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.

Join Jani on LinkedIn.

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.

Join Ken on LinkedIn.

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.

Join Brian on LinkedIn.