August 2009 - Alumni Spotlight - Chris Lumpkin

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

August's featured IEM alumni is Chris Lumpkin, Chris is an ASP Administrator III with Automatic Data Processing (ADP). Overall Chris has ten years experience in system administration and seven years of Systems Design and Architecture. In addition to his day job, Chris is also teaching Implementing Active Directory in Windows 2003 Environment at ITT Tech.

Chris came into IT from an untraditional path when after receiving a Bachelor of Social Sciences from Montevallo University. In 2007 he entered the IEM program and hasn’t looked back since. One of the biggest surprises for Chris was that the IEM program was very introspective. He learned about goal setting and controlling his destiny and now feels he is capable of achieving more than he ever thought possible.

Chris’ favorite class in the IEM program was Business Process Modeling, because he felt that it really summed up the whole program. During the class, he was able to utilize many of the skills gained in the program in order to look for ways to make business processes more efficient. A close second was the Software Engineering course where he was able to see how a software project comes together from behind the curtain.

Chris took a different tact when choosing a topic for his IEM senior project, he decided to pull several goals together and achieve them all at once. He ended up writing a book entitled E. mortal. Chris got the inspiration for this project from many sources; after reading The Goal, he realized that you can teach technical concepts by telling a story, in addition he had committed to a writing group to product a chapter, and finally with the guidance of Don Appleby, his technical advisor. If you are interested in learning more about Chris’ book visit his website at

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July 2009 - Alumni Spotlight - Johna Ledlow

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

July’s featured IEM alumna is Johna Ledlow. Johna is a senior consultant with more than fifteen years experience in the areas of project management, information technology and telecommunications.  This exertise has been utilized in the areas of accounting, banking, construction, finance, insurance, and pharmaceutical industries. Johna has partnered with various organizations on software implementations, data management, technology strategies, compliance, security solutions and business intelligence.

Johna received her Peace Officer’s certification from the University of Alabama Law Enforcement Academy. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Samford University. Johna holds her Master of Theological Studies from Spring Hill College and a Master of Engineering Information Management from University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Johna appreciated a number of facets of the IEM program including: networking with like-minded professionals, industry instructors with real-life business experience, and the community leader speakers. For her graduate project, Johna revisited the premise that IEM was founded upon, “asking senior leadership about their needs in future leaders”. This project represented Johna’s favorite class in the program. One unexpected benefit that Johna received from IEM program was having an accountability partner to help her grow.

Since graduating from IEM in May 2009, Johna has been filling her spare time with reading, attending cooking classes and wine tastings.

Johna and her husband, Jim, reside in Trussville and attend Holy Infant of Prague Catholic Church. Johna enjoys spending time with Jim, their four dogs and cat.

Johna treasures the friendships she has made with students, instructors and alumni during her 20 months of IEM course work. Johna would be happy to speak with any prospective student and share her experiences while attending the program.

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June 2009 - Alumni Spotlight - Janki Peri

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

June’s featured IEM alumna is Janki "Jani" Peri, Project Manager with XcitekSolutionsPlus. Jani’s responsibilities include: management of an off-shore development team, architecture and design for a Swift Custodian Interface, and software development lifecycle management. Prior her current role at XSP, Jani was a Senior Software Engineer. In total Jani has over eleven years of total software development and full lifecycle experience.

Jani received a BS of Commerce from Osmania University in 1989 and a BS of Law from Nagarjuna University in 1993. Several years later after the encouragement of her mentor and Chief Technology Officer, Dan Rezter (also an IEM alumni), she entered the IEM program. Jani is one of the most recent alumni of IEM program, graduating in May of this year.

Q&A with Jani

Question: What was the greatest value that you received from the program?

Answer: I learned a lot from the IEM program. The program gave me the confidence to speak publicly, network with a whole group of people and challenge myself to work hard. Today, after the completion of the program, I feel confident that this will lead me to other opportunities in my career.

Question: What was your favorite class and why?

Answer: Project Management was a class that I enjoyed a lot. It taught me the various facets of project management and gave me a 360-degree view of this process. This was a hands-on experience since everything that I learned in the class was directly applicable to what I did at work.

Question: What did you get from the program that you didn’t expect?

Answer: I expected to learn a lot of academic knowledge, but I did not expect any real-world experiences in the classroom. We had several visits by senior-level management from various companies who shared their experience in leadership. They also shared their unique perspective on what qualities a good leader should have.

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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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