Career Profile: VP-CIO/Wind River Systems

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Name: Scott Fenton Title/Employer: VP-CIO/Wind River Systems Age: In a holding pattern at 39.5 Education: M.S. Applied Information Management from the University of Oregon Tenure In IT industry: 25 years First Tech Job: Programmer analyst for Tektronix, Inc. for seven years and eventually became an IT manager. Current Role: As VP/CIO, I oversee strategic planning, large systems deployment, cost reduction initiatives, contract negotiations, and implementation of business systems to support international operations, product development, distribution, finance, marketing, and sales for Wind River. I joined Wind River in August, 2006.
What's been your best job and why? Without a doubt, my best position was in Portland at Concentrex, Inc. My career advanced from Manager through VP/CIO and an officer of the company in seven years. The leadership team was phenomenal and we grew the company significantly during my tenure there. We built a word-class IT organization and had an exceptional relationship with the business. The people, culture, and the experience is one I will never forget. What do you think is the number one non-IT skill IT professionals need today? Staff members who really understand the business and how to help grow our company, improve processes, and reducing costs are most valued. This, coupled with good communication and problem solving skills are essential to being successful in this most competitive environment. What do you credit your career success to? First and foremost, a love for technology and business. Along the way I have had several people who were very influential in my career progression and provided valuable guidance. I did complete a graduate program in technology and I firmly believe that does contribute to career advancement. The bottom line is, set your sights high, develop a career advancement plan and apply yourself 200%. You will set yourself apart from the crowd. What are the top three skills a high-level IT manager needs today? A deep understanding of the business. Long gone are days when IT leaders could solely depend on their past technical skills to be successful. Leaders who really understand the inner workings of a company from Marketing, Sales, Finance, Engineering, and Customer Support are in a prime position to leverage their knowledge and skills to deliver real solutions. The second skill is communication and negotiation. IT leaders need to be effective communicators to staff at all levels of the company, and be a true partner with the business. And finally, a love for technology and the desire to learn new things. The technology world is very dynamic and keeping up has to be a passion inside you, not just a job. What's your favorite IT resource site and why? This site has a plethora of articles and information and is updated frequently. They cover a wide array of topics important to technology professionals. What is the best career advice you've ever received? Aim high! Career advancement does not happen by itself. You have to set goals, develop a plan to achieve those goals and apply yourself. This sounds simple, but I am always amazed when discussing career advancement with people when I ask "Where do you want to be in five years?" and receive the deer-in-the headlights look, or an "I am not sure" answer. I was coached early on to be proactive, set realistic goals, and develop a plan to achieve them. Best advice I ever received. What's the top advice you'd give to a new IT staffer? Get a well-rounded set of skills to start with. I spent the first few years of my career as a developer before moving into analysis and project management. My technical skills were invaluable as my career advanced. It is a good foundation to build upon. What would you advise someone looking to find the type of role you currently have? Learn the business. A good technology background coupled with a solid understanding of business and operations is paramount. Couple that with excellent communications and planning skills, and you have what it takes to be successful. What is the one career decision you would change if you could? I wouldn't. Like everyone I have made mistakes, but I see those are learning opportunities. That is how we grow. If you had the choice to jump into any other job, tech or non-tech, what would it be? Easy question. I would love to be a golf pro on the PGA tour. Everyone has a "dream!" Other recent articles from TechCareers Hiring Report: Computer Merchant Hiring Consultants Skilled In Software Engineering, Infrastructure, ERP, Business Analysis Career Profile: IT Director/Cheboygan School District
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