Changes Afoot

This morning I turned in my resignation as the “Manager of eBusiness and Commercial Systems” for Alcoa after nine and a half years with the company. Starting January 20th, I will be the “Manager of Implementation and Continuous Improvement” for the World Wide Logistics division of a large agricultural equipment manufacturer headquartered here in Moline Illinois.

My time with Alcoa has been filled with good opportunities, experiences and people. My first big project at Alcoa was the deployment of a Siebel Customer Relationship Management system, and for the rest of my career there, I have been involved in with the IT systems for the Commercial Organization. I was able to put into place a number of other systems, including Linux web servers for PHP based intranet applications, and we put into place a governance process to help ensure the projects we were working on were the most valuable to the organization. I met a number of good people along the way, and build a unique work environment for my immediate work group. I will miss working with everyone as I move on to my new opportunity.

I am really looking forward to my new direction. My immediate work will focus on working with a database of logistics data. There is quite a bit of dimensionality to this data, as it comes from all of the divisions, both inbound and outbound transportation, and import and exports, and various logistics providers as data sources. My team will also work on business process improvement projects in addition to the data related work. I believe my technical background will be very valuable to move these projects along quickly and bring significant value to John Deere in the short term.

Longer term, I am excited about the demographics as well. I will be working at the world headquarters, so there will likely be significant possibilities for advancement without requiring relocation. So far I have been impressed by the leadership and strategy I have been exposed to thus far.

Probably the biggest open question for me on the technical side will be how PHP fits into my new role. For the past year I have been doing some side consulting work for one of the third party logistics providers, creating a dashboard from a subset of the logistics data I will now be responsible for. They are very pleased with the result, but we need to determine how this might fit into the environment and longer term directions overall. Continuing this work as consulting would be a conflict of interest, fortunately I have located a very good person to turn this work over to. On the other hand, after I become acclimated to my new work, I will probably have to start the search for a good replacement for this consulting work. I suspect this role will be even less technical than my current role, so I may come to depend more on the consulting work to keep my technical skills exercised.

I found the decision process regarding this change interesting. I was not being overly aggressive about searching for new employment; I do enjoy my job and the people I work with at Alcoa. I had contacts inside of John Deere with whom I have networks who encouraged me to apply for various positions, and they have a reasonably automated means of notifying you about new positions through their external career web site. Early this fall I was approached by a head hunter on a cold call about doing some CRM work at a director level in another industrial manufacturing company. This caused me to give thought to exactly what I would like to be doing and where I should be headed with my career. It actually prompted me to respond to some friend’s inquiry regarding a PHP position which led to one of the hardest decisions I have made in a long time: declining essentially my dream technical job. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the support of my wife and the economy had just took its’ big nosedive, and would have made it potentially very uncomfortable to relocate. I interviewed for this opportunity shortly after that, but it took several months to actually materialize.

Now onward and upwards! Big changes afoot and it will be exciting to see where they lead me. Happy new year to everyone, I hope your year is filled with excitement and changes as mine is.