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’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'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.
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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."