The featured IEM alumnus for August is Dan Retzer, Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer for XcitekSolutionsPlus, LLC (XSP). In his role as XSP’s CTO, Dan is responsible for all technology operations, which includes the Software Development Lifecycle, Project Management, Product Management, and IT/Systems Management. Dan started with XSP five years ago and has been promoted up through the ranks from his original position of Development Manager to his current position.
When asked how he managed the transition from a technical manager to Managing Director and CTO, Dan admits, “I am fortunate that the goals of the company are in line with my personal and career goals. That’s the real secret…if your goals are aligned with your company’s [goals]; the two of you can grow together.” He also adds that the IEM experience challenged him to open his perceptions from the tactical responsibilities of a day-to-day manager to the strategic and abstract modes of thinking required of Senior Executives.
Dan entered the IT field with somewhat of a non-traditional undergraduate degree – a BA in Technical Communication from Auburn University. Anyone that spends five minutes talking with Dan, will find that he has excellent verbal communication skills and is an expert in his field; it appears that his undergraduate degree really paid off.
Dan completed IEM in 2006, earning his MSEE. During his time at IEM, Dan developed the Service-Oriented Enterprise Engineering Lifecycle (SOE2L) - a lifecycle for managing enterprise-wide implementation of Service-Oriented Architectures. He co-presented the SOE2L at the Ninth World Conference on Integrated Design and Process Technology in July of 2006. Much of the SOE2L fueled the architecture of XSP’s latest product release – XSP™ V5, which is a Service-Oriented platform engineered specifically for global financial markets and built around a flexible, service-based platform.
Dan’s passions outside of the office include cultivating (unsuccessfully) a golf habit, cycling, and indulging in online mayhem via Xbox Live. He is a huge Auburn fan and attends all the games, carrying season tickets for many years. Dan loves to travel with his wife and plans on striking it rich when he vacations in Las Vegas later this year.
Even though Dan has poured much energy into his career and into the XSP product, Dan’s family remains his primary focus. Dan and his wife have two children: Carmen, their six year old daughter, and their son Phillip, who is three. No matter how hectic Dan’s office life becomes he is home every night and weekend to spend time with his family. “You have to maintain a balance,” Dan says, “Without a balance between career and family, you have dissonance. This dissonance can really impact you as a person. Any good manager will tell you that you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of the people around you.”
Join Dan on LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/in/dretzer
September's featured IEM alumni is Ralph Jordan. Ralph is currently a Capacity Engineer in Network Planning and Engineering for ATT Corp. His duties include managing projects to provision interconnections between network equipment; coordination between departments; serving on performance improvement teams; and ensuring network survivability. Prior to joining ATT, Ralph was a director in hospital information services for Charity Hospital in New Orleans supervising a crew responsible for Year 2000 rollover projects. Previously, he worked on full lifecycle software development projects for USDA and even enjoyed a short stint as a pilot in the Air Force.
Brian Rabon is a software professional with a passion for people. His love for the human side of software development has led to his extensive research in the areas of requirements gathering and user interface design. In addition, Brian’s passion finds him immersed in the fields of project management and leadership. His greatest satisfaction is derived from seeing projects and people achieve their full potential.
Currently working for Infinity Insurance Companies , Brian is a Programming Team Leader. In his role, he directs the work of nine developers to accomplish the strategic objectives of the Information Technologies department. He also spearheads an internship initiative and can often be seen at job fairs around town.
Brian holds a masters degree in Electrical Engineering, Information Engineering and Management, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. His undergraduate degree is in Computer Science from Auburn University, where he did a concentration in Management. From his studies, Brian has been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and is always on the lookout for bright, new innovative ideas.
Brian’s life epitomizes the phrase, “work hard play hard”. He spends his weekends kayaking Alabama whitewater and mountain biking. Brian also holds a third degree black belt in Taekwondo and loves competing in power breaking competitions.
In addition to Brian’s athletic hobbies, he also enjoys the craft of home brewing. He loves to share his artfully handcrafted beers with friends and family. Brian also enjoys seeing how others make their own beer, and frequently vacations near micro breweries. He is a member of the Birmingham Brewmasters homebrew club and one day dreams of opening his own brewpub.
Join Brian on LinkedIn