Top Tech Exec Honorees
Honoree, Education | Steve Clemons
Chief Technology Officer, San Diego County Office of Education
A natural leader who inspires innovation and creativity in those around him, Clemons made a significant impact on education and the San Diego community in 2012. Along with managing a 24/7 data center, wired and wireless infrastructure, a public television station, software applications, and other technical services, he also provides vision and leadership for high-quality blended and online teaching and learning, digital resources, and a cloud-based technology infrastructure designed to empower teachers and increase student achievement. He successfully manages complicated and diverse projects while encouraging his team to be entrepreneurial and create new innovative solutions.
Honoree, Private Medium | Casey Cotton
Chief Technology Officer, Asset Marketing Systems
A key business partner to the executive teams at Asset Marketing Systems and its subsidiary, Madison Avenue Securities, Cotton brings a forward-thinking, holistic approach to his management of both organizations’ IT environments, their key initiatives, and his team of IT professionals. He’s delivered broad improvements, from workflow efficiencies to improved back-office systems, critical to the firm. Cotton has been central to the company’s success and growth with his long-term solutions and strong cost savings via implementing upgrades and enhancements. He stands by his department’s mission: “Taking complexity and making it simple.”
Honoree, Nonprofit Large | Paul Peabody
Chief Information Officer, Palomar Health
Peabody and his team were instrumental in the opening of the new North County Palomar Medical Center. Touted as “The Hospital of the Future” because of its unique blend of evidence-based design concepts supported by technology, Palomar Medical Center was named “best healthcare project” in both California and the U.S. by Engineering News-Record in 2012. Unique features include a distributed antennae system to amplify cell signals to support better smartphone communication with physicians; a technology infrastructure to support new mobile health technologies; and a medical-grade wireless network to support the integration of electronic health records, patient telemetry monitoring, etc. He is a Kettering University board member and VP and founding member of the San Diego chapter of the Society of Information Management.
Honoree, Government | Tom Kennedy
Operations Manager, Olivenhain Water District
Kennedy has vastly improved the Olivenhain Water District, transforming the district from a low- to high-information operation by developing systems that deliver accurate information to every field employee. He’s directed the implementation of a fully networked SCADA system featuring IP-based communications, a SCADA software package, and a web-based geographic information system, to name just a few of many improvements. Presently, the district is rolling out an advanced metering infrastructure system that uses fixed-base radio systems to communicate to customer water meters, allowing for leak detection and instant reads of any meter. The results of Kennedy’s leadership include a lower failure rate of pipelines, as well as overall system quality improvements.
Honoree, Private Large | Art Kahn
Director of Telecom and Facilities, American Specialty Health
A passionate leader, Kahn delivers consistent, high-quality work in all aspects of his job. He has successfully spearheaded key projects, from rolling out the infrastructure for new facilities in other markets to relocating a large San Diego call center. Kahn oversaw the demolition and construction of a 5,000-square-foot data center. His design included intricate cabling distribution, multiple fiber-based carrier feeds with diverse entry, and a backup power generation. Completed in 2012, he delivered a brutally demanding project on time and on budget. His progressive design and long-term vision to meet the needs of the organization for years to come has ensured that American Specialty Health will continue to grow at a mercurial pace and maintain excellent profitability.
Honoree, Nonprofit Small | Marty Larkin
Systems Manager, San Diego Humane Society
A dedicated IT professional, Larkin is responsible for the network communications and technology infrastructure for the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA’s eight locations, including the Central Campus in San Diego, the North Campus in Oceanside, and an adoption center inside the Petco Store in El Cajon. With nearly 300 employees across the County, the IT function plays a vital part in daily operations, and Larkin oversees network integrity and reliability. Key among her many accomplishments, she orchestrated a move to more efficient telecomm solutions at all locations, resulting in reduced costs, faster Internet, and increased bandwidth. Despite budgetary and resource constraints, Larkin strategically modified and upgraded the nonprofit’s infrastructure to better serve the people and animals at the San Diego Humane Society.
Honoree, Private Small | Kurt Cumming
Chief Operating Officer, Global Village Concerns
Cumming’s responsibilities span numerous company departments, from overseeing the IT infrastructure as CIO and heading up all operations for the company as the COO, to playing a vital role in the design and development of its e-commerce platform. In 2012, Cumming fundamentally changed the course of the company by deploying technology and productivity tools that transformed the infrastructure from fragmented and manual to highly automated and easily scalable, all done with limited resources. Improvements included the deployment of Netsuite, an enterprise resource-planning system, company-wide implementation of Outlook Exchange, and use of a custom-designed digital asset management repository.
Honoree, Cox Business Exemplary | Guillermo Perez
Vice President of Information Technology, U-T San Diego
With 20 solid years in the business, Perez is a highly skilled and respected IT executive who has recently achieved goals at U-T San Diego that many deemed impossible. Along with overseeing all technical aspects of the media organization and its data center, reducing telecommunication costs by 60 percent, and overseeing all desktop and mobility solutions, Perez was entrusted to build a television/broadcast studio last year. His efforts delivered all the technical aspects of the station, along with live streaming on the website and iOS devices, in a record four-month time frame. He subsequently oversaw the channel’s seamless launch on Cox and AT&T U-verse; it will soon also be broadcast on Time Warner. Also in 2012, Perez led the project to handle all conversion and technical aspects of the acquisition of the North County Times publication, which came in on time and on budget.
Honoree, Public Small | Gary Holden
Director of Information Technology, Vical, Inc.
An IT professional who understands broad business objectives, Holden is an inspirational leader with a nimble intellect and pragmatic instinct. Over his four-year tenure at Vical Inc., Holden has reduced the IT budget by 50 percent while building and growing an information technology ecosystem that has enabled Vical to succeed as it brings its first product to market. In addition to deftly handling projects ranging from manufacturing process improvements to the optimization of commercial product distribution networks, Holden maintained an unheard-of 100 percent uptime record systemwide for the past two years. He assembled and led a core team of employees to research, assimilate, demonstrate, and integrate Kaizen and Lean Enterprise approaches into the company’s culture. He also established and implemented a highly secured system and protocol for transfer of all technologies and historical data to a new licensee of one of the company’s major development programs. He is a driving force within the organization for progress toward critical long-term objectives.
Honoree, Public Large | Steve Phillpott
Chief Information Officer, Amylin Pharmaceuticals, LLC
A respected CIO, Phillpott is an innovator and agent of change. As an early adopter for leveraging cloud, SaaS, social, web, mobile, and big data, he has been a great source of valuable information and vetted experience over the years, inspiring other IT leaders in the life sciences space. At Amylin, Phillpott’s methodical, facts-based IT project portfolio process has allowed his team to confidently adopt a virtual business model that lowered IT and business costs, delivers business intelligence to employees more quickly, improves the user experience, and allows for more efficient business processes. His modern virtual business model also focuses on increased strategic partnering, a broader global reach, more flexibility, and a willingness to leverage external expertise. He refocused IT employees away from maintenance to become experts in business reporting and data management, and modeling and understanding the business process from end to end. He has created an online app store, from which employees can download mobile applications used by his business, and has started an iPad pilot.
Honoree, Lifetime Achievement | Anwar Abbas
Vice President of Information Technology, North County Health Services
A pragmatic visionary with a wealth of experience in technology, Abbas has excelled at developing North County Health Services’ vision and fully integrating information technology solutions into the company’s core business. He is a passionate leader who inspires employees to reach their peak performance. Dedicated to elevating patient care, he has directed the implementation of an electronic health record system and is in the process of implementing an electronic dental record system. He has been instrumental in the integration of clinical devices with EHR at the “point of care” to reduce errors and improve patient safety. Before joining NCHS, Abbas held senior information technology positions with Motion Picture Health and Pension, Texaco, Dole Foods, and Bugle Boy Industries. He also completed the executive management program at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Business Administration.