinkedIn.

October 2008 - Alumni Spotlight - Ron Baldwin

This alumni spotlight was originally shown in the October 2008 IEM Newsletter.                                            

Ron Baldwin graduated from the IEM program in 2005. Ron was no stranger to graduate studies since the IEM program was the third master's degree that he has earned. Ron already had a master's degree in education, as well as one in business administration. It is clear that he enjoys academia, which he calls his hobby.

Interestingly, all three degrees are stored in a closet in his home. When asked why he did not have them displayed, his response was, "I never found wall space that I wanted to hang them on. I completed all of those programs for what I could learn from them. Seeing them hanging on a wall hasn't been very important to me."

Each degree serves as a mile marker in Ron's professional life, as each roughly corresponds to a different career that Ron has undertaken in his thirty-year work history.

"I can remember being asked in grade school what I wanted to be 'when I grew up' and I never had an answer for that question." Ron said. "Through the years, there have been times when I thought that I had some type of final answer to that question, but then every seven or eight years I seem to find something new to challenge me. I suppose that I get bored too easily. For the record, I hope that my current effort in entrepreneurship turns into my next career."

The topic of entrepreneurship brought us back to the IEM program. "I suppose that I might have started my own business even if I hadn't taken the entrepreneurship courses. I own a couple of acres that I had thought about developing. However, I had not thought about a technical venture other than IT contracting. IEM challenged me to actually think through the whole matter and it provided me with the tools to do so as well."

As a co-founder of Facilitaire, Inc., Ron has his sight on growing a business with a lot more potential than merely contracting his IT skills. "We've made our first two sales calls trying to license Requirements-Online™ to customers that need a better approach to documenting business requirements. It has taken a long time to get to this point, but we're finally ready to launch our online service."

"I've had several colleagues ask me about IEM, and I've told them that the program offers a lot of value in strengthening your skills in technical management. I can’t recall ever touting the entrepreneurship aspect of the program since I’m convinced that it isn’t for everyone. However, IEM has so much to offer that entrepreneurship is like 'icing on the cake' – or a contagious disease."