Business Chief USA August 2019

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HHH USA

EDITION

AUGUST 2019

www.businesschief.com

PROCUREMENT

GOES GLOBAL

Connecting

the future

Holistic digital

transformation

Inside the tech giant’s transition

from PC to a data-centric model

Highest paid CEOs

City Focus LOS

ANGELES

The startups solving

the housing crisis


FOREWORD

W

elcome to the August issue

of Business Chief USA.

This month’s cover story features

semiconductor giant Intel, a company

driving an industry-wide digital

transformation and mass migration to

the cloud. Lisa Davis, Vice President of

Digital Transformation and

Scale Solutions, Enterprise

and Government, in the

Data Center Group at Intel,

discusses the company’s

digital transformation from

a PC-driven to a datacentric

organisation.

Our leadership feature

focuses on how changing

consumer expectations and

technological advancements are

changing the face of the manufacturing

industry. Victoria Holt, President and

CEO of digital manufacturer Protolabs,

discusses

the strategies the company is using

Lisa Davis,

Intel

to create and maintain its competitive

advantage. “We’re in a great position

to help other manufacturers take a

look at how they can take advantage

of IT in their manufacturing processes,”

Holt says.

August’s City Focus feature takes a

close look at Los Angeles, California,

and some of the startups

working to solve the city’s

real estate pain points.

Elsewhere, Business

Chief investigates the top

10 highest-paid CEOs in

the country.

Make sure to check out

our in-depth, exclusive

features on Armacell, Avaya, the

City of Phoenix, Dentsu Aegis Network

and more.

If you have a story to tell, please email

harry.menear@bizclikmedia.com

Enjoy the issue!

Harry Menear

03

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CONTENTS

14

Helping enterprises

realize the power of

digital transformation

32

The changing

face of digital

manufacturing

44

WHY CORPORATES

SHOULD LOOK TO

STARTUPS TO SPUR

THEIR INNOVATION


54

WESPORTUS: HOW

BUSINESS STRATEGY

CAN REVOLUTIONIZE

SPORTS SCOUTING

62

THE CUSTOMER

PERSPECTIVE

HOW CASCADES AND

SAP PRIORITIZE SUPPLY

CHAIN SUSTAINABILITY

70

City Focus

LOS ANGELES

80

TOP 10

Highest paid CEOs

in North America


CONTENTS

114

Steward

Health Care

96

Prysmian

Group

144

Armacell

130

Dentsu Aegis

Network


176

Gateway

First Bank

158

University of Alabama

at Birmingham

204

Riverstreet

Networks

192

AVAYA


CONTENTS

236

Lee Industrial

Contracting

218

City of

Phoenix

250

Simon Fraser

University

268

City of

Brampton


282

Huawei

Technologies

296

KPMG

Canada

310

Polaris

Transportation

Group

324

SSR Mining Inc.

338

Ascendant

Resources


14

Helping enterprises

realize the

power of digital

transformation

WRITTEN BY

HARRY MENEAR

PRODUCED BY

TOM VENTURO

AUGUST 2019


www.businesschief.com

15


INTEL CORPORATION

Lisa Davis, Vice President of Digital

Transformation and Scale Solutions,

Enterprise and Government, in the

Data Center Group at Intel, discusses

the company’s digital transformation

from PC to data-centric, and the need

for digital transformations to be both

holistic and customer driven.

16

U

biquitous digital transformation and mass

migration towards the cloud has become

the new reality for the world’s corporations,

governments, and educational institutions. As data

increasingly becomes the fuel powering the global

economy, new methodologies, technologies and

philosophies need to be developed in order to

remain marketable –even the industry’s largest

players are changing their playbooks. Intel, with

over half a century at the forefront of semiconductor

innovation, has been a catalyst for some of the

most significant technology transformations in

modern history, helping reinvent the way we work

and play and thrive in the digital era.

Today, Intel is both helping its diverse ecosystem

of customers and partners harness the power of

the digital transformation, while simultaneously

undergoing its own transformative shift in its

business focus. “It’s a data-centric world, and Intel

as an organization is transitioning to harness the

value that this data provides,” explains Lisa Davis,

AUGUST 2019


“Intel is moving

from a PC-centric

strategy to a

data-centric one”


Lisa Davis,

President of Digital Transformation & Scale

Solutions, Enterprise & Government,

Data Center Group, Intel

17

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INTEL CORPORATION

18

“Your company’s

ability to keep pace

with the competition

by leveraging

technology to

provide the services,

capabilities and

experiences your

customers expect

today is paramount”


Lisa Davis,

President of Digital Transformation & Scale

Solutions, Enterprise & Government,

Data Center Group, Intel

Vice

President

and General Manager

of Digital Transformation

& Scale Solutions at Intel. “We fully

recognize the importance of being

data-centric, to both our business and

our customers. Leveraging the latest

technologies that help to move, store

and process data allows us to serve

our customers’ needs better.”

Unlocking the power of Big Data is,

Davis recognizes, the primary driver

of Intel and its customers’ digital

transformation. In the modern world,

a successful digital transformation is

the difference between commercial

viability and being consigned to the

Wikipedia footnotes of history. “It is

extremely difficult to compete in today’s

market using the technologies of

yesterday,” says Davis. “Your company’s

ability to keep pace with the competition

by leveraging technology to provide the

services, capabilities and experiences

your customers expect today is

paramount. The companies that don’t

do that aren’t likely to survive.” We sat

down with Davis to discuss her insights,

AUGUST 2019


CLICK TO WATCH: ‘BEHIND THE SCENES WITH LISA DAVIS: A NEW ERA OF IT’

19

gained from a career in technology

spanning more than three decades in

the public and private sectors, into the

need for ongoing digital transformations

that are holistic, guided by corporate

strategy and ultimately driven by

customer demand.

Davis’ journey in the public sector

began as a senior in high school,

spending her summers throughout

college working in a Junior Fellowship

Program at the Lakehurst Naval Air

Engineering Center. “They were trying

to recruit engineers to come to work

for the US Government,” she recalls.

“I spent 26 years, after graduating from

Syracuse, working for the US Department

of Defense. I think I may be one

of the few people who started as a high

school senior, as a GS2 – the very

bottom of the pay scale – and retired

as a Senior Executive Service Member,

which is equivalent to a US Admiral or

General.” Throughout her career with

the DoD, Davis held almost every job

in the IT organization, rising from

a computer programmer, to managing

help desks services, to managing

infrastructure systems, to running

mission control systems, to being

www.businesschief.com


INTEL CORPORATION

20

“Digital transformation

is ultimately about the

experiences we create

for our customers”


Lisa Davis,

President of Digital Transformation & Scale

Solutions, Enterprise & Government,

Data Center Group, Intel

AUGUST 2019


www.businesschief.com

21


INTEL CORPORATION

22

a Deputy CIO and eventually CIO for

the Counterintelligence Field Activity

in DOD, and then for the US Marshals

Service at the Department of Justice.

In 2012, Davis made the decision

to leave the public sector and move to

academia, where she became CIO of

Georgetown University. “I was intrigued

by the mission, which was to take an

institution created in 1789 and continue

to make it digitally relevant for the

students of today,” Davis recalls.

Guiding digital transformations was

something Davis has specialized in

during her time in government, and

soon brought the concept of seamless

internet connectivity to the Georgetown

campus. She served at the college

for a further three years before making

the move to Intel, taking on her current

role two years later running the Digital

Transformation and Scale Solutions

business, for Enterprise and Government

customers in the Data Center Group

at Intel. “What I love about this role

is that it allows me, having been a

customer for the majority of my career

as a CIO, to now be in a position to

AUGUST 2019


EXECUTIVE PROFILE

Lisa Davis, Vice President, Data Center

GroupGeneral Manager, Digital Transformation

and Scale Solutions, Enterprise and Government

Lisa Davis is responsible for growing the data center business

and working alongside enterprise and government CIOs to

create IT transformation strategies for their organizations.

Davis joined the Data Center Group from the Intel IT Group

where she led and developed the IT architecture and

integrated technology solutions supporting Intel’s world-class

global supply chain, HR, Finance, and M&A IT. Davis is

a three-time Chief Information Officer and has led four

technology transformations over the course of her 30-year

career in technology. Prior to Intel, Davis served as Chief

Information Officer (CIO) at Georgetown University, and held

a variety of technology leadership roles in her 26-year career

in the Federal Government. As a member of the Senior

Executive Service she was the CIO of the U.S. Marshals Service

in the Department of Justice, as well as CIO of the

Counterintelligence Field Activity in the Department

of Defense. Throughout her 30-year career in technology,

Davis has been a champion for women in technology

and leadership – channeling that passion into leading

professional development initiatives for women.

She has served on the board of Mirantis, as well

as the National Center for Missing and Exploited

Children and a number of non-profit boards.

Lisa holds a bachelor’s degree in computer

engineering from Syracuse University,

and a master’s degree in human resources

management from Golden Gate University,

and is also a Certified Information Systems

Security Professional (CISSP).

23

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INTEL CORPORATION

24

influence the product roadmap and

build solutions with Intel’s diverse

ecosystem of partners that help our

enterprise customers on their digital

transformation journey,” enthuses Davis.

Having run the gamut of public and

private sector digital transformation

roles, Davis recognizes that, while

there are differences between the

“different flavors of government”,

academia and the private sector – like

speed of adoption, budget constraints

and organizational structure – every

transformation can be distilled to a few

core truths. Firstly: “Digital transformation

is ultimately about the experiences

we create for our customers, whether

those customers are the men and

women of the US Marshals Service,

or the students, faculty and administration

of Georgetown University.”

Unlocking the power of digital

transformation is, in Davis’ mind,

essential to providing Intel and its

partners’ customers with the experiences

they need. “I manage the global

business for hybrid multi-cloud,

artificial intelligence, enterprise

analytics and cyber security solutions.

We’re largely driven by figuring out how

we help our customers move from

AUGUST 2019


legacy technology environments to

leveraging cloud technologies. It’s

about right workload in the right place

for the right business requirements,”

says Davis. “Today, our customers are

managing IT environments that are more

complex than ever as they manage

distributed environments that consist

of workloads or applications sitting

on-prem and in private clouds, sitting

out at public clouds, and now on the

intelligent edge and with many different

public cloud providers.”

The complexity and increasingly

interconnected nature of enterprise

software and the businesses that

software supports is at the heart

of Davis’ second core truth: “Digital

transformation strategy needs to be

holistic, because it’s not just about the

technology,” she insists. “One of the

first things I ask our customers is what

their corporate strategy is. Technology

should be leveraged to help drive the

overall corporate or government

strategy of the company. Corporate

strategy and technology need to be

connected. Today, every company

is a technology company.”

In a landscape where technological

innovations move from the theoretical

25

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INTEL CORPORATION

$70.8bn

Approximate

revenue

1968

Year founded

26

107,100

Approximate number

of employees

AUGUST 2019


www.businesschief.com

27


INTEL CORPORATION

28

to the commonplace at head-spinning

speeds, it is a common mistake for

companies to latch onto every new

development, implement it quickly,

and then try to figure out the business

case later. “Don’t digitally transform for

the sake of technology,” warns Davis.

“I digitally transform businesses to help

them compete and remain marketable.

When we talk about transformation,

it’s about a connection to your corporate

strategy. It’s also about a data

strategy because ultimately I want to

modernize and help transform so I can

leverage the data within my company

to drive insights for the business.”

One new Intel technology that’s

playing a key role in harnessing

increased amounts of data for more

rapid insights is Intel Optane DC

Persistent Memory. In development

for the past 10 years, Intel Optane DC

Persistent Memory represents a

re-architecting of the memory storage

hierarchy. “We’ve created a new

memory pool that is non-volatile, unlike

RAM, and delivers more capacity and

better TCO,” explains Davis. “A great

use case for Optane is in in-memory

databases like SAP Hana. SAP has

been a key innovative partner in

AUGUST 2019


29

“Digital transformation

strategy needs to be

holistic, because it’s

not just about the

technology”


Lisa Davis,

President of Digital Transformation & Scale

Solutions, Enterprise & Government,

Data Center Group, Intel

www.businesschief.com


INTEL CORPORATION

leveraging this new technology, which

allows us to put large amounts of data

in memory, next to the CPU, to solve

the toughest business problems for the

company. That’s the power of this new

technology.” Ultimately, the product will

help Intel and its customers navigate

the exponentially growing ocean of data

covering the world, and draw insights

that will drive customer satisfaction and

help determine where the next stage

of digital transformation leads.

“I remember sitting in budget

committees where people would ask

me when the ‘digital transformation

thing’ was going to be over,” Davis

laughs. “Digital transformation,

certainly in today’s market, doesn’t

have a start and an end. If you continue

to evolve and try to keep pace with the

technology, transformation will always

happen.” Much as it took on a pivotal

role in the democratization and mass

distribution of the microchip over the

last 50 years, Intel is positioning itself

to be at the heart of a new reality,

30

“Digital transformation

strategy needs to be

holistic, because it’s not

just about the technology”


Lisa Davis,

President of Digital Transformation & Scale

Solutions, Enterprise & Government,

Data Center Group, Intel

AUGUST 2019


constantly shaped and reshaped

by digital transformation. Davis is

confident that, going forward, she will

be able to help Intel, its partners and,

most importantly, the end customer,

be prepared to meet the future.

“Intel is continuing to make investments

and will continue to lead innovation to

support our customers and partners.

Certainly, in the areas of hybrid cloud,

artificial intelligence, enterprise

analytics, cybersecurity and even

quantum computing, Intel is about

being at the forefront of providing the

end-to-end solutions that we can build

with our ecosystem of partners to help

all of our customers on their digital

transformation journeys.”

31

CLICK TO WATCH: ‘INTEL OPTANE DC PERSISTENT MEMORY FILLS

THE GAP BETWEEN DRAM AND SSDS’

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LEADERSHIP

32

the changing face of

digital manufacturing

Victoria Holt, President and CEO

of digital manufacturer Protolabs

discusses the strategies the company

is using to create and maintain

its competitive advantage.

WRITTEN BY HARRY MENEAR

AUGUST 2019


www.businesschief.com

33


LEADERSHIP

34

The global manufacturing industry is undergoing

a transformation every bit as sweeping and

profound as the one that took place over 200

years ago, when cottage industry gave way to

coal-powered factories and the Industrial Revolution

swept around the world. Thanks to meteoric

advances in information technology and business

practice, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is set to

remake the way things are manufactured on a scale

unseen for centuries. For the last 20 years, one

company has been squarely at the forefront of this

tidal wave of change. “We’re the leader in digital

manufacturing, in part because we were invented

that way,” says Victoria Holt, President and CEO

of Protolabs. Based in Minnesota, Protolabs is one of

the world’s fastest turnaround digital manufacturers

of small, mixed batch prototyping solutions.

Founded in 1999 by entrepreneur Larry Lukis,

Protolabs (then called Protomolds) was born from

his frustration with the slow process of acquiring

custom injection molded parts. Gathering a group

of software engineers and machinists, Lukis would

go on to reinvent not only the process by which

injection molding is executed, but also the customer

experience associated with it. “He automated all

of the front-end engineering associated with making

a custom part using software,” says Holt. “When

you look at how much time it takes to actually make

a part, a big portion of the work is that upfront

engineering where you have to put thought into how

AUGUST 2019


www.businesschief.com

35


LEADERSHIP

36

“We’re operating

at the cusp of

this industrial

revolution that’s

taking place”


Victoria Holt,

President and CEO, Protolabs

you’re going to make that part. We’ve

automated that process with software,

which is what makes us so unique.”

One of Protolabs’ key differentiators

is the way in which it engages and

interacts with its customers. “We’re

100% e-commerce, which in a B2B

world is a little bit unusual, and very

unusual in the world of injection

molding and CNC machining,” Holt

explains. “Making sure we’ve got the

best e-commerce experience and can

service tens of thousands of industrial

customers efficiently with an awesome

experience is really important to us.”

The model has proved a success.

Today, from its eight facilities located

in five countries, Protolabs provides

CNC machining, injection molding,

sheet metal fabrication and 3D printing

services to industry-leading enterprises

worldwide. “We’re operating at the cusp

of this industrial revolution that’s taking

place,” says Holt. “We’re in a great

position to help other manufacturers

take a look at how they can take

advantage of information technology

and software in their manufacturing

processes.” Holt sat down to discuss

the strategies Protolabs is using to

create and maintain its competitive

AUGUST 2019


CLICK TO WATCH: ‘PROTO LABS CEO VICKI HOLT ON THE RISE

OF DIGITAL MANUFACTURING ACROSS EUROPE’

37

advantage, and how it is meeting

the challenges of an industry being

reshaped by consumer demand

and technological advancement.

Holt has worked in manufacturing

for over 40 years. Working first for

the solution spinoff arm of Monsanto

before stints at industrial giants like

PPG Industries and Spartech, she later

arrived at Protolabs in 2014. “When this

opportunity first came across my desk,

I wasn’t sure. It was a smaller company

compared to the other ones I’d run, but

when I took a deeper look at Protolabs,

the more I realized that this is the

most intriguing business I have ever

been involved in,” she enthuses.

Protolabs specializes in creating

hyper-customizable prototype parts

for companies in need of hyperspecialized

manufacturing builds.

In 2014, the company was one of

the first digital manufacturers to launch

an industrial 3D printing service.

The versatility of the medium suits the

company down to a tee and, true to

form, Protolabs is approaching the

process in its own way. “We’re very

differentiated in the way we approach

3D printing,” she explains. “We focus

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LEADERSHIP

38

on the industrial engineer and are

completely technology agnostic in the

sense that we select the 3D printing

technologies that are best for the

industrial engineer and we will work

with the engineer to determine which

type of technology is best for them to

make their part depending on what

they’re trying to do with the part. Then

we make very high-quality 3D printed

parts with a broad range of materials.”

The added versatility of 3D printing

is perfectly suited to the hyperspecialized

builds Protolabs is known for,

and constant technological advances

mean the company is always expanding

its offerings to keep pace with new

frontiers of possibility. In June 2019,

Protolabs announced the launch

production capabilities for 3D printing

using metal. The added tensile strength,

dimensional accuracy and cosmetic

appearance of metal parts has lead

to clients using Protolabs prints for

production parts rather than just

prototypes. “We’re starting to see a lot

of interest in the aerospace and medical

device areas, where people are taking

advantage of the full design freedom

that you get from 3D printing in order to

create something very unique,” says Holt.

AUGUST 2019


“We’re starting to

see a lot of interest

in the aerospace

and medical

device areas”


Victoria Holt,

President and CEO, Protolabs

Even with the advantages of a 20-year

track record in digital manufacturing,

the landscape today is not without its

challenges. “I think people have this

idea of manufacturing as a dirty, dark

assembly line – like it was in the old

days,” says Holt. “Today, it’s a high tech,

exciting place to work with lots of change.”

She emphasizes that attracting talent,

helping young people entering the

workforce to understand how vibrant

and exciting the space is, has become

a mission-critical priority for Protolabs.

The need for top talent is only emphasized

by the second big challenge in the

industry – something that Holt notes

is sweeping through every business

ecosystem: the accelerating pace

of change.

However, generational transformation

appears to be on her side. “One of

the main trends right now in the

manufacturing sector is very short

product life cycles,” she explains.

“People expect improvements at

a pretty fast clip these days. So, being

able to very quickly design, prototype,

and launch products is a critical

success factor for manufacturers.”

In addition to short production cycles,

consumer demand for quick delivery

39

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LEADERSHIP

40

CLICK TO WATCH: ‘PROTOLABS: THIS IS DIGITAL MANUFACTURING’

and customizability is fast becoming

in vogue. Thankfully, Protolabs’ unique

business model in the manufacturing

space looks to put it in good stead

as generational change permeates

the industry.

“The younger people, in particular,

are very accustomed to 100%

e-commerce. They expect to be able

to buy a custom part over the internet,”

Holt says. “That change helps our

business because part of the challenge

“One of the main

trends right now

in manufacturing

is very short

product lifecycle”


Victoria Holt,

President and CEO, Protolabs

AUGUST 2019


41

we’ve always faced is being a little

different. We’re not like a traditional

manufacturer, so people and companies

have to adapt to our process. Buying

over the internet, which was different for

so long, has grown so much. We’ve got

demographics on our side with younger

people moving into the workforce who

are very accustomed to doing business

digitally and over the internet.”

Looking to the future, Holt believes

that Protolabs’ future is bright. “We

continue to grow. Every year we’re

adding more and more product

developers to our user base,” she

concludes. “It’s just a matter of driving

that awareness and then seeing how

easy it is to use us and how much value

we can deliver to our clients.”

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TECHNOLOGY

44

WHY CORPORATES

SHOULD LOOK TO

STARTUPS TO SPUR

THEIR INNOVATION

Ritam Gandhi, Founder and Director,

Studio Graphene, explores why

traditional corporations should be

inspired by startups if they want to keep

up with the blistering rate of innovation

WRITTEN BY

RITAM GANDHI

AUGUST 2019


www.businesschief.com

45


TECHNOLOGY

46

According to the American Enterprise

Institute (AEI), only 60 of the Fortune

500 companies listed in 1955 still retain

their place amongst the business elite. While

for some of these companies, the decline was

inevitable, for many it reflects their reluctance

to embrace disruptive trends that have

radically transformed the business environment

and the nature of consumer demands.

In their wake has come a new generation

of corporate titans including tech giants like

Facebook, Amazon and Netflix who have

rapidly become the dominant players in their

respective industries. While many of these

companies had humble beginnings as

startups, once they went public, they began

to adopt a more corporate mentality in order

to deliver regular profits for shareholders.

Tesla Founder and CEO Elon Musk is a

high-profile critic of this trend, saying that:

“Being public puts enormous pressure on

Tesla to make decisions that may be right

for a given quarter, but not necessarily right

in the long-term.”

Indeed, part of what marks Elon Musk out

as such a successful entrepreneur is that

he has retained his entrepreneurial spirit

despite Tesla now being one of the biggest

companies in the world. Many of his contemporaries,

visionary leaders who took their

AUGUST 2019


47

“I believe that established

companies would be wise

to outsource innovation

by partnering with young

and dynamic startups”


Ritam Gandhi,

Founder and Director, Studio Graphene

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TECHNOLOGY

48

companies from startup to the upper

echelons of the Fortune 500, have

long since been replaced by processoriented

executives with corporate

backgrounds.

As someone who made the leap

from the corporate world of management

consultancy into the dynamic

startup landscape, I know how difficult

it is for companies to retain their

dynamism as they transition from agile

challenger to established incumbent.

While many founders bemoan the lack

of a level playing field when it comes

to the resources available to large

corporates, being small can be an

advantage for innovative startups as

they are neither too unwieldy nor too

conservative to implement new ideas.

WHAT DO STARTUPS HAVE TO OFFER?

So, if the balance of power is currently

tipping away from large corporates it’s

worth asking what about startups

makes them so innovative. Startups

generally consist of a small team

which means they can remain responsive

to changes in the market. They

also depend for their vitality on

identifying new, more efficient

methods which means they usually

“If large

companies

don’t take the

necessary action

to stay one step

ahead, they’ll

soon find

themselves

falling behind”


Ritam Gandhi,

Founder and Director, Studio Graphene

make for more cost-effective enterprises.

As private entities, startups can

make decisions with the long-term in

mind as they don’t have to worry about

the impact of quarterly performance

on their share price.

In my work with startups, I’ve seen

how the need to break new ground

affects the culture of many successful

startups. Indeed, the most successful

see their lack of scale as a virtue

because it makes for clear-eyed

decision-making.

AUGUST 2019


49

However, even if corporates were to

acknowledge the merits of this

dynamic approach, they are fundamentally

prevented by their size, structure

and priorities from truly adopting a

startup mentality. Simply put, innovation

in the corporate world equates

to risk. Risk of wasted resources,

both in terms of dollars and man-hours.

Risk of reputational damage if a

creative project fails to bear fruit and

in exceptional cases, the risk that a

new product or technology will be so

successful that it will reshape the

industry, making it less favourable

to the company who developed it.

WHY DO BIG CORPORATES FAIL

TO INNOVATE?

While large companies are too big

and have too much on the line to be

truly creative, total disregard for

innovation is not an option. These days,

companies understand that they have

to continue innovating if they want to

guard against the threat of dynamic

www.businesschief.com


TECHNOLOGY

new challengers. Of course, casting

aside your traditional ways of working

comes with an immense amount of risk

and so it’s understandable that many

executives are reluctant to wholeheartedly

commit to new projects.

Some companies reach a compromise

that allows them to balance these

competing objectives. For example,

by implementing schemes that allow

employees to strike a balance

between their work on existing

projects and on developing new ideas.

Google’s ‘20% time’ is probably the

most feted example as the company’s

policy of allowing engineers to devote

20% of their time to personal projects

resulted in some of the company’s

most successful products such as

Gmail, AdSense and Google Talks.

While this can approach can be

a fruitful one, it’s worth noting that many

50

CLICK TO WATCH: ‘RITAM GANDHI TALKS ENTREPRENEURSHIP

AND BUILDING A STARTUP THAT BUILDS OTHER STARTUPS’

AUGUST 2019


companies have abandoned this model

as they have become large global

businesses. Corporates like Google now

span too many sectors and jurisdictions

to rely on such an ad hoc approach

to innovation. Consequently, they need

to find a framework that allows them

to continue pushing technological

boundaries while still focusing on

maximising the value of their major

revenue-generating products.

WHY SHOULD LARGE CORPORATIONS

LOOK TO COLLABORATE?

The reality is that the corporate world

is being disrupted at an exciting pace.

Therefore, I believe that established

companies would be wise to outsource

innovation by partnering with young

and dynamic startups. Ultimately, these

partnerships have the potential to

create mutual value by granting the

startup access to capital and distribution

51

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TECHNOLOGY

52

“These partnerships have

the potential to create

mutual value by granting

the startup access to capital

and distribution networks

while giving the corporate

a chance to benefit from

innovative new projects”


Ritam Gandhi,

Founder and Director, Studio Graphene

AUGUST 2019


networks while giving the corporate

a chance to benefit from innovative

new projects.

This change in corporate culture

takes many forms including mentorship

programmes and in-house tech

incubators but strategic partnerships

are gradually emerging as the most

effective way of leveraging a startups’

disruptive potential.

As corporations become larger and

more results-oriented it makes it more

difficult for innovative ideas to come

to fruition. That’s why I believe forwardthinking

companies are increasingly

looking to collaboration with startups

as the solution. After all, there’s

nothing to suggest that corporates

and startups have to co-exist as

separate entities. In the digital age,

size doesn’t guarantee future success.

If large companies don’t take the

necessary action to stay one step

ahead, they’ll soon find themselves

falling behind.

53

www.businesschief.com


PEOPLE

54

WeSportUs: how

business strategy

can revolutionise

sports scouting

Could blockchain decentralise talent-spotting

and make it fairer? WeSportUs thinks so.

Ex-Banker Latif Adéothy is applying business

expertise to revolutionise sports scouting

WRITTEN BY LATIF ADÉOTHY

AUGUST 2019


www.businesschief.com

55


PEOPLE

56

Business is often told to consider

what it can learn from sport. But what

about the other way around? What

could sport learn from business? Sport

focuses on winning, the team spirit and match

analysis, but could it also learn how to focus

on customers, empower teams and better

use technology?

Could technology disrupt sport and the

talent-scouting process? I think it could

definitely benefit from technologies that

could decentralise decision-making.

I had an experience in Africa that convinced

me to try and develop a solution. In Abidjan,

a city on the southern Atlantic coast of

Côte d’Ivoire, I came across a group of young

footballers. Boys, with sandals on their feet,

were playing on a field that looked more like

scrub than a Premiership stadium. They let

me join in for a little game. And we lost 10-0!

Despite having never set foot in a training

centre and playing in sandals, one young

player scored 8 goals! It disappoints me

that this boy’s raw talent could go unspotted

due to a lack of resources and visibility.

The sports world wouldn’t be the first

entertainment industry to be challenged

by technology. The music industry has had

to reinvent itself by harnessing, rather than

AUGUST 2019


57

“The benefit is twofold:

to give more visibility to

talent, and to facilitate

their relationship with

potential supporters”


Latif Adéothy,

Founder, WeSportUs

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PEOPLE

58

continuing to fight, technology. So, the

sports world could reinvent itself

through digital to combine entertainment

experience, performance, and the

experiences of professional and

amateur athletes.

The benefit is twofold: to give more

visibility to talent, and to facilitate their

relationship with potential supporters.

All this and an opportunity to restore

sport’s positive image, which has been

tarnished by numerous scandals.

But how would this work when so

many people play sports? In 2017,

two out of five people across Europe

“One young player

scored 8 goals!

It disappoints me

that this boy’s raw

talent could go

unspotted due to

a lack of resources

and visibility”


Latif Adéothy,

Founder, WeSportUs

AUGUST 2019


CLICK TO WATCH: ‘WESPORTUS – APP PROMO’

59

played at least one sport once a week;

three out of 10 also played in clubs.

That’s nearly 155mn, not to mention the

amateurs who sometimes play several

sports, in the park or at home. More

than 600,000 hours of videos are

uploaded to YouTube every day. With

so many people participating in sport, it

is difficult to identify the new talent who

could dominate their discipline.

The solution would need to incorporate

an innovative social network

based on openness. Today, our talent

spotting system is focused on just a

few institutions located in the richest

countries. So we need a mechanism

which could enable young talent to

truly emerge from the multitude of

amateur athletes around the world.

This is still difficult to imagine on social

networks in their current format.

In asking myself how we could

make sports-scouting less random,

I started thinking about my experience of

business, banking and blockchain. Could

scouting benefit from blockchain; the

disruptive technology that is disrupting

the business world? It is a decentralised

and participatory system and so, through

its differentiating cultural and monetary

www.businesschief.com


PEOPLE

60

value proposition, we could use

blockchain to engage the social sports

community in a different way.

Why bet on the blockchain? Because

the fundamentals of this technology are

based on the very notion of transparency

and information sharing. It is a technology

that is open to almost everyone,

is decentralised and transparent. As a

result, each transaction belongs to both

individuals and everyone at the same

time, making the system completely

democratic and robust.

This technology gives us an opportunity

to bring fans back to the centre of

sport. Using decentralisation, athletes

can showcase themselves and fans

can like them, raising their profiles to

potential patrons, sponsors and clubs.

They can even give new talent a boost

by microfunding new boots or access

to professional training grounds.

In business terms, this clearly

demonstrates how sport can better

listen to their customers (fans) and

empower them. Fan involvement could

also bring their passion and sense of

fair play back to the heart of the global

sports community.

I want us to imagine a sports social

network model that integrates

“I want us to imagine

a sports social network

model that integrates

a cryptocurrency and

gives power to the fan

communities that

will elect the young

athletes of tomorrow”


Latif Adéothy,

Founder, WeSportUs

AUGUST 2019


61

a cryptocurrency and gives power to

the fan communities that will elect the

young athletes of tomorrow. It’s not a

pipe dream. Social networks could take

on their full meaning and we can move

from a narcissistic vision to a holistic

approach, taking on the role of

revealing talent and creating a meritocracy.

The world of sport is truly at the

crossroads of funding innovations

and the emergence of new media to

reinvent the entertainment of tomorrow.

At the moment, too much talent is

never seen, never makes it out of the

park game and into the arena, because

the players never get scouted. We’re

inventing a decentralised global talent

detection platform, within the reach of

sports professionals, which will promote

champions from multiple horizons.

What if new technology and business

nous could find, support and sponsor

the next Usain Bolt or the future Kylian

Mbappé? That’s the plan at WeSportUs.

www.businesschief.com


SUSTAINABILITY

THE CUSTOMER

PERSPECTIVE

62

HOW CASCADES AND

SAP PRIORITISE SUPPLY

CHAIN SUSTAINABILITY

Business Chief sits down with Xavier Duprat,

Director of Logistics and Production

Planning at Cascades, to learn how the

business is putting sustainability at the

forefront of its operations

WRITTEN BY SOPHIE CHAPMAN

AUGUST 2019


www.businesschief.com

63


SUSTAINABILITY

64

Aces Sustainability is quickly shifting from

an idealistic preference to a missioncritical

change in operations. Beyond

reduced waste and increased efficiency,

sustainability has emerged as a necessary

way to do business to appeal to both partners

and customers.

Sustainable business practices are

especially relevant in the packaging industry,

historically one of the biggest contributors

to supply-related waste with an estimated

30,000 tons rotting in landfills. Cascades,

one of the top packaging manufacturers

in North America, is on the front lines of

sustainable business practices through

a streamlined supply chain. To hear about

their story, we sat down with Xavier Duprat,

Director of Logistics and Production

Planning at Cascades.

To get started, please tell us about Cascades

and its core values? Cascades produces,

converts and markets packaging and tissue

products that are composed mainly of

recycled fibres. With 25 plants operating

across Canada and the United States, we

are the largest manufacturer of containerboard

in Canada and the sixth-largest in

North America. In line with our corporate

mission to “improve the well-being of people,

AUGUST 2019


“WITH 25 PLANTS OPERATING

ACROSS CANADA AND THE

UNITED STATES, WE ARE THE

LARGEST MANUFACTURER OF

CONTAINERBOARD IN CANADA

AND THE SIXTH-LARGEST IN

NORTH AMERICA”


Xavier Duprat,

Director of Logistics and Production

Planning at Cascades

65

communities and the planet by

providing sustainable and innovative

solutions that create value,” and to

optimise its supply chain, we realised

that we needed more consistent

planning processes, faster planning

cycles and better user engagement

in our supply chain strategy.

Why did Cascades decide to address

the issue of waste, and how are you

doing so? We have evolved our

business processes to address the

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SUSTAINABILITY

66

“WE HAVE EVOLVED OUR

BUSINESS PROCESSES

TO ADDRESS THE ISSUE

OF SUSTAINABILITY

HEAD-ON, KNOWING

THAT IT IS AN INDUSTRY-

WIDE CHALLENGE”


Xavier Duprat,

Director of Logistics and Production

Planning at Cascades

issue of sustainability head-on, knowing

that it is an industry-wide challenge.

We understand that sustainable

business practices, like an efficient

supply chain, are not only good for the

planet but are also good for business.

What sustainability challenges has your

company faced? In order to get the

business results we wanted, we knew

that we had to make some changes.

Working alongside supply chain

leaders such as SAP, we determined

that enabling fact-based decision

making by increasing end-to-end

supply chain visibility and providing

access to information from one place

was something that we needed to

address. There was no relationship

between sales and operations and

strategy and tactical operations, which

was also causing issues. We knew

that we needed to make some changes

in order to facilitate faster planning

cycles and consistent processes for

sales and operations planning, while

improving collaboration and user

engagement across functions.

What SAP technologies are you using

to help with the project and what

AUGUST 2019


CLICK TO WATCH: ‘SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING –

CASCADES IS PART OF THE SOLUTION’

67

impact is the project having on the

rest of the business? We introduced

the SAP Integrated Business Planning

solution to provide full support for

monthly and weekly planning processes

and to enable easy collaboration and

quick resolution of issues across

functions. The enhanced data and

forecasting help our company make

smarter decisions. With our employees

and sales teams able to focus on

adding value, we were able to be more

agile and responsive to our customers’

needs, allowing us to continue to deliver

the innovative products that our

customers have come to rely on. With

SAP, we now have a comprehensive

and transparent overview of our supply

chain, helping us to be highly responsive

to customer needs.

In the end, why did you select SAP

and how is its technology helping

with efficiency? Implementing SAP

Integrated Business Planning has

helped us establish long-term

partnerships with our most strategic

customers. These partnerships

enable us to support our growth and

sustainability goals with our strong

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SUSTAINABILITY

68

focus on the supply chain. Since

choosing SAP, we have seen valuedriven

results, including:

• Improved decision-making with

the aid of more-accurate data and

forecasts (up to 80% better forecasting

accuracy

• 90% less time needed for data

collection

• Reduced costs, due to increased

visibility and improved collaboration

• Improved planning security

supporting sales to new markets

• Greater efficiency with maximised

production capacity and faster access

to relevant information for both internal

and external users

• Enhanced ability of employees and

salespeople to focus on value-added

tasks such as customer service

What trends are you seeing within the

packaging industry and how are you

adapting to them? The containerboard

industry is increasingly moving towards

a “buyer’s market,” as more capacity

and foreign investments are shifting

the equilibrium of demand and supply

in this direction. In the past, it might

have been somewhat acceptable to

operate and service customers with

AUGUST 2019


69

a certain amount of backlog within

a “weekly” window, but I don’t think

that will be the case in the coming

months and years because of this new

reality. Customers are becoming more

demanding – and rightfully so. In

response, organisations need to shift

their mindset to service the customer

in a timely manner, focusing more

rigorously on cost control, working

capital and “just-in-time inventory”

best practices.

Where do you see Cascades going in

the next five years? We need to have

a clear understanding of our global

supply chain and master new processes

in order to deliver and exceed

customer expectations. True customercentricity

will hinge on on-time delivery

as a critical differentiator, and in turn,

help organisations thrive in this new

environment over the next five years.

www.businesschief.com


CITY FOCUS

70

City Focus

LOS AN

Business Chief observes the oversubscribed,

undersupplied, high-priced housing market

in the United States’ second-largest city, and

some of the enterprising startups and firms

working to disrupt the multi-billion dollar

Los Angeles real estate space

AUGUST 2019


WRITTEN BY HARRY MENEAR

GELES

71

www.businesschief.com


CITY FOCUS | CHICAGO

LOS ANGELES

72

T

he United States’ second most-populated

metropolitan area, Los Angeles County

sprawls across more than 4,000 sq m

and is home to in excess of 10mn people. The City

of Los Angeles itself houses more than 4mn human

beings, as well as the heart of the global entertainment

industry, and home to Fortune 500

companies like CBRE Group, AECOM and KB

Home. In 2017, the tri-county area of Los Angeles-

Long Beach-Anaheim reached a collective GDP

of more than US$1trn. However, while the average

cost of living in the city is 48.2% higher than

the national average, according to Kiplinger,

median household incomes are roughly $3,00

below the US median point. This hasn’t stopped

people flocking to America’s second city though,

drawn by its cultural prominence and aesthetic

of glamorous excess.

Famously, the principalities of the rich and

famous, Los Angeles neighborhoods like Bel Air

and Beverly Hills boast some of the largest, most

expensive properties in the country. Complete with

12 bedrooms, 21 bathrooms, three kitchens and five

bars - not to mention a spa and massage studio,

fitness center and 85-foot infinity swimming pool -

924 Bel Air Road is comfortably the most expensive

home on the market in the state today,

with a $188mn price tag.

AUGUST 2019


www.businesschief.com

73


CITY FOCUS | LOS ANGELES

Luxury mega mansions aside,

the Los Angeles property market is

potentially fertile ground for real

estate businesses. In December 2018,

the median property price in Los Angeles

was $879.5K, trending up 12.9%

year-over-year, according to research

done by Norada Real Estate. The city

is also reportedly in the grips of a

housing shortage. With this combination

of high demand

‘The average

cost of living

in Los Angeles

is 48.2% higher

than the national

average’

74

AUGUST 2019


CLICK TO WATCH: ‘JACK RYAN, CEO OF REX, INTERVIEW ON BUSINESS ROCKSTARS’

75

and an economically stratified population,

there are several promising

startups looking to harness the power

of cutting-edge technologies to enable

Los Angeleno home hunters.

REX REAL ESTATE

Utilising artificial intelligence (AI) and

machine learning (ML) solutions, REX

Real Estate aims to help buyers and sellers

bypass the expensive Multiple

Listings Service process used by real

estate agents, marketing houses directly

to consumers. Founded in 2015, the

startup is based in Woodland Hills,

on the border of the Santa Monica

mountains. Aiming to disrupt the traditionally

expensive and sales-focused

real estate industry, REX pays its

agents larger salaries and incentivises

them based on customer satisfaction,

rather than the rapid closure of deals.

Unlike traditional real estate brokers,

REX charges a flat commission of 2%,

rather than the usual 5-6%.

The company also has a strong

sense of social responsibility; for every

50 homes sold, the company donates

one to a family in need, building homes

in Cambodia and Columbia.

www.businesschief.com


CITY FOCUS | LOS ANGELES

76

COVER TECHNOLOGIES

For some, just buying a home isn’t

enough; building one from the ground

up to your exact specifications is all

that will suffice. Since 2014, local tech

and architecture startup Cover Technologies

has been working to provide

custom-designed and built ‘backyard

studios’ to the residents of Los Angeles.

Cover uses proprietary design

software and a precision manufactured

building system to deliver

exceptional modern design, functionality,

and energy performance,

in a fraction of the time of traditional

custom construction. The company’s

software generates three custom

designs in as little as three days.

Cover maintains the studios make

for excellent short-term rental accommodation,

studio space, home gyms,

offices and of course, potentially cheap

solutions for LA’s housing shortage.

According to Forbes, Cover can deliver

a 400 sq ft prefabricated structure

between $120,000 and $160,000.

In 2018, founders Alexis Rivas and

Jemuel Joseph were named to the

AUGUST 2019


Forbes 30 Under 30 in Manufacturing

and Industry list.

ANDREW JONES AUCTIONS

Decorating a house can be as much

of a struggle as the process of buying

one. For LA’s wealthiest residents,

seeking out unique and valuable items

is big business. Last year, just south

of downtown Los Angeles, Andrew

Jones opened the city’s newest

auction house. A full service art

and antiques auction firm, Andrew

Jones Auctions celebrated its one

year anniversary in 2019, according 77

CLICK TO WATCH: ‘LA STARTUP OFFERS CUSTOM SMALL PREFABS

ADAPTED TO AREA CODE’

www.businesschief.com


CITY FOCUS | LOS ANGELES

to a report by the Los Angeles Times.

The two-day anniversary sale saw the

house close deals amounting to $1.5mn,

including a set of rare books by C.L.F.

Panckoucke worth $220,000.

Jones, originally from the UK,

has worked in auction houses since

the age of 16 and has brought more

than 40 years’ experience in the busi-

“The modern approach

to auctioneering

is embracing all the

modern technology”


Andrew Jones,

Founder and CEO,

Andrew Jones Auctions

78

AUGUST 2019


ness to the endeavor. Like every

industry, however, high end auctioneering

has seen its share of disruption from

the internet age. The Times reported

that, at the anniversary auction,

“in a sign of how much the auction business

has changed, only 100 people

attended in person and 1,935 participated

online.”

“It was a little confusing, disorienting

… It took about 20 lots for me to just

remember that there were people out

there,” remarked Jones. “The modern

approach to auctioneering is embracing

all the modern technology, understanding

that the good old days as I recall them

are gone, and you really have to be fully

onboard with social media platforms.”

79

www.businesschief.com


TOP 10

80

AUGUST 2019


Highest paid CEOs

in North America

81

Business Chief takes a closer look at

the highest paid CEOs at America’s

biggest companies, according to a 2018

report by USA Today

WRITTEN BY AMBER DONOVAN-STEVENS

www.businesschief.com


TOP 10

82

10

Randall Stephenson

AT&T

Randall Stephenson is an American telecommunications executive

and the chairman of AT&T. AT&T is the world’s largest telecommunications

company with its headquarters at Whitacre Tower

in Downtown Dallas, Texas. The telecommunications provider

was established 35 years ago, and today employs over 268,540

people with a revenue of $163.8bn. Stephenson receives annual

compensation of $28.7mn.

AUGUST 2019


83

09

Alex Gorsky

Johnson & Johnson

Alex Gosrky is the chairman of one of the most valuable companies:

Johnson and Johnson, the medical product company that specialises

in consumer and pharmaceutical goods, and medical devices.

The Kansas City-born businessman receives $29.8mn from the 133-yearold

company and oversees 126,400 employees. He featured as one

of the most influential leaders by Pharma Voice n 2014. He recently

received CADCA Humanitarian of the Year Award and was awarded

an Honorary Doctorate from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

www.businesschief.com


TOP 10

84

Indra K. Nooyi

PepsiCo

Indra K. Nooyi was the CEO of PepsiCo, from 2006 until 2018, before

passing the position to Ramon Laguarta. Nooyi is responsible for

the successful redirection of PepsiCo’s business strategy, navigating

it away from its standardised ‘junk food’ products towards healthy

alternatives. The 63-year-old was ranked amongst the 100 most

powerful women in 2014 by Forbes. Today, Nooyi has a salary of

$31.1mn and has become joint director of a public-private partnership

with the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community

Development, called the Connecticut Economic Resource Center.

AUGUST 2019


Rewiring the T-Mobile

Supply Chain with Digital

Technology platform

T-Mobile is known for its resolute pursuits and

unwavering focus on customer experience. Digital

Transformation was the preferred strategy and supply

chain was one of the chosen areas for transformation

in order to build foundational capabilities. The tenets

of the Digital Supply chain transformation included

Customer Centricity, Real-time Inventory visibility and

Asset traceability, Time to market and integration with

other partner ecosystems.

Tech Mahindra, #15 in the Forbes Digital 100 ranking

2018, collaborated with T-Mobile to take up the

challenge of going beyond the brief through architectural

simplifications and automation through a co-created

framework for transformation.

Whilst the idea was to shatter the architectural

monolith, the efforts were centered around “ Small

and RoI-driven” bets among the others which include

Inventory serialization, reverse logistics serialization,

IMEI tracking, and applications that were delivered

successfully through 100% agile mode of execution.

The resulting KPI’s were higher NPS, reduced time

to market, reduced inventory cycle time and better

control over operating costs. The next time a

customer connects with any T-Mobile touch point and

is able to access real-time inventory, check product

availability, trade-off an old phone for a new one in a

frictionless manner, it is the Digital transformation in

action, enabled by a robust T-Mobile - Tech Mahindra

partnership.

Tech Mahindra’s ability to deliver value to the

business with a state-of-the-art digital platform and

transforming the culture of the operations has helped

T-Mobile achieve digital maturity in a record time.

To learn more visit us at, https://www.techmahindra.com/cwce.html


TOP 10

86

Jeffrey L. Bewkes

Time Warner

Jeffrey L. Bewkes became the CEO of Warner Media, formerly Time

Warner, in 2008. He held the role for the following decade, and after

it was acquired by AT&T in 2016, he assisted with the transition.

The Media executive has remunerations of $32.6mn.

AUGUST 2019


87

Brian L. Roberts

Comcast

Brian L. Roberts is an American CEO who is at the helm of Comcast.

He is considered to be “Pennsylvania’s most powerful businessman,”

according to 2003 “The Pennsylvania Report Power 75.” Comcast

was originally founded by his father, Ralph J. Roberts, and Brian

Roberts became President of Comcast Corporation in 1990 when

the company had $657 million in annual revenue. Today the company

a revenue of $80.4bn, and employs 150,000 people. As of last year,

his recorded compensation was recorded at $33.0mn

www.businesschief.com


TOP 10

88

Robert A. Iger

Disney

Robert A. Iger is both chairman and CEO of the largest media

conglomerate in the world: The Walt Disney Company. He has overseen

major acquisitions such as Pixar in 2006 for $7.4bn, Marvel Entertainment

in 2009 for $4bn, Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4.06bn, and 21st

Century Fox in 2019 for $71.3bn. Disney has annual profits of $9.4bn

and employs over 195,000 individuals. Iger receives compensation

of over $36.3mn, and in recent months has been rumoured to be a

contender in the 2020 US presidential elections, according to Forbes.

AUGUST 2019


89

Safra A. Catz

Oracle

Safra A. Catz is an Israeli-born American co-CEO of the multinational

computer technology corporation, Oracle Corporation. As of last

year, Oracle became the third-largest tech firm, with revenue of

$37bn. In addition to her position, she has been of assistance to

President Trump, during his transition term, and she lectures at Stanford

Graduate School of Business. As of April 2017, she became the

highest-paid female CEO of any US company, making over $40.7mn.

www.businesschief.com


TOP 10

90

Mark V. Hurd

Oracle

Mark V. Hurd is the other co-CEO of the Oracle Corporation. He makes

more than his co-CEO, Safra A. Catz, with an income of $40.8mn.

Before his move to Oracle, Hurd was the chairman, president and

CEO of Hewlett-Packard (HP), until he resigned in 2010. His strict

cost-cutting at HP proved successful as the company navigated the

recession, making profit as opposed to his projected deficit. This was

apparently the motivation for previous CEO, Larry Ellison, appointing

him as co-CEO of Oracle.

AUGUST 2019


“We need to

make the world

more how we

want to see it.”

- Scott Saunders,

CEO & Founder, Happy Money

Happy Money & Alliant Credit Union

proudly celebrate 2 years of partnership,

changing the way people think about

and use money.


TOP 10

Dirk Van de Put

Mondelez International

Dirk Van de Put is Chief Executive Officer of Mondelēz

International and has a total compensation of $42.4mn.

The confectionery company Mondelēz International

has over 90,000 employees across America and

generates a revenue of $25.9bn. Van de Put has dual

citizen as both a Belgium and American citizen, and

completed his formal education in Belgium, achieving

a doctorate in veterinary medicine.

92

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AUGUST 2019


www.businesschief.com

93


TOP 10

94

AUGUST 2019


Brian Duperreault

AIG

Brian Duperreault is the highest-paid CEO in the US, with

a total compensation of $43.1mn. Duperreault has spent

the entirety of his career within the insurance industry.

He started at AIG as an actuary in 1973, before working

his way up the ranks, but left when it seemed unlikely

that his predecessor Hank Greenberg would retire.

Duperreault himself retired in 2006 but was enlisted by

Marsh & McLennan Companies to return to the industry

in 2008 to rebuild the company following its 2004

bid-rigging scandal. His second retirement in 2012 was

short-lived, as his interest in data-analytics inspired him

to create Hamilton Insurance Group, in Bermuda during

December 2013. He was called back to AIG in 2017 to

assist in the rebuilding of the company, which had been

underperforming since the 2008 recession. He transformed

AIG, building its revenue to $52.3bn. He has won

a vast number of awards and honours and is currently

a member of the Wall Street Journal CEO Council.

95

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96

PRYSMIAN GROUP

GOES GLOBAL

WITH ITS LATEST

ACQUISITION

WRITTEN BY

DAN BRIGHTMORE

PRODUCED BY

DENITRA PRICE

AUGUST 2019


www.businesschief.com

97


PRYSMIAN GROUP

PRYSMIAN GROUP’S SUPPLY CHAIN

DIRECTOR, GIANMICHELE ALIVIA,

AND CPO, NA BRIAN SCHULTIES,

REVEAL HOW ITS MERGER WITH

GENERAL CABLE HAS EXPANDED

THE COMPANY’S GLOBAL REACH

AND OFFERED THE OPPORTUNITY

TO MAXIMIZE ITS SYNERGIES

98

P

rysmian Group is now a global force in

the energy and telecom cable systems

industry. Boasting nearly 140 years’

experience, the company’s wide service offering

has driven sales exceeding €11bn via a

29,000-strong workforce operating in over 50

countries across 112 plants worldwide. Since the

$3bn acquisition of General Cable in 2018, the

group is embracing the complex transformation

required to merge company cultures and meet the

needs of a global footprint, while managing the

synergies between procurement processes,

supply chain and operations.

Prysmian’s CPO, NA Brian Schulties worked

at General Cable, starting in 2006, so he has

a unique perspective on the challenges ahead.

“While the re-organization was challenging, it was

timely,” he reveals. “We’re merging two cultures

into one and it’s not something you do in 30 days…”

Senior Supply Chain Director Gianmichele Alivia

AUGUST 2019


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99


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Arvind Parsa, Director of Metals

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CLICK TO WATCH: ‘PRYSMIAN GROUP AND GENERAL CABLE JOIN FORCES’

101

agrees: “Setting up the new organization

was only a part of the work that had

to be done. We’re now starting the

discussions about merging the ERP

systems and the tools we need.”

Following its acquisition by Goldman

Sachs in 2005, the former Pirelli

Cables & Systems (where Schulties

also worked prior to General Cable)

was renamed Prysmian. “The company

has grown tremendously in the past

year,” explains Alivia. “We generate

approximately $4.1bn in revenue in

North America, which was more or

less what the legacy Pirelli company

was doing globally. All of the challenges

are mastered here. Since the acquisition,

we’ve been working to bring these two

entities together. North America is where

the bulk of the general cable business

was and so this is where the majority

of the effort has been placed.” That

effort has included the integration of

5,000 staff while managing fixed costs,

something that has been key to Prysmian’s

success as a lean organization.

Schulties admits a $3bn acquisition

invites a period of instability.

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PRYSMIAN GROUP

102

AUGUST 2019


“Expectations since the merger are

high, and we only have two years from

start-to-finish to work on the synergies

– beyond that it becomes the normal

course of business.” He cites the

success of the integration of Draka

into Prysmian Group in 2011 and notes

that CEO Valerio Battista has stated

the progress with synergies is ahead

of schedule. Alivia adds that the same

challenge is being tackled on the

supply chain side “The first step was

to look at inventory (since the merger

inventory locations have dropped

from 77 to 70) but now we’re analyzing

more complex points including the

rationalization of our network where

inventory is kept, our flows, product

location and distribution. We need

to ensure we make the right product

in the best facility,” he explains.

Prysmian is engaged in setting new

contracts with carriers and working

on their implementation with third-party

logistics companies essential for

managing the network. “It’s not only

the logistics network,” adds Alivia.

“We are reviewing every single facility

and product to make sure we service

the customer from where it makes the

most sense; we’re looking at cost of

103

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When atoms come together, forming stronger cable insulations

and jackets, we benefit from the energy that connects us.

Advancing a world of possibilities.

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ANALYTICS, MACHINE

LEARNING AND AI”


Brian Schulties,

CPO NA, Prysmian Group

production and factory efficiencies,

but also the cost of delivery.”

Beyond the strategic change

triggered by the merger, Alivia notes

how Prysmian is always open to

dynamic change in the quest for

greater efficiencies through the

implementation of new technologies.

“We’ve run idea pilots with augmented

reality in our factories and trialed

smart devices, such as sensors, both

in our production lines and out in the

field.” The group is keen to implement

machine learning to help with its

logistics network, though Alivia

105

Gianmichele Alivia

EXECUTIVE PROFILE

Alivia started his career at Pirelli in Milan with the

corporate supply chain team. Since 2006, he has moved

back and forth between Italy and the US working mostly

on supply chain and managing the company’s B2B website.

Alivia spent time at the former U.S. headquarters in South

Carolina during the merger with General Cable. At the time,

he was in charge of the regional supply chain of Legacy

Prysmian, North America, and then, after the acquisition

of General Cable, Alivia moved to current headquarters

located in Highland Heights, KY and took a role

in the new organization where he is working

on the synergies project following the merger

between General Cable and Prysmian Group.

www.businesschief.com


PRYSMIAN GROUP

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AUGUST 2019


concedes the cable industry is quite

conservative and only implements

technology when it can serve a proven

purpose. “One of the most interesting

things we’re doing is putting tracking

devices on our cable drums to be able

to monitor where they are at all times

and ensure there is a faster turnaround

of these assets once the cable on the

drums has been used,” he reveals.

Meanwhile, Schulties believes there’s

potential to harness AI capabilities to

reduce the need for remedial tasks.

Almost a year on from the acquisition,

Prysmian Group is preparing the

significant step of merging its ERP

systems. “It will generate efficiencies

“EXPECTATIONS SINCE

THE MERGER ARE HIGH,

AND WE ONLY HAVE TWO

YEARS FROM START-TO-

FINISH TO WORK ON THE

SYNERGIES – BEYOND THAT

IT BECOMES THE NORMAL

COURSE OF BUSINESS”


Brian Schulties,

CPO NA, Prysmian Group

107

Brian Schulties

EXECUTIVE PROFILE

Brian Schulties is the head of Purchasing for

Prysmian Group North America. Schulties

has more than 30 years of experience

in the procurement field in the automotive,

foundry and wire and cable markets.

Prior to joining the company, he was the

vice president of Sourcing for General Cable.

Brian holds a bachelor’s degree in business

administration from Cleary University

and has a lifetime C.P.M. certification.

www.businesschief.com


PRYSMIAN GROUP

108

with everyone operating the same way

on a shared system; obstacles will be

removed giving us a better foundation

to build for the future,” confirms Alivia.

“We are going state-of-the-art with the

latest version of SAP, which is IoT

(Internet of Things) ready. This will

allow us to build onto it and look at

the potential for predictive analytics,

machine learning and AI.”

Beyond the challenges of the

merger, innovation remains a high

priority for Prysmian with 25 R&D

centers across the globe and a

commitment to patenting new cable

designs. Schulties is keen to act on

the voice of the customer and see the

company leveraging its supply base,

as far as its technology and ability

to provide innovation with delivery

to market. On that quest, Prysmian

works with 3PL, transportation and

supplier partners. “We’re in discussion

with companies like UPS,” says Alivia.

“How do we create more than just

a supplier/customer relationship?

How do we form a strategic partnership

with the extended supply chain

team to come up with solutions?

We’re having whiteboard discussions

to find ways of solving shared problems

AUGUST 2019


www.businesschief.com

109


PRYSMIAN GROUP

MARKS THE SPOT

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AUGUST 2019


across the entire infrastructure of

our organization.”

Focusing on shared sustainability

goals is also key for a company

ranked third in its sector by the 2018

Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI).

Prysmian is working with procurement

to identify ways it can increase the

percentage of return of recycled

plastic and wood from pallets.

Meanwhile, it is engaging with freight

providers who invest in new trucks

to improve mileage efficiency and

reduce emissions. “We’ve also joined

€11.bn

Approximate

revenue

1879

Year founded

29,000

Approximate number

of employees

111

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PRYSMIAN GROUP

112

SUSTAINABILITY

Prysmian 3rd in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index

Prysmian works with its partners

for a common goal: achieving

sustainability now and for the

future. It has improved its

ranking due to numerous actions

completed in the environmental,

social and governance fields.

These include, amongst other

things: vesting the Board of

Directors’ Compensation and

Nomination Committee with

tasks such as: overseeing

sustainability issues; adopting

inclusion and diversity policies;

implementing a Code of Business

Conduct designed to disseminate

responsible business practices

along the supply chain; reducing

emissions of ozone-depleting

substances; extending the KPIs

adopted in its own Sustainability

Report, drawn up according to

the G4 guidelines of the Global

Reporting Initiative.

AUGUST 2019


the SmartWay,” adds Alivia. “It’s an

EPA (Environmental Protection

Agency) program whereby companies

work collectively to reduce emissions

and improve efficiency.” SmartWay

offers an integrated set of no-cost,

peer-reviewed sustainability accounting

and tracking tools to help companies

make informed freight transportation

choices across their supply chain.

Looking ahead, Prysmian’s strategy

is to be “consolidators of the market,”

says Alivia. “We want to squeeze

efficiencies out of the companies we

acquire, generate cash, pay the debt

and get ready for the future acquisition.

The fact that we’ve just made a

big purchase doesn’t mean we’re not

analyzing the next potential acquisition

two or three years from now.”

The strategy is set: making links in

the chain is building a bright future

for Prysmian and its customers.

113

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114

Setting the trends

in the supply

chain sector at

Steward Health

Care

WRITTEN BY

SEAN GALEA-PACE

PRODUCED BY

DENITRA PRICE

AUGUST 2019


www.businesschief.com

115


STEWARD HEALTH CARE

Michael Prokopis, Vice President

of Supply Chain at Steward Health

Care, discusses the supply chain

strategies his firm is leveraging

amidst digital transformation

in the healthcare sector

116

A

s the largest private, tax paying, physician-led

healthcare network in the US,

Steward Health Care boasts an extensive

portfolio of 38 hospitals in the US and Malta.

Having experienced a significant transformation

in its offering over the past few years, the hospital

prioritises the importance of first-class care to its

patients. With procurement becoming increasingly

influential to the way Steward Health Care operates,

the firm created a shared services model which

evaluates how the facilities are acquired. Michael

Prokopis, Vice President of Supply Chain

at Steward Health Care, discusses his company’s

journey to transform its supply chain. “In shared

services model, we have a number of different

teams all working together,” he says. “We have

a contracting department as well as a data team

that helps us to understand the value metrics

as well as reporting out to the facilities and

observing how they’re doing on the KPIs. We have

a procurement group which processes requisitions

and turns them into purchase orders. We also have

a value analysis wrapper, which allows us to

AUGUST 2019


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117


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STEWARD HEALTH CARE

120

evaluate from a clinical perspective

how every single product that

we introduce into the supply chain

and deliver to our clinicians helps

us decide whether it’s better than

something we’re already using.”

Having taken steps to embrace

digitalisation over the past couple

of years, Steward Health Care

is currently operating two ERPs

and is well underway in its digital

transformation journey. “We’re

on a digital path,” affirms Prokopis.

“We know we’ve got to get to one

enterprise resource planning capability,

and we’re in the process of undergoing

that transformation now. What’s

critically important from there

is how you take that information

and begin to use it, in order to get

better consumption information at

the point of care and understand

what your inventory positions are.

We’re also creating a mission control

capability that will allow us to predict

our ability to deliver care in advance.

It’s not enough that we schedule

a patient for an operating room

procedure two or three weeks out.

We also then have to understand

“We fundamentally

believe innovation

is the core”


Michael Prokopis,

Vice President of Supply Chain

at Steward Health Care

AUGUST 2019


CLICK TO WATCH: ‘ABOUT STEWARD HEALTH CARE’

121

what the nature of supply is and

we can get the supply at the point

of care when we need it.”

With a determination to lead the field

and remain innovative in the healthcare

sector, Steward Health Care remains

agile as it responds to the latest trends

in the supply chain space. “The back

orders are always a problem. We have

to ask ourselves how we make sure,

with the highest level of prediction,

we can deliver the things that we’re

promising to our customers,” says

Prokopis. “It’s really about deciding

how we can predict the back order

by watching and monitoring. You have

to ask yourself what you are going

to do about it, and how you can do

it in advance in order to counter

the problem from happening.”

Prokopis believes what really

differentiates Steward Health Care

from its rivals is value analysis.

“If you look at other hospital organisations,

they have a grassroots approach

where there might be a value analysis

team that supports every hospital,”

he explains. “Most will also have

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STEWARD HEALTH CARE

122

an executive steering committee,

what makes ours different is that

we also have a product category

team serving as the inflection point

to understand what’s happening

in the facilities and generate lots of

grassroot ideas that are evaluated

and monitored for broad standardization

across our nine-state footprint.”

Due to the firm’s significant transformation

over the past two years which

has seen the number of Steward

Health Care hospitals dramatically

increase from 10 to 38, the company

considers innovation a key pillar to its

future growth and pivotal to success.

“We fundamentally believe innovation

is the core,” explains Prokopis. “Due

to the way we’ve expanded, we’re

moving at the speed of light. I like

to joke that we’re a car moving down

the road at 100mph and we’re not only

changing the tires, but we’re also going

to swap out the engine and the

AUGUST 2019


transmission at the same time.

We have to do things differently

in order to find those value pockets

and continue to drive towards quality

of care. It’s not just about consolidating

standards or bulk buys. We’re constantly

pushing ourselves to see if there’s

a way for us to improve, reimagine

and rethink the way that we’re working

in our hospitals, and most importantly,

delivering care for our patients.”

Operating with a firm customer-centric

approach, Prokopis is constantly

evaluating how his firm can become

more sustainable and drive more value

for patients. “One of the things that

we say is that every dollar we save

in the supply chain is not a dollar that

rolls to the bottom line – it’s actually

a dollar that we can now reinvest into

our care,” he says. “There’s a long list

of things to buy and do and renew

to stay on the cutting edge. I tell

my team all the time that our fiduciary

responsibility as a supply chain is that

we’re a services organisation. We have

service level agreements that we have

to not only achieve but exceed! I come 123

EXECUTIVE PROFILE

Michael Prokopis,

Vice President of Supply Chain

A leader with a uniquely business-minded

approach to healthcare, Michael Prokopis is

the Vice President of Supply Chain at Steward

Health Care. Overseeing the $1.5 Billion supply

chain capabilities of more than 30 hospitals

comes naturally to an executive with more

than twenty years’ worth of experience in

strategy, planning, and optimization. Michael

has master’s degrees from MIT and Dartmouth

and lives in Dallas, TX.

www.businesschief.com


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“It’s important to pick

strategic partners

with whom you go

through the process

of demand planning

up to five years in

advance and you’re

sharing information

so that both of you

can improve the

supply chain”


Michael Prokopis,

Vice President of Supply Chain

at Steward Health Care

from a different mindset than traditional

healthcare and provide an outside

perspective on what I think a supply

chain should look like. I tell my boss

all the time that we don’t need to

reinvent the supply chain…we just

need to correctly implement. It’s

important to pick strategic partners

with whom you go through the process

of demand planning up to five years in

advance and you’re sharing information

so that both of you can improve

the supply chain; that is what happens

in other industries with just

as much unpredictability.”

With the importance of establishing

and maintaining successful partnerships

vital to all businesses’ success,

Steward Health Care utilises a variety

of tools to help analyse a range

of different data in order to predict

patient volume to allow staff to be

treated accordingly. Prokopis explains

what he looks for when seeking

to formulate a successful strategic

relationship. “At the end of the day,

a good partner is the one that says,

‘If we do this or if we try that, we have

the opportunity to move this KPI

or metric’. We’re always looking

for ‘strategic’ partners; we hope

someone’s going to come to us and

say, ‘Here’s some ideas that we haven’t

implemented or maybe you haven’t

contemplated. Let’s see if we can

figure out how to do this together’.

Those are the kinds of things that

are extremely important to do. To me,

a partner is someone who really wants

to work with you, that generates new

ways of doing things and thinks outside

the box to see if we can approach the

problem from a different perspective.”

125

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STEWARD HEALTH CARE

126

AUGUST 2019


23,000+

Employees

worldwide

2010

Year founded

38

Hospitals in the US

and Malta

127

www.businesschief.com


STEWARD HEALTH CARE


“To me, a partner

is someone who

really wants to

work with you, that

generates new

ways of doing

things and thinks

outside the box”


Michael Prokopis,

Vice President of Supply Chain

at Steward Health Care

Looking to the future, Prokopis has

a clear vision of how his company can

continue to grow over the next few

years. He believes the key to future

success is to constantly monitor

the supply chain. “We’ve just opened

two facilities in April. One was an

acquisition and the other was a facility

that had been shut down that we

reopened the doors for,” he notes.

“At the end of the day, you take the

supply chain that you’re developing

and look for an opportunity to firstly

convert a hospital that was doing

things differently, and secondly

provide an opportunity where

you’re literally starting from scratch.

You have to ask yourself how you make

sure that when the first patient walks

in the door, they’re going to get exactly

what they need in the time that they

need it in. That’s the key.”

129

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130

+

Procurement

goes global

at Dentsu Aegis

Network

WRITTEN

BY

DAN BRIGHTMORE

PRODUCED BY

DENITRA PRICE

AUGUST 2019


131

=

www.businesschief.com


DENTSU AEGIS NETWORK

Dentsu Aegis Network is tackling

the need for a centralized

procurement function to meet the

demands of a strategy targeting

growth through acquisition

132

T

he Dentsu Aegis Network is the first

global marketing services group built

for the digital economy; designed around

the needs of its customers with the goal of driving

sustainable business growth for their brands and

business. Growth through acquisitions (such as

Merkle), aligned with organic development, is key

to the company’s own strategy. To keep pace with

that growth it became essential for Dentsu Aegis

to create a centralized procurement team in each

of its regions of operation.

Sabrina Traskos, Senior Vice President, Procurement,

heads up the organization’s American

Procurement Team. “My team is responsible for

the entire spectrum of procurement activities, from

strategic sourcing all the way through to issuing

POs and ensuring invoices are correct; as well

as looking after real estate and facilities on a day

to day basis,” she says. “The focus of what we’re

doing is supporting the entire network throughout

the procurement lifecycle.”

The challenge for Traskos and her team is to build

out a centralized function while assisting the

brands across the Dentsu Aegis Network with their

AUGUST 2019


www.businesschief.com

133


DENTSU AEGIS NETWORK

134

EXECUTIVE PROFILE

Sabrina Traskos, Senior Vice President, Procurement

Traskos is a proven team leader with extensive international

experience in contract negotiations, strategic partnerships, OEM

and licensing deals. Her procurement and project management

responsibilities deliver a significant impact to a company’s bottom

line. As a former Senior Director at GPO Broadlane she

managed strategic sourcing on behalf of healthcare

providers... “Learning how to talk about requirements

in an unbiased way and gain consensus and buy-in

from the different organizations was a great

experience which prepared me for working with 32

different brands across the Dentsu Aegis network.”

At Dentsu Aegis she manages the integration of

new tech initiatives, adding value and efficiencies

to its supply chain management while pushing

forward with the firm’s sustainability goals.

AUGUST 2019


“Cisco is helping us

move the employee

base into as few

facilities as possible”


Sabrina Traskos,

Senior Vice President, Procurement, Dentsu Aegis Network

procurement transformation. “We

have 32 business units in the United

States so we’re getting 32 different

constituencies on board with our

Source-to-Pay process,” explains

Traskos. “For some of them, it’s the

first time they’re doing a purchase

order, so a solid communications

plan is an absolute necessity for us.

It doesn’t stop when we sign the

contract with the supplier and get

them loaded into the Source-to-Pay

system. We have to make sure all of

the relevant stakeholders know who

our suppliers are, what the process

is and what the transition plan is to

switch to newly selected suppliers.”

Consensus building is integral to

improving efficiency. “We aim to give

people a say in the design of the

processes and choosing the vendors,”

pledges Traskos. “After all, they’re the

subject matter experts who know what

they need best.” The next step to

tackle is integrating the right technology.

“When we win a new client, we

often have to get up and running very

quickly. Procurement needs to support

whatever they need – it could be

research, technology or recruiting, for

example – with very quick turnaround,”

explains Traskos. “But this can lead to

wildly different approaches across the

network which could present a data

135

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integrity issue. Procurement has a

central role in harmonizing the process

and making sure the purchasing data

stays consistent.”

The pathway to the successful

integration of new brands into Dentsu

Aegis’ processes is aided by a

governance structure. “Steering

committees are at the heart of this,”

says Traskos. “We have representatives

from each of the business units

and we meet regularly to discuss

procurement projects, potential

savings and to analyze any disruptive

technologies.” She believes it’s vital

to build a community approach to

change while providing the opportunity

to learn from your peers.

To support positive disruption, what

innovations is Dentsu Aegis embracing

on its procurement transformation

quest? Traskos is excited about the

advent of Source-to-Pay across

Dentsu Aegis Network. “Previously,

it’s been a bit of a journey just to get

aggregated spend or figure out how

much we spend in a particular category

or with different suppliers. Source-to-

Pay’s spend analytics is going to help

the team leapfrog to another level

where we can provide our internal

clients with recommendations and

137

CLICK TO WATCH: ‘SUSTAINABLE PROCUREMENT AT DENTSU US’

www.businesschief.com


DENTSU AEGIS NETWORK

138

opportunities to save, build partnerships

where appropriate, and really

improve overall vendor management

and relationships.” She believes

building an ecosystem will improve

user experience and bring through

more initiatives to enhance efficiencies

and savings.

Currently, Dentsu Aegis is keenly

focused on the benefits of automation.

Dentsu’s Automation Team works with

Catalytic and UI Path on robotics and

RPA (Robotic Process Automation) to

aid the transition from paper to digital.

“We’ve been able to achieve some

significant savings in terms of reducing

the amount of time staff spend on basic

tasks,” says Traskos. “This enables us

to shift our employees’ time to work on

more strategic functions and that

benefits our clients. The success of the

efforts to date allow us to roll out more

automation of other processes.”

As Dentsu has grown through

acquisition, its real estate portfolio has

grown as well. Now, the company

seeks to work on real estate consolidation

in order to reduce the overall costs

of running so many offices. For Traskos

alongside Chris Bendowski, VP of Real

Estate and Facilities, to achieve this

AUGUST 2019


2013

Year founded

35,000+

Approximate number

of employees

1,000

Clients

50%

Revenue driven

by digital

without disruption, partnerships with

the likes of Canon Solutions America

are key. Canon, the leading camera

and print solutions business, a leading

imaging technology and managed

services company, is providing office

services to ensure robust support for

the smooth running of office functions

for all employees. “Canon Solutions

America supports us with everything

from traditional printers to reception

and event services. We have about a

hundred offices in the US alone, with

as many as seven in some cities,” adds

says Traskos. “Canon Solutions

America is our essential partner in

providing the staffing to support these

offices with the highest level of service

to the organization,” adds Chris

Bendowski. “As we renovate office

space and design offices more

conducive to collaboration, we need

network and WiFi support to create a

stable and high performing environment

in the workplace. Cisco solutions

help us achieve that with a high level of

confidence while achieving savings.”

Cisco are also involved with a project

to install POE (Power Over Ethernet)

lighting to provide energy savings

across the organization. “The beautiful

139

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AUGUST 2019

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thing about POE is the ability to collect

data from all your devices and look at

room utilization, who is using the room

and the capabilities that come along

with that. For example, you can adjust

the temperature of a conference suite

according to the number of occupants.

Big Data is helping us drive efficiencies

here, and offer a customized experience

for our employees.”

Looking at trends across the procurement

panorama, Traskos is enthused

by the way data accessible via user

friendly dashboards is enabling category

managers like Sultan Bajwa to make

quick decisions on her team, both on

a tactical and strategic basis. “All of the

data provided via IoT sensors can lead

us towards greater savings. For example,

the ability to look at energy consumption

by floor helps us streamline processes

and become more cost efficient.”

Sustainable procurement is a top

priority for Dentsu Aegis Network in

2019 and beyond. “We’re getting the

message out there to make sure our

suppliers understand how important

it is,” confirms Traskos. “Source-to-Pay

can help us set up the initial relationship.

From the initial RFP, a supplier will see

Dentsu’s statement on sustainable

procurement, they see how much of

the scoring is based on them having

a verifiable sustainable procurement

141

www.businesschief.com


DENTSU AEGIS NETWORK

“Source-to-Pay’s spend

analytics is going to help

the team leapfrog to another

level where we can provide

our internal client base

with recommendations

and opportunities to save”

142


Sabrina Traskos,

Senior Vice President, Procurement, Dentsu Aegis Network

program within their organization, and

how they should align with the UN

SDGs (United Nations Sustainable

Development Goals). Once they

become a supplier, we communicate

on how our sustainability program is

progressing, and more specifics on

what we require within the various

categories. The communication must

occur on a regular basis to build a

community in tune with our objectives

and further the SDGs.”

While Traskos notes that all procurement

organizations are focused on

savings targets, continuous monitoring

via data now allows for a more nuanced

approach able to identify areas for

acceleration to meet the organization’s

goals. “Our center of excellence, led

by Alex Love, pays really close attention

to savings and trying to help different

business units achieve their objectives,”

she maintains. “Source-to-Pay will

provide a big lift for us but we don’t

want to underestimate the change

management that’s involved.”

AUGUST 2019


143

Allied to its financial and sustainability

goals for procurement, Traskos is keen

to encourage communication across the

business around reducing its carbon

footprint. “For travel and expenses, how

do we partner with IT so that we can

leverage Microsoft Teams to its full

potential? What else can we do to

partner with different airlines and

reduce our carbon footprint? What can

we do with S2P in terms of making sure

that the SDGs are being pushed out

to our different supplier partners?

Not only are we making it 15% of our

scoring, to determine who to partner

with and who has made this a priority,

but we’re trying to make this more

visible by building a communication

strategy around it. Not just for within

www.businesschief.com


144

Creating value

and sustainability

through technology

in the Armacell

supply chain

WRITTEN BY

HARRY MENEAR

PRODUCED BY

DENITRA PRICE

AUGUST 2019


www.businesschief.com

145


ARMACELL

Amber Jesic, General Manager,

Supply Chain, Americas at Armacell

discusses using technology to

pursue best sustainable practice

in the company’s supply chain

146

T

he global perception of the supply chain

has undergone a revolution over the past

decade. What was once a series of

independent nodes in a scattered network

of buyers and suppliers conducting transactional

deals has transformed into something far more

delicate, complex and effective. “Organizations

are becoming more sophisticated in the supply

chain space. As they become better at supply

chain and inventory management, they’re becoming

more aware of the opportunities associated with

the supply chain becoming more interdependent

and approached from an end-to-end perspective,”

says Amber Jesic, General Manager, Supply

Chain, Americas at Armacell. “The increasing

availability of real-time reporting and visibility,

as well as increasing customer expectations,

has certainly caused supply chains to evolve in

recent years.” As the global supply chain industry

changes, this newfound maturity opens up

avenues for companies to fulfil ambitions and

live up to core values in new ways.

AUGUST 2019


147

Production lines in Mebane, NC

Armacell manufactures structural PET panels

in Brampton, Ontario, Canada.

www.businesschief.com


ARMACELL

148

As a global leader in the insulation

market, Armacell’s products are vital

to making projects in the construction

and manufacturing space more energyefficient,

and therefore sustainable.

For Jesic, her role at Armacell was the

perfect fit. “Sustainability is not only

personally important to me, but it’s

also the basis of how Armacell

operates,” she says. “The company

has a culture of global collaboration

and innovation that was appealing and

they’re also open to change. I saw the

role as a chance to make contributions

to the organization, and an opportunity

“Sustainability

is not only

personally

important to

me, but also

the basis of

how Armacell

operates”


Amber Jesic,

General Manager, Supply Chain,

Americas, Armacell

Elastomeric foam sheets and rolls are stored before shipping

out of Armacell’s component foam plant in Conover, NC

AUGUST 2019


CLICK TO WATCH: ‘MAKING A DIFFERENCE AROUND THE WORLD’

149

to leverage our holistic network and

supply chain to drive competitive

advantage and drive efficiencies.

A lot of our products drive sustainability.

Our ArmaFlex closed cell foam

insulation saves 140 times more

energy over the course of its life than

needed to manufacture and transport

it.” We spoke to Jesic about the ways

in which Armacell is harnessing

cutting-edge technology in order to

drive supply chain innovation, not

only to create value, but make the

company more sustainable.

Although Armacell itself was

officially incorporated in 2000, its

origins can be traced back to the

1860s and Armstrong World Industries.

In 1954, Armstrong was responsible

for the invention of ArmaFlex, the

world’s first flexible insulation product,

carving out its own industry niche

that it has dominated ever since.

In addition to making flexible products,

Armacell is committed to ensuring that,

as a company, it stands by its principles

of sustainability. “As a multi-materials

and multi-product company, we apply

world-class practices every day

and expand into adjacent technical

www.businesschief.com


ARMACELL

150

“Technology

provides an

opportunity to

simultaneously

reduce costs

and improve

service”


Amber Jesic,

General Manager, Supply Chain,

Americas, Armacell

insulation end markets, continuously

extending our temperature range

and equipment verticals,” Jesic says.

“We substitute the legacy materials

of our competition with our innovative

solutions and reinforce our premium

brand position to create value for

equipment owners, specifier engineers,

contractors and investors.”

Jesic’s role provides a broad mandate

and list of responsibilities, as she

oversees purchasing, planning, distribution,

transportation and compliance.

She and her team are working to deploy

sustainable technology and strategies

across Armacell’s supply chain, from

converting the company’s shipping

lines to an intermodal approach and

reducing miles travelled, to recycling

over one billion plastic bottles into

polyethylene terephthalate (PET)

products. “Beyond the benefits we

seek to realize through technology,

we also are committed to best practices

that impact the environment. To reduce

waste, we have cases where we also

donate our scrap to prevent it from

going into landfills,” says Jesic. “It can

AUGUST 2019


e used in the carpet industry as

a padded base for installations,

sometimes it’s used for the foam

padding in children’s playgrounds –

the breadth of application is mindboggling

sometimes, given all the

different areas you can use foam.”

The core of the company’s innovations

and sustainability initiatives

involve applying technology to create

value in a sustainable way. “Technology

provides an opportunity to simultaneously

reduce costs and improve

service. We’re driving automation

wherever possible and easing the 151

EXECUTIVE PROFILE

Amber Jesic, General Manager

Amber Jesic is the General Manager of Supply Chain,

Americas, at Armacell. Jesic’s innovative and analytical

approaches have redefined and optimized the value of

supply chains within select Fortune 500 companies.

A key strategist with an award-winning career in supply

chain management, she has proven that with ingenuity,

solutions to complex issues can be developed.

She is a thought leader, having led an autonomous

truck program as featured in the New York Times.

Amber holds a Six Sigma Black Belt and an MBA from

NYU Stern School of Business.

www.businesschief.com


ARMACELL

$686mn

Approximate

revenue

2000

Year founded

152

3,000

Approximate number

of employees

AUGUST 2019


153

Armacell makes foam for gaskets for

use in the aerospace industry.

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ARMACELL

Armacell makes foam for gaskets for use in

the transportation industry.

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process of doing business with

Armacell, predominantly through EDI

integration, but also through our

digitalization efforts regarding load

planning and shipment consolidation

to reduce miles travelled and condense

shipments,” Jesic explains.

As a company that has never been

afraid to carve its own way using the

latest technological developments on

offer, Jesic points out that Armacell is

watching the development and testing

of autonomous freight vehicles with

great interest. “They can definitely

drive sustainability benefits,” she says.

“Beyond the

benefits we seek

to realize through

technology, we also

are committed

to best practices

that impact the

environment”


Amber Jesic,

General Manager, Supply Chain,

Americas, Armacell

155

PARTNER FACTS

Shintech

The modern supply chain is becoming more collaborative and

interconnected. As Jesic notes, “multifaceted partnerships are

much more common. We work with our suppliers to develop

mutually beneficial plans for the management, inventory

management as well as delivery.” Founded in 1974, Shintech has

grown to become a leader in its field in much the same way as

Armacell. It is currently the largest producer of PVC in the US and

has been partnered with Armacell for more than five years. “Their

consistent service has been an asset to our business,” says Jesic.

www.businesschief.com


ARMACELL

156

“Autonomous trucks will let you better

handle fuel usage, there’s less starting

and stopping, you can have a bigger

fuel tank without a driver, and of

course an autonomous truck will be

able to provide much more accurate

track and trace capabilities.”

Gathering data from a fleet of

autonomous trucks may be years

away for Armacell, but Jesic stresses

how vital data from other sources has

become for the company today, and

the importance of having the analytics

to draw actionable insights. “We’re in

the design and development phase

of using forecasting tools that will

provide predictive analytics which will

be used in our production planning

and inventory management to better

service our customers,” she explains.

As the leader in the $13.5bn

equipment insulation market, Armacell

is constantly striving to pursue its

multi-pillar growth strategy. Its

dedicated R&D teams are continually

driving the company’s portfolio growth

of intellectual property, having more

than doubled the number of patents in

the company’s name over the past five

years. Looking to the future, Jesic is

AUGUST 2019


excited to continue bringing Armacell’s

open, innovative approach to the

workings of its supply chain and

management of her team. “I encourage

a culture of openness to change and

present things in a perspective that

highlights the benefits of why that

change is being introduced. So, in the

instance of digitalization, if it improves

the ease of doing business with

Armacell, our suppliers and customers

then I’ll emphasize those benefits to

the teams so they understand why

we’re pursuing these changes. Also,

benefits like automated reporting help

keep our focus on best, not budget,”

she concludes. Armacell’s future is

bright, as it continues to work towards

creating not only value, but a bright

future for the planet too.

157

www.businesschief.com


158

The University

of Alabama

at Birmingham

celebrates its

immense digital

transformation

WRITTEN BY

AMBER DONOVAN-STEVENS

PRODUCED BY

CRAIG DANIELS

AUGUST 2019


www.businesschief.com

159


UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA AT BIRMINGHAM

In an exclusive interview

with Vice President and CIO,

Dr. Curt Carver Jr., he shares

the hundreds of ‘wins’

achieved in streamlining

the university experience

160

E

mpowering greatness in others is at

the heart of every technical solution the

University of Alabama at Birmingham

(UAB) has made, and this could not be more evident

from the technology transformation that has taken

place over the past four years under the leadership

of Dr. Curt Carver. It is no surprise that the University

of Alabama at Birmingham was keen to enlist

Carver to spearhead IT operations with his

impressive career history and dedication to student

and staff wellbeing. Carver previously worked as

the Vice Chancellor for Information Technology and

CIO at the University System of Georgia. Prior to

that, during his time at the US Military Academy

at West Point, he rose through the academic ranks

from instructor to full professor, before becoming

Vice Dean, serving as deputy to the Chief Academic

Officer. Whilst in this role, Carver also participated

as an American Council of Education fellow at

George Mason University, visiting 40 other universities

across the United States, gaining a holistic view

of task management across various universities.

AUGUST 2019


$3.4bn

Approximate

revenue (2018)

1969

Year founded

23,000

Approximate number

of employees

161

www.businesschief.com


UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA AT BIRMINGHAM

162

“When I started

in 2015, it took

us about 800

minutes to close

out a phishing

attack. Today

we do it in 11”


Dr Curtis Carver,

Vice President and Chief Information Officer

He has been with UAB since 2015

and, under his leadership, the university

has had over 420 ‘wins’. Carver defines

a ‘win’ as a concern raised by the

community, which is met with solutions

that are validated as successful by staff

and students, while in line with the

strategic plan. Averaging around 100

wins a year, Carver could not begin to

list all of the achievements, but shared

with us some from the 2017 and 2018

reports. This year marks the university’s

50th anniversary, which has seen the

University of Alabama at Birmingham

ranked number one amongst young

AUGUST 2019


CLICK TO WATCH: ‘UAB. POWERED BY WILL’

163

universities (those under 50 years of age)

in the United States and 11th in the world.

“We are trying to empower greatness

in our students, faculty, and researchers

and clinicians,” explains Carver. “That

means removing obstacles preventing

them from accomplishing their research

and teaching tasks, and trying to figure

out mechanisms to co-author solutions

to not only achieve their goals, but to

create a competitive advantage for them

compared to other universities.” Carver

emphasizes the need to build strong

partnerships with students to create

solutions that do not only “comply or

www.businesschief.com


Be Future Ready.

Outpace Change.

With student success a top-of-mind issue for the

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To make good on that promise and thrive in the

digital age, institutions must stay ahead of the

fast-changing forces that are driving new educational

models, a student-minded culture and new

ways of working. They must Be Future-Ready and

Outpace Change.

The focus for many institutions is on improved

student outcomes, which means retaining students

in any possible way for them to reach their

academic goals. But this requires many human

resources, engaged faculty and skilled talent.

Catering to your students also means that institutions

and their workforces have the right insight

and data at their fingertips to advise students

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Digital transformation is a challenge for any

institution. In the past, most have relied on disparate,

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and budgeting were carried out in different systems.

With no integration—and no single system

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UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA AT BIRMINGHAM

166

satisfy, but delight their expectations.”

“These are solutions that they feel that

they are a part of,” he comments.

Another motivation of the company’s

technological transformation is the goal

of easing the workload of both staff and

students. “Some of the ways in which

we have achieved this is by moving to

unlimited email, creating passwords that

don’t expire, and having unlimited storage,

as well as creating the fastest networks

and research computers in the state.

When you’re working with genomics

and personalized medicine, these small

factors make a great deal of difference.”

Carver cannot emphasize enough

the importance of listening to a variety

of people when devising a business

strategy. “On my first day as CIO,

we created a crowd-sourcing site,

and we had some 800 meetings in the

first 100 days. By creating a voice for

everyone, you can work towards the

best possible solution and provide

each aspect of the university with

its own competitive edge.” This level

of communication enabled staff

and students to be receptive to the

technical changes, because they

were solutions requested by them.

For example, one goal was to

leverage the faculty’s disciplinary

expertise. “We can’t treat faculty as the

most expensive typists on the planet,”

AUGUST 2019


jokes Carver. At the end of each term,

staff are tasked with the movement

of student records from the learning

management system to the student

information system. “So if you’re

teaching 300 students, that’s about

900 clicks to complete this task, taking

hours. And if you make an error, the

staff member then has three different

permissions and five forms to complete

to rectify the mistake,” explains Carver.

“So we built a button, and all of the

information is transported across

EXECUTIVE PROFILE

Curtis A. Carver Jr

Curtis A. Carver Jr., Ph.D., was named Vice President for

Information Technology and Chief Information Officer in

June 2015, following a national search. A senior leader in

higher education information technology, Carver came to

UAB from his position as Vice Chancellor and CIO for the

Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia,

having previously held key leadership positions at the US

Military Academy at West Point. Carver earned a bachelor’s

degree in computer science from the US Military Academy

at West Point and his Master’s Degree and Doctorate in

computer science from Texas A&M University. Throughout

his career, he has received numerous national and

international honors and awards for military, teaching,

and research excellence. Carver is a frequent keynote

speaker and has published extensively.

167

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Engage customers with a superior

experience on the media of their

choice. From management to

support, we can help you maximize

your contact center’s reliability and

performance.

VISIT OUR SITE

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169

systems in about a second, eradicating

the previously arduous process.

“If we’re going to change the world,

let’s be serious about changing the

world, and that means empowering

people and taking some of these

bureaucratic tasks off their plate,”

Carver continues, with reference to the

university’s students. “When students

were scheduling, they would go into

the student information system and

they would download the schedules

into Excel, and they would try to build

a schedule. So we worked with the

registrar and enrollment management

and deployed a tool where the students

could input their desired classes,

when they are working or when they

would rather not be on campus, and it

automatically builds multiple schedules

for them, and they just pick the schedule

they want.”

Carver notes that part of the success

of the strategy is to be a servant leader,

and not a Napoleonic one. “It’s not

about control. It’s about empowerment.”

Carver believes that it is important to

hire people smarter than himself, as

it empowers employees, instilling within

them a sense of responsibility to find

www.businesschief.com


UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA AT BIRMINGHAM

“We are trying to empower

greatness in our students,

faculty, and researchers

and clinicians”


Dr Curtis Carver,

Vice President and Chief Information Officer

170

AUGUST 2019


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171


a solution. He commends his team

of staff, who are particularly committed

to the improvement of cybersecurity.

Carver reflects on how cybersecurity

has improved: “When I started in 2015,

it took us about 800 minutes to close

out a phishing attack. Today we do it in

11.” He returns to the topic of passwords,

sharing another solution that was

deployed. “We gave students and staff

a mobile-enabled platform that tracks

passwords and generates strong unique

ones, strengthening security further.”

Of the many wins, Carver said his

favorite was the movement of 1,250

undergraduate classes into the

learning management system. “This

cloud-based solution enabled students

to push one button, and all of their

undergraduate classes, all of the

requirements then transfer into their

mobile device calendar.” This is a

drastic change from the previous

organization where staff either handed

out paper timetables or posted them

on their own websites.

Looking ahead, Carver notes some

of the solutions that the university

is currently piloting. “We’re working

on building a navigation system that 173

www.businesschief.com


UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA AT BIRMINGHAM

“If we’re going to

change the world,

let’s be serious about

changing the world”

174


Dr Curtis Carver,

Vice President and Chief Information Officer

AUGUST 2019


automatically locates free parking

space for students.” Carver and his

team are working toward a new

strategic plan that, in the true spirit

of his ethos, is a compilation of stories

about those who will benefit from the

technology solutions. “This puts

customers at the center of the

conversation and it focuses on digital

moments that delight them. So we’re

very excited about the future and what

we’re going to be able to do with this

kind of customer centric approach.”

In a time where technology and AI

is considered to be detached if not

impersonal, Carver is subverting this

with his leadership, and using technology

to improve the lives and relationships of

staff and students. With any hope, his

innovation will spread to other universities,

with the University of Alabama at

Birmingham leading the way.

175

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176

Gateway

First Bank:

from lender

to banker

WRITTEN BY

JOHN O’HANLON

PRODUCED BY

ANDY TURNER

AUGUST 2019


www.businesschief.com

177


GATEWAY FIRST BANK

With a goal to grow its accounts

and deposits nationwide, Gateway

Mortgage Group is preparing

in mid-2019 to launch Gateway

First Bank, its full-service, direct-toconsumer

digital bank

178

B

uying a home is a pivotal decision for

anybody. Much more than a routine

commercial transaction, it speaks to that

person’s aspirations, hopes, and family identity.

It was with this awareness, and a vision to help

families and communities grow stronger through

home ownership, that Kevin J Stitt, a career

professional in the mortgage industry, started up

Gateway Mortgage Group in 2000. By 2017, through

some of the most challenging times for the housing

market, Stitt had grown Gateway to become one

of the largest privately held mortgage origination

and servicing companies in America, employing

more than 1,200 people at 160 branch offices.

In November 2018, Kevin Stitt was elected

Governor of the State of Oklahoma, but before he

stepped aside from the position as CEO at Gateway

he had been able to advance a long-held desire

to move beyond the origination and servicing

of mortgage loans and turn the company into

a fully-fledged bank. Leveraging the expertise of

Stephen Curry, a banker specializing in banking

AUGUST 2019


179

“Increasingly we turn

to technology to

reduce the number

of touchpoints and

enhance the borrower

experience”


Stephen Harpe,

CIO, Gateway First Bank

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GATEWAY FIRST BANK

180

“It used to take

days, even weeks

to get through

an application

process…

but now on the

mortgage side

of the business

we average less

than 30 minutes”


Stephen Harpe,

CIO, Gateway First Bank

transitions who replaced Stitt as CEO

in August 2018, Gateway acquired

Farmers Exchange Bank to form

Gateway First Bank which, with $1.2bn

in assets and five banking centers in

Northwest Oklahoma, emerged

overnight as one of the largest banks in

the State of Oklahoma by asset size,

and one of the largest bank mortgage

operations in the United States.

The enabling technology team

Growing the technology infrastructure

to support the radical and

highly-unusual transformation from

a mortgage company into a bank is a

process that has been ongoing since

the appointment of Steven Harpe as

CIO in 2013. Harpe had held senior

leadership roles in IT for more than 20

years. Back then, there wasn’t really

a technology division in the present-day

sense, he recalls: tech was seen as a

black box, and the relationship with the

rest of the business was an adversarial

one. “We had to develop a managed

services concept within the business,”

Harpe explains.

Digital enablement is now recognized

as essential to all financial services,

though the industry as a whole has

been slow to acknowledge that.

AUGUST 2019


CLICK TO WATCH: ‘THE GATEWAY EXPERIENCE’

181

This is a company built on service,

and that has been the secret of its

rapid growth to date. “As we continue

to take on additional customers we

also want to be able to effectively

recruit the sales and corporate staff

that will serve them. Attracting the best

people means offering them the best

products available through a top tier

technology platform.” Harpe adds that

it’s a mistake to suppose that millennials

are the only group to embrace digital

technology, citing his mother who,

at 74, is inseparable from her iPad for

communication, shopping and financial

services too. “Financial services were

late getting into this space but as we

move forward it’s no longer millennial

problems we are trying to solve.

We are trying to solve problems for

everybody and the digital platforms

that we are building and integrating

today can do that,” stated Harpe.

Over recent years, mobile-friendly

technology has penetrated all industries,

with mortgage lending no exception,

Harpe points out. “Increasingly we turn

to technology to reduce the number of

touchpoints and enhance the borrower

experience by giving them an intuitive

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GATEWAY FIRST BANK

182

one-touch technology platform.”

Fintech has become a commodity,

so his strategy has been to outsource

the principal elements to the partners

who do it best. “I want to spend our

time on applications, enhancing digital

experience, and making better use of

data to understand how we can best

deliver our mortgage and other

financial services,” Harpe added. “We

see ourselves as servants to everyone

in this company, and I am proud to be

able to say we quickly ditched the old

backroom mindset and created a very

dynamic, agile and digital forwardthinking

group.”

The IT organization Harpe leads

now has around 40 people, all with

a problem-solving mentality. “When we

hire someone, we look well beyond

IT knowledge and competence,” he

comments. “We want people who will

take ownership of their ideas, and have

a sense of urgency about them; people

who are excited to be here and keen

to solve problems for the business.”

AUGUST 2019


FOUR KEY PLATFORMS

On the front line of a lender’s relationship

with its clients is the point of sale (POS)

system. In a competitive environment,

the speed and efficiency with which a

loan application can be processed

makes all the difference. The POS

system Gateway selected was

provided by Blend, a Silicon Valley

software developer that now connects

more than 15,000 banks and financial

institutions to make routine checks. “It

used to take days or even weeks to get

through an application process, which

was stressful for the applicant, but now

on the mortgage side of the business

we average less than 30 minutes,”

stated Harpe. “We can automatically

pull W2s, tax records and the like,

ingest these files and use the Blend

platform to digest the information and

quickly get through the 1003 process.”

The difference this makes to the

customer experience is immense

and it helps Gateway deliver its vision

to realize the American Dream of

homeownership. As Blend’s founder

Nima Ghamsari has said, a large

number of people don’t realize they

qualify for home ownership until they

183

EXECUTIVE PROFILE

Steven Harpe, CIO

Harpe leads customers using a unique combination of business

experience coupled with 30 years of technology background

in large scale cloud computing operations and engineering

management. He has engineered, implemented, and managed

some of the world’s largest technology platforms with

multifaceted business applications. In addition, he has led

initiatives to digitize technologies based on aged architectures,

including providing mobile platforms. Harpe is dedicated to

enthusiastic and progressive leadership as a means of creating

and nurturing a lifelong passion of developing people to

achieve their goals. In April 2019 he was appointed to the

Oklahoma Board of Corrections. Harpe is a keen drummer

in his spare time, having backed a number of rock bands.

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CLICK TO WATCH: ‘GATEWAY MORTGAGE GROUP - LINKSTEP’

185

go through this process. Not surprisingly,

customer satisfaction and net

promoter score (NPS) rates have

soared. “Everything we’re doing is

geared around the customer experience

and we remove as much friction from

that process as we can,” Harpe

emphasizes. “Blend is going to be

helping us with direct deposit for new

deposit account creation as well.”

After approval, the loan application

moves into the loan origination process.

The current loan origination software

(LOS) provider Byte has served the

company well but Gateway will be

selecting a new partner in the summer

of 2019. Discussions are in hand with

two industry-leading contenders.

As the launch of Gateway First Bank

approached it was clear it should move

to the most sophisticated core banking

system available. In January 2019, it

was announced that this partner would

be FIS, a global leader in financial

services technology with a focus on

retail and institutional banking. “FIS is

a global company, and it supports

many of the leading direct-to-consumer

banks in the market around the world,”

says Harpe. “Its service will be hosted

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GATEWAY FIRST BANK

186

on its own private cloud, in which it

has invested massively, and it has

deep experience and scale in digital

banking.” The transition from the

current Jack Henry banking system

will take place in July 2019.

Loan servicing is the ongoing

relationship between lender and client,

and this relationship will be trusted to

Sagent LoanServ, another partner with

its own private cloud. Moving infrastructure

from the data center into the

cloud, whether private or public, has

been an ongoing goal of the IT team,

and has largely been achieved, with

Blend hosted on AWS as well as both

contenders for the LOS. “By the end of

2020, we are going to be sitting in a

very unique place. We are a mortgage

company that became a bank – and

that is exciting enough in itself – but by

then we will have all of our core

technology running our operations in

our business wholly on the cloud, on

some of the largest fintech platforms.”

Such partners were selected because

they are highly future-oriented

organizations that look at themselves

primarily as technology companies.

This, says Harpe, drives their behavior

and decision making.

“Everything we’re

doing is geared

around the customer

experience and we

remove as much

friction from that

process as we can”


Stephen Harpe,

CIO, Gateway First Bank

AUGUST 2019


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187


FIS is proud to have Gateway First Bank as a new strategic

partner on the Horizon Core Platform.

To learn more about FIS leading solutions and client success stories,

visit www.fisglobal.com/now.


“When you implement

new technology,

new skill sets are

required and new

jobs get created”


Stephen Harpe,

CIO, Gateway First Bank

PLAYING THE BALL IN FRONT

Most of Gateway’s growth up to this

year’s bank acquisition and merger has

been self-generated, so the new bank

will be focusing on safeguarding its

reputation as Harpe emphasizes. “Over

the coming years, we will see mainly

organic growth mixed with some

acquisitions. But to use a baseball

analogy, we are very much a ‘play the

ball in front of you’ company – one

thing at a time. The ball in front of us is

the bank transition, the transfer of our

core systems to FIS and choosing the

right loan origination partner.”

Digitizing the operations and

leveraging 21st-Century technologies

such as machine learning and automation

will definitely not endanger jobs at

Gateway, Harpe predicts. “We are, in

fact, creating scale. When you implement

new technology, new skill sets are

required and new jobs get created.

We are excited about those opportunities,

and even more excited about what this

is going to provide for our clients. If you

are a mortgage or a banking customer

(or hopefully both) you are going to be

able to consume Gateway First Bank

through a common set of digital

experiences from a single platform.

That is where we are headed.”

The future of banking is omnichannel,

and as such Gateway will try to achieve

a full set of responsive, personalized

digital services to its customers. For

example, The Digital One Online

Account Origination solution will allow

customers to open and manage their

accounts via mobile and laptop devices.

“This is a foundational time for us,”

enthuses Harpe. We are creating a

brand new foundation so mobile

banking, credit cards and personal

finance will all be extendable through

the APIs and digital services that we

are building. Our customers will find it

easy to find us and do business with us.”

Gateway First Bank is a nationwide

operator that was founded in the

communities of Oklahoma. Its community

189

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GATEWAY FIRST BANK

190

“We are creating

a brand new

foundation…

our customers

will find it easy

to find us and do

business with us”


Stephen Harpe,

CIO, Gateway First Bank

AUGUST 2019


spirit and commitment are a real

differentiator for the company, Harpe

insists – home ownership is all about

aspiration, the family and a stable

society, so the company that Kevin Stitt

founded has always looked for ways to

reach out. The projects it supports are

numerous, but typified by the establishment

and continuing support of a Christian

school in Nigeria in 2009 as well as

the Gateway Youth Ranch in Uganda

which enhances the lives of disadvantaged

young people in that country.

Closer to home, Harpe picks out

Pearl’s Hope, a Tulsa-based project

and refuge that supports homeless

women and their families and helps

them get back on their feet. “Oftentimes

they find themselves having to

run from home without the most basic

necessities of life: Gateway provides

Pearl’s Hope with some of these

essentials.” The compassion he clearly

feels chimes in with the company’s

ethos of helping hard-working people

regardless of their current wealth.

191

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192

Providing clients

with a unique

approach to digital

transformation

WRITTEN BY

SOPHIE CHAPMAN

PRODUCED BY

CRAIG DANIELS

AUGUST 2019


www.businesschief.com

193


AVAYA

As Avaya provides tailored services

for its clients, the company’s Senior

Director of Client Experience

Innovation reveals how digital

transformation is changing the

telecommunications industry

194

A

vaya is a software and services organization

that has a long legacy in the telecommunications

industry. Headquartered

in California’s Santa Clara, in the heart of Silicon

Valley, the business has evolved alongside the

industry. “The evolution really came down to the

mobile device – the smart phone becoming the

entry point for communications across every

platform,” explains Tim Gogal, Senior Director

of Client Experience Innovation at Avaya.

“Looking at it from a corporate perspective,

not only do we have a very strong focus on evolving

our customer strategies around the evolution

of a multichannel or omnichannel approach

to customer service, we also internally create

and invent software that ties all those things

together.” Gogal’s team has developed its strategy

to optimize the transition from legacy telecommunications

engineering skill sets to software developments

that cater to clients’ needs.

“I run a sales organization that focuses

on evolving our clients’ customer service strategies.

AUGUST 2019


“Digital transformation is

ultimately defining that

there’s a larger imperative

at play; it encompasses much

more than just technology”


Tim Gogal,

Senior Director of Client

Experience Innovation, Avaya

195

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AVAYA

196

“The industry itself

uniquely allows

Avaya to position

itself as an

industry expert”


Tim Gogal,

Senior Director of Client

Experience Innovation, Avaya

We’re moving away from simply

focusing on contact centers

and looking at a larger digital transformation

imperative,” Gogal says.

“We’re understanding how customers

are communicating with brands and

social media using crowd sourcing

websites, and we’re addressing the

larger understanding that customer

service today, in a digital transformation

mindset, is completely different

than the industry as a whole.” Having

previously worked as a contact center

agent, Gogal realized there was a better

way of doing business if organizations

could align technologies with customer

service strategies. Through his analysis

of the strategy, Gogal earned his place

as a global voice architect which led

to him selling the technology that

can transform businesses.

With the proliferation of mobile

devices, Avaya ensures it is offering

the most advanced services whilst

maintaining a tailored approach,

enhancing efficiency and desirability

in its communications component.

“Digital transformation is ultimately

defining that there’s a larger imperative

at play; it encompasses much more

AUGUST 2019


CLICK TO WATCH: ‘AVAYA THROUGH THE EYES OF OUR EMPLOYEES’

197

than just technology. It encompasses

the importance of understanding

who is at the other end of the communication

channel – whether it’s a phone

call, a chat or an SMS – and giving that

particular individual the opportunity

to communicate through the channel

that’s most appropriate and most

effective for them,” comments Gogal.

“I have a team of software developers

that focus on creating individual,

customized and unique experiences

on a case by case basis for each

and every one of our clients.”

Avaya’s omnichannel approach

has enabled it to adapt to customers’

needs. “We have the ability to integrate

very seamlessly with virtually

any enterprise application that’s

available and bring the contextual data

sets of those back-office applications

into the overall client experience.

We are uniquely positioned to provide

our clients with a personalized service

across virtually any media channel

and that’s a fundamental game

changer for us,” Gogal adds.

“Avaya’s business lineage leads us

back to the 1-800 patent. Having such

a strong legacy in the communications

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space, along with the customer service

industry, uniquely allows Avaya to

position itself as an industry expert,”

says Gogal. As a business with a great

understanding of the industry surrounding

it, the firm uses its knowledge

to stay on top of vertical trends. Avaya

combines trends of the future with

its end customer experience through

two key areas — service design

and driving business outcomes.

Gogal will deploy a team of software

developers and digital transformation

strategists to build prototypes

for the client leveraging service design

practices focused on streamlined

business process models. “We start

the process by understanding explicitly

what our end customers want from

the brand from an experience perspective,”

he notes. Following the initial

stage, the business will conduct

interviews to align with the executive

level visions of the company. During

the consulting process, the team will

build the business model into

a communication workflow that

focuses on streamlining the experience. 199

EXECUTIVE PROFILE

Tim Gogal, Senior Director of Client

Experience Innovation

Tim Gogal built his career in the customer service

industry. He’s an Entrepreneurial Leader, Strategic

Thinker, Cultural Change Agent, with a passion

for Anthropology, Ethnology, and Service Design

Strategy with a focus on changing the landscape

of business technology in today’s digitally disrupted

world. His specialties include: Sales & Consulting,

Corporate Management, Telecommunications

(Voice) Architecture, Business Analytics,

Customer Service Operations Management,

Application Development.

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AVAYA

200

AUGUST 2019


201

£3.27bn

Approximate

revenue in 2017

2000

Year founded

8,100

Approximate number

of employees as of 2018

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AVAYA

202

“We look at whether we have

opportunities for deploying artificial

intelligence (AI) via chat bots. We look

at things such as IoT devices and how

we can leverage them to build a better

and more desirable experience.

Are there IoT sensors that can be

leveraged in this process depending

upon each case-by-case basis?

We look at whether or not blockchain

is applicable as it relates to security

needs. It is important to understand

where our clients are today and what

their end customers want, and what

technologies are in play which can

be leveraged to achieve a digitally

transformed experience, with security

in mind, of course.”

As an example of the Client Experience

Innovation team’s “Art of the

Possible” mentality, the group developed

a prototype last year that

incorporated the customer service

agent and the residential establishment

– working with technologies such

as Google Home and Amazon Alexa.

To show how the client experience

is evolving, and how uniquely posi-

AUGUST 2019


“It’s a delicate balance

of understanding high

level trends but also

targeting the minutia

of customers’ business

issues and overall

expectations, and how

we solve for them”


Tim Gogal,

Senior Director of Client

Experience Innovation, Avaya

tioned Avaya’s open architecture really

is, they wanted to show how they

can enable its clients to book trips

via voice command. “The idea is in

creating that use case of booking a trip,

selecting your flight itinerary, your hotel

capability, and capturing all those

attributes through the in-home AI

platform. Then, if there’s a need for

a conversation, it can be escalated

to an agent or a customer service

representative in a contact center

who receives the appropriate data

along with the contextual history

of everything that took place within

that AI platform,” Gogal explains.

As Avaya continues to target each

customer’s individual needs,

the company looks forward to facing

new and distinctive challenges

on a case-by-case basis. “The focus

is understanding what the uniqueness

of each business process is and

layering on the Avaya solutions

as the communication fabric

for making operations as seamless

as possible,” says Gogal. “It’s a delicate

balance of understanding high level

trends but also targeting the minutia

of customers’ business issues

and overall expectations, and how

we solve for them.” Whilst streamlining

the operations of its customers

by removing human latency, striking

a parallel between technology

adoption and personalization will

continue to be a top priority to the firm.

203

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204

AUGUST 2019


205

RiverStreet

Networks:

digital disruption

to telecoms

infrastructure

WRITTEN BY

SOPHIE CHAPMAN

PRODUCED BY

CRAIG DANIELS

www.businesschief.com


RIVERSTREET NETWORKS

As RiverStreet evolves

with the changing telecom

landscape, RiverStreet

Networks’ CTO tells us

about the company’s digital

transformation journey

206

R

iverStreet Networks was established

in 1951 to create access to telephone

services in rural North Carolina.

The Communications Act of 1934 ensured that

having access to a telephone is an inalienable right,

leading to companies and cooperatives being

subsidized to build telephone infrastructure.

“Our mission at the time, although we didn’t know it,

was to serve the unserved,” says Jody Call, the

firm’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Until 2014,

the company had around 10,000 customers. This

changed when the government began reducing

subsidies due to a lack of access lines as a result

of the proliferation of mobile devices. “We had a lot of

attrition of our access lines and our company was

growing as more of a broadband provider. We had

overbuilt our entire network in our cooperative

footprint of about 10,000 customers with gigabit

fiber to the home, and we had pretty much captured

the market here – so we started expanding

outside of the county,” he adds.

AUGUST 2019


207

“Our mission

at the time,

although we

didn’t know it,

was to serve

the un-served”


Jody Call,

Chief Technology Officer,

RiverStreet Networks

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RIVERSTREET NETWORKS

208

“We’ve had to

disrupt our own

internal processes

and ways of

thinking and to

accommodate

and embrace new

technologies”


Jody Call,

Chief Technology Officer,

RiverStreet Networks

Under its expansion strategy,

RiverStreet has acquired and merged

with other businesses in the state of

Wilkes County, North Carolina. The

company anticipates that its customer

and account rate will reach 35,000

by the end of this year, following the

completion of further deals, with

25,000 of those customers connecting

to broadband. “The paradigm shift in

the industry is to provide broadband

in the unserved and under-served

areas and to address the digital divide

– we’re looking at that through several

different ways of infrastructure,” says

Call. RiverStreet upgrades fiber to

home, DSL networks, RF cables and

traditional cable television, and is

looking into fixed wireless options.

Part of RiverStreet’s continual

transformation includes regularly

evaluating each incumbent vendor

relationship and their respective

product roadmaps. These relationships

and roadmaps have to be aligned with

the firm’s current and future plans as

they change – technologies change,

customer needs change, and cost is

always an underlying factor. Avoiding

getting too comfortable in any vendor

relationship is paramount in how

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209

RiverStreet’s Operations group stays

focused on addressing customer

needs and continuing to serve more

of the unserved popluation. Recently,

as part of this evolving mindset, the

company partnered with Sacramentobased

MobiTV to complement and

eventually replace its existing IPTV

deployment with an OTT (over-the-top)

TV package that closely resembles

RiverStreet’s legacy IPTV offering.

This OTT technology allows the firm’s

customers the option of watching

TV as they previously had in a linear

fashion while adding the option of

a single screen to watch OTT, appbased

content. The look and feel of

traditional TV are merged with current,

app-based, OTT streaming. This

product is poised to perform well in

RiverStreet’s continued growth across

their diverse markets.

As the business has evolved with

the environment surrounding it, digital

disruption has been at the heart of its

operations. “Typically, a lot of companies

in our industry are very rooted or set in

one way of doing things. We’ve had to

disrupt our own internal processes and

ways of thinking and to accommodate

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RIVERSTREET NETWORKS

210

and embrace new technologies.”

The CTO recalls a change in culture

throughout the firm’s evolution, with

the business being a more IT-based

operation than ever before. Over 50%

of the company’s staff work in IT, with

technology underpinning the company’s

core functions. “RiverStreet is a

technology-based company. If it weren’t

for digital, as far as what we provide

to our customers, we would not have a

business case at all. Everything we rely

on is integrated into our digital billing

system. Our mapping system is digital,

how we provision customers is digital,

how we upgrade them – everything

is reliant on technology,” he notes.

When the company began embracing

digital transformation, it realised fiber

was the best connectivity option for

the state. “When we embraced fiber to

the home technology in 2014, we said,

‘This is the only way to do a network’.

However, it’s expensive and we had to

take the blinders off and realize that there

are other ways to serve the unserved

customers in the rural areas, and that

could be fixed wireless,” says Call.

AUGUST 2019


EXECUTIVE PROFILE

Jody R. Call, Chief Technology Officer

Jody R. Call oversees the organization’s operations while aligning

its strategic vision with the customers’ growing and ever-evolving

technological needs. Bleeding edge deployments, calculated

risks, and industry disruptions in rural communications are a

normal day’s work in this role, which requires a growth mindset

and the willingness to adapt and change direction with short

notice. Call was hired in 2006 as a systems engineer to manage

the company’s IPTV roll out. Later that year, he took on the task

to design, engineer, and deploy the network topology for the 8-year,

$44+ million, fiber-to-the-home project effectively migrating all

of Wilkes Communications’ 9,000+ legacy copper / DSL subscribers

to an all-active, Gigabit, fiber network; one of the first companies

in the United States to do so. During his combined 23+ year career

he has simultaneously taught several years at the collegiate and

post-secondary level specializing in course concentrations

including: networking, cyber security, hardware and software

systems concepts, network operating systems, and general IT

concepts. Call holds an A.A.S in Electronics Engineering,

a B.S. in Human Services, and a M.A. Ed. in Instructional

Technology: Information Systems. He has completed

post-graduate work in wireless technologies and

network engineering and has held or currently holds

industry-relevant certifications from Cisco, ITILv3,

Apple, Dell, and CompTIA. Call resides in

his hometown of Wilkesboro in rural North

Carolina, with his wife, daughter, son,

five cats, and ten dogs.

211

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RIVERSTREET NETWORKS

1951

Year founded

150

Approximate number

of employees

212

HQ

Wilkes County, NC

AUGUST 2019


www.businesschief.com

213


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Fixed wireless connectivity can be

connected using existing assets such

as cellphone towers, state, county or

city owned towers, water towers, and

grain silos at agricultural locations.

“We’ve transformed our mindset to say,

‘It’s okay to offer this’,” he adds.

RiverStreet recently entered into

a 10 to 20-year partnership with the

North Carolina Electric Membership

Corporation (NCEMC), which governs

the 26 cooperatives across the state.

“There’s been a lot of talk in recent

years about electric coops wanting to

get into the broadband business – they

don’t want to do it for a lot of the same

“Our mission

at the time,

although we

didn’t know it,

was to serve

the un-served”


Jody Call,

Chief Technology Officer,

RiverStreet Networks

215

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RIVERSTREET NETWORKS

“We don’t just

want to survive

in the industry,

we want to be

able to thrive”


Jody Call,

Chief Technology Officer,

RiverStreet Networks

216

reasons we don’t want to get into the

electric business, because it’s foreign

to us. We wanted a partnership in

which we share revenue, but we could

utilize the NCEMC’s fiber optic

infrastructure connected to substations,

and in return we could do fixed wireless

or fiber to the home for customers in

rural areas.” The NCEMC has roughly

1.2mn customers across North

Carolina, with about 700,000 being

within the 17 counties RiverStreet is

targeting. “First, we get customers

connected to fixed wireless; that

shows us where the interest is. Then

we could then build a permanent fiber

to the home solution to those pockets.

AUGUST 2019


It’s probably the biggest project we

have going on,” Call adds.

Another aspect of the company’s

transformation journey is maintaining

a growth mindset, despite a lull in

funding. “It is important to continue to

grow rather than waiting for someone

else to come in and help. We’ve been so

reliant on government subsidies, with

organisations like the FCC providing

settlements based on access lines.

But that is slowly going away, and we

don’t just want to survive in the industry,

we want to be able to thrive.” Growth is

driving the firm’s operations, with

upgradeability and scalability being top

priorities for RiverStreet. “We’re also

looking out for our employees and their

families, their retirements and the

growth of this company. If we’ve grown

this much since 2014, we can only

imagine how much more we can grow

if we look another 10 years into the

future,” remarks Call.

217

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218

The City of

Phoenix: Rising

to the challenge

of its 2050

sustainability

goals

WRITTEN

BY

DAN BRIGHTMORE

PRODUCED BY

CRAIG KILLINGBACK

AUGUST 2019


www.businesschief.com

219


CITY OF PHOENIX

The City of Phoenix is working

towards zero carbon, zero

waste, a 100-year supply of

water, clean air, and parks and

transit in every neighborhood.

CSO Mark Hartman reveals

how its 2050 goals are making

it one of the most sustainable

desert cities in the world.

220

W

hen the Chief Sustainability Officer for

the City of Phoenix took up his post in

2014 the target was to become the most

sustainable desert city in the world. Five years

later, Mark Hartman and the very innovative

department heads across the City are setting their

sights on a sustainability roadmap for 2050 to

ensure progress for future generations in Phoenix.

“Back in 2016 when City departments adopted

these goals we asked: ‘What kind of city do we

want to be in 2050?’” explains Hartman. “Instead

of thinking ‘How did we get here?’, we want to be

able to say, ‘We planned to get to this place’ and

this is what the perfect city looks like — our 2050

environmental goals aim to articulate those long

term desired outcomes. Setting out the long-term

environmental goals of zero carbon, zero waste,

clean air, a 100-year supply of water, and parks

and transit in every neighbourhood will drive us

AUGUST 2019


www.businesschief.com

221


CITY OF PHOENIX

222

“Setting out the longterm

goals of zero

carbon, zero waste,

clean air, maintaining

our 100-year supply

of water, and parks

and transit in every

neighbourhood will

really drive us towards

what we’re trying to

achieve as a city”


Mark Hartman,

CSO, City of Phoenix

towards what we’re trying to achieve

as a sustainable desert city.”

A big part of that sustainability

journey is a series of major projects

including the 91st Avenue wastewater

biogas project (the largest facility of

its kind in the US). “Our water department

is capturing methane from our

wastewater, putting it in a pipeline and

generating revenue by selling it to the

California green energy market. It’s a

great example of finding a use for the

methane from wastewater treatment.

In addition to the biogas, we actually

reuse nearly all of the wastewater.

AUGUST 2019


CLICK TO WATCH: ‘BECOMING A CARBON NEUTRAL CITY’

223

We’re ahead of the curve, which

encompasses how we focus our

approach in the desert.” Along with

the biogas production, reclaimed

water is also being diverted into

irrigation for farming and agriculture

and for cooling at the Palo Verde

Nuclear Generating Station. Meanwhile,

the final by-products, the

bio-solids which amount to 10%

of total waste, become fertilisers

for non-food crops.

Hartman also notes the city’s

approach to the final polishing of

water has evolved. “Typically, you

would just build a treatment plant

before releasing it into the waterways,”

he says. “Instead, we’ve constructed

the Tres Rios Wetlands. It’s significant

because we’re using nature to do the

work for us and at the same time,

it transformed this desertscape into

a beautiful wetland home to 150 species

of birds. So in contrast to many of our

human behaviors that are slowly

contaminating our ecosystem, we are

being restorative and enhancing

nature so that it can thrive.”

It’s not just the city’s infrastructure

that is evolving. Phoenix is also

www.businesschief.com


CITY OF PHOENIX

224

supporting sustainable home development

with a series of initiatives as

part of its vision to have all new

buildings net positive in both energy

and materials by 2050. “We ran a

$100,000 competition to design a

beautiful home that is sustainable and

near net-zero, and yet can be built at

the cost of typical construction,” says

Hartman, who notes that even with

adherence to the latest building codes

we’re a long way from buildings that

need little energy to condition them.

“Our planning department has posted

the winning design and the detail

construction drawings from Imirzian

Architects on our website so anyone

can download the pre-approved plans

for free to build a net-zero energy

home at a cost similar to current

construction. And here in Phoenix, we

won’t charge building permit fees for

the first 25 homes. It’s an opportunity

to encourage home buyers to think

differently about the energy savings

from well-insulated walls and highperformance

windows.” Hartman

highlights this focus also extends

AUGUST 2019


to government buildings. “We’re doing

deep energy retrofits in all of our

facilities,” he says. “We’ve put forward

proposals on three specific sites

where the $30mn budget will actually

be paid back through energy savings. ”

Phoenix is allied to the Covenant of

Mayors, the world’s largest movement

for local climate and energy actions,

which has over 9,000 cities in partnership

worldwide to meet the commitments

of the Paris Agreement, chiefly

a 30% reduction in carbon by 2025.

Hartman takes inspiration from this

global quest as Phoenix looks to

implement new processes. “Public

Works recently installed a state-ofthe-art

$15mn facility where we take

organics and use a state-of-the-art

Turned Aerated Pile (TAP) system to

produce certified compost faster

than other composting methods,”

he reveals. “In partnership with the

City’s Compost Facility operator,

WeCare Denali, we’re processing

nearly 55,000 tons of inbound organic

waste to compost which is either sold

regionally, used at City parks and

properties, or provided to City

residents at special give away events .”

225

EXECUTIVE PROFILE

Mark Hartman, Chief Sustainability Officer

Mark Hartman is Phoenix’s Chief Sustainability Officer,

charged to catalyze the long list of actions already underway

to help Phoenix become a global leader in sustainability.

Most recently, in April 2016, the council approved the 2050

Environmental Goals and now, Hartman is working with

departments and the community to develop interim goals

and complementary social and economic goals. Hartman

formerly worked at the City of Vancouver for eight years

in Sustainability leading their carbon-neutral buildings

strategy and their green building code, as well as supporting

Vancouver’s ambition to become the greenest city in the

world by 2020. Mark holds an MBA from Heriot-Watt

University and is a LEED accredited professional.

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Hartman believes the biggest

challenge any city faces in pursuit of

its sustainability goals is to break the

cycle of the human propensity to do

things the way they’ve always been

done. “We are reluctant to embrace

change, even when we’re presented

with amazing opportunities,” he says.

“We’re using more resources than is

within the earth’s carrying capacity

which is not sustainable long term.

We need to start thinking about

solutions to reduce waste in all of our

systems, and inspire innovation to see

what’s really possible.”

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CITY OF PHOENIX

228

Collaboration is key for the ongoing

sustainable evolution of Phoenix.

“We’re working with established

partners to help us with technology

and innovation,” confirms Hartman.

“For our retrofits, we’re utilising the

expertise of Ameresco, Honeywell,

Trane, McKinsey and Noresco. They

bring decades of experience to help

us achieve our goals with systems that

are easy to use and operate.” These

efforts are part of the city’s 2020

goals to retrofit 185 City buildings

to make them 20% more efficient.

“Ameresco is also running our 91st

Avenue biogas facility as well as being

the contractor that build it,” he adds.

What sustainability trends has

Hartman identified globally, and

across the US, that can support

Phoenix with its 2050 goals? “I’m

excited about the potential to purchase

renewable energy,” he observes.

“We’re in a regulated environment,

so it needs to be in partnership with

our utilities. We’re looking at options

like virtual power purchase agreements

and ways you can procure energy

from renewable sources that are

equivalent to, or less than, current

AUGUST 2019


utility pricing. It is possible to save

money when you buy renewable

energy.” Allied to this, Hartman is keen

to make these opportunities available

through community solar projects by

partnering with a utility to implement

solar and help reduce electricity costs

in lower-income areas. “We also hope

to partner with Clearway Energy to

provide clean electricity to the district

cooling system to offer carbon-neutral

cooling to downtown buildings.”

Hartman believes that, from a

carbon pollution point of view, there

are huge opportunities to apply the

same learnings from making buildings

more energy-efficient to transportation.

“There’s a real move towards

electrification of transportation,” he

notes. “Norway’s electric vehicle sales

now make up more than 70% of the

market and countries like China see

electrifying cars and buses as the

solution to pollution.”

Elsewhere, the Street Department

just completed an upgrade of its

95,000 street lights to LED. It may

have cost $30mn but Hartman points

out that it pays for itself out of the

energy savings, with the net savings

229

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exceeding $1.5mn per year over and

above the debt service cost, while

providing better quality and more

reliable lighting.

Another goal for Hartman is to see

Phoenix move towards a circular

economy: “What if all the products

and packaging we purchase was

100% recyclable and everything went

back to the suppliers, and then, they

used them for reproduction?” He

notes that the Public Works department

is visionary as it was the first city in

the U.S. to join the Ellen MacArthur

CE-100 Network, an industry catalyst

AUGUST 2019


for the circular economy. In partnership

with the Arizona State University,

the City launched the RISN Incubator

to work with early stage ventures with

a focus on waste diversion and

improvements in processing or

utilization of waste as a raw material

for new products or energy. As of

1 May 2019, 13 new businesses have

generated $4.75M in revenue, raised

$3.44M in capital, created 57 jobs,

launched 13 products, filed 3 patents,

and provided 43 internships. “We’re

“We’re looking at options

like virtual power

purchase agreements

and ways you can

actually build and

contract to get energy

from a solar plant that’s

equivalent to, or less

than, current pricing”


Mark Hartman,

CSO, City of Phoenix

231

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CITY OF PHOENIX

2050 GOALS

• Make walking, cycling and

transit commonly used in

every Phoenix

neighbourhood

• Create zero waste through

participation in the circular

economy

• Maintain a clean and

reliable 100-year supply

of water

232

• Reduce community carbon

emissions by 80-90%

• All residents to live within a

five-minute walk of a park or

open space

• Achieve a level of air quality

healthy for all residents and

the natural environment

• Maintain a sustainable,

healthy, equitable, thriving

local food system.

AUGUST 2019


working with the private sector

providing feedstock and land for lease

at attractive rates to turn palm fronds

into animal feed and mixed plastics

into fuel... It’s exciting to look at how

we can turn waste into resources

instead of dumping it in a huge hole in

the ground. Here in Phoenix we could

fill our baseball stadium seven times

with the waste we collect from

residential customers. What are the

resources we could take out of that

seven stadiums worth of waste?

Whether that’s up-cycling furniture or

using plastic bags to make decking—

we need to be creative. Meanwhile, the

trucks that pick up that waste travel the

equivalent of going to the moon and

back 14 times. People say ‘it’s free to

throw stuff away’, but it’s certainly is not

free. Imagine the fuel needed to travel

to the moon 14 times in a garbage truck.

One opportunity to address this fuel

use is underway for our landfill gas,

whereby the methane will be captured

and converted into cleaner burning

natural gas to fuel our garbage trucks.

This will ensure cleaner air and avoids

mining natural gas by replacing it with

methane produced in our landfill.”

233

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CITY OF PHOENIX

PARTNER INFO

Phoenix: supporting renewable energy

and products through utilities

234

“We’re working with Arizona

Public Service (APS) and Salt

River Project (SRP),” explains

City of Phoenix CSO Mark

Hartman. “SRP wants to add

1000MW of utility-scale solar

over the next five years. The first

100MW they made available to

their largest customers. The city

will be able to purchase solar at

2.7 cents per kilowatt hour for 20

years, and then sell it on the

market at prevailing rates, which

today averages over 3 cents,

which means a large credit on

our bill. As both customers and

utilities invest in projects like

this, its producing clean energy

while saving money.”

Hartman hopes to see many

more of these projects. Phoenix

already boasts 32MW of solar

on city land, more than any

other US city, and aims to

double that figure. “We’re

planning to add solar to parking

lots, rooftops and unused land,”

he pledges. “We’re also looking

to lease out landfill property to

utilities and renewable energy

developers as a means to

provide clean energy.”

AUGUST 2019


235

In the short term, the city is on track to

meet its target of 40% waste diversion

by 2020. Meanwhile, Phoenix is

working hard with energy service

companies (ESCOs) to reduce

building energy use by 20% for next

year and targeting 15% for renewable

energy used city-wide from diversified

sources. Ultimately, Hartman stresses

the need to also prioritize economic

and social sustainability. “Environmentally

there’s much we can do to raise

awareness and make positive change

but those outcomes must be achieved

alongside economic and social

sustainability as articulated in the

City’s General Plan — community

health and education, equity, civil and

human rights, and safe communities

— in order to become a truly sustainable

desert city.

www.businesschief.com


236

INSIDE LEE

INDUSTRIAL

CONTRACTING’S

PEOPLE-DRIVEN

DIGITAL

TRANSFORMATION

WRITTEN BY

HARRY MENEAR

PRODUCED BY

TOM VENTURO

AUGUST 2019


www.businesschief.com

237


LEE INDUSTRIAL CONTRACTING

Lee Industrial Contracting

Senior Operations Manager

Andrew Keilman and Director

of Sales Michael Hahn discuss

the company’s people-first

digital transformation strategy

238

A

s the pace of technological advancement

increases exponentially with each

passing year, companies are given more

access than ever to solutions that increase

efficiency, cut costs and drive competitive advantage.

However, in the light of new and dazzling

technological applications, it is all too easy to lose

sight of the core principle of a business relationship:

the people. The shiniest, most powerful business

tools in the world are worthless without the right

people to wield them, and market leading products

are irrelevant if they are not suited to the needs

of the customer. For over 30 years, Lee Industrial

Contracting has been working to bring turn-key

solutions to heavy industry in a way that marries

sector leading, top quality products with the right

people in order to provide the best possible

customer experience. “We consider our company

to be a strategic partner with all of our customers.

Their goal is our goal,” says Michael Hahn, Director

of Sales at Lee.

AUGUST 2019


“WE CONSIDER OUR

COMPANY TO BE A

STRATEGIC PARTNER

WITH ALL OF OUR

CUSTOMERS. THEIR

GOAL IS OUR GOAL”


Michael Hahn,

Director of Sales, Lee Industrial Contracting

239

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LEE INDUSTRIAL CONTRACTING

240

“LEE HAS THE

BEST PEOPLE

IN EACH

RESPECTIVE

TRADE THAT WE

DO WORK IN”


Andrew Keilman,

Senior Operations Manager,

Lee Industrial Contracting

As a people-driven company, Lee is

always looking to do things in the most

efficient, cost effective, meaningful

manner that adds optimum value for

the client in the form of end-to-end

services. Over the years, the company

has grown its capabilities, vehicle fleet

and roster of specialized equipment

multiple times over, becoming one of

the most capable complete solutions

contractors in the region. A powerful

tool in its arsenal that allows Lee to add

value for its customers is its uniquely

diverse range of in-house capabilities.

Performing 13 different trade services

AUGUST 2019


CLICK TO WATCH: ‘LEE CONTRACTING IN-HOUSE DEPARTMENTS’

241

in-house sets Lee apart within the

industrial space. Self-performing as

many different functions as they do,

allows the company to control every

aspect of its projects, from design

and cost to scheduling and quality.

For Senior Operations Manager,

Andrew Keilman, who joined the

company in 2014, the company’s

emphasis on an exceedingly high

standard for in-house capabilities is

what attracted him in the first place.

“When I saw the operations, the people

and how everything was organized,

I wanted to be a part of it. Lee has the

best people in each respective trade

that we work in,” he explains.

We sat down with Hahn and Keilman

to discuss Lee’s corporate strategy,

competitive advantages, and how the

next steps in Lee’s digital transformation

journey will allow it to continue putting

people, partners and clients at the

center of everything it does.

“We’ve won Supplier of the Year for

General Motors two years in a row,”

notes Hahn. One of the key drivers

behind Lee becoming General Motors’

Supplier of the Year is the way the

company handles safety, project

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LEE INDUSTRIAL CONTRACTING

242

delivery and the unique technological

demands of providing its turn-key

solutions. “Our technology played

a big part in that award,” explains Hahn.

Central to Lee’s technology strategy

in the past few years has been the Lee

Electronic Data Management System

(LEDMS), an in-house data center

and management platform. LEDMS,

Keilman notes, houses the full spectrum

of Lee’s digital operations, from its

quoting process to scheduling.

“It’s one of the big things that General

Motors really zeroed in on,” he remarks.

Now, with the rapid advancement of

business tools, Lee is preparing to take

steps from private towards public

cloud infrastructure. The company is

currently in the process of switching

its operational software over to Oracle’s

NetSuite, which will enable it to have

a much more unified software structure

and accommodate future growth.

The transition to public cloud software

will help provide Lee with real metrics

and real analysis on how the company

is performing month over month.

Most importantly, the transition towards

AUGUST 2019


NetSuite will help the company gain

insight into its CRM process, helping

Lee continue to build meaningful,

collaborative and long-term relationships

with Lee’s clients and partners.

The traditional relationship between

seller, supplier and buyer is evolving.

A traditional, purely transactional

approach is no longer viable in the

modern world of ecosystems and

strategic relationships. Lee sees the

shift in the status quo and is working

to embrace a collaborative approach.

“We have strategic partners, strategic

subcontractors, strategic design firms

and strategic materials providers.

We can’t succeed independently

without all those folks at the table,”

says Hahn. “The key is understanding

the client’s performance metrics.

It could be dollars, quality or time that’s

most important to them. If we can help

them save time and increase their

ability to react to their customer

requirements everybody wins.

We also have something else that other

companies don’t offer: value engineering.”

With its extensive roster of trades

and in-house capabilities, Lee is able

to explore a potential customer’s goal

and create their request for proposal

(RFP), pitching them additional ways

243

EXECUTIVE PROFILE

Andrew Keilman, Senior

Operations Manager

Andrew Keilman is a Senior Operations

Manager at Lee Contracting. Kielman

has been in the industry for over 22 years.

He started at Lee in 2014 as a Pipefitting

Coordinator and was quickly promoted

to oversee multiple departments as

an Operations Manager. Andrew was

most recently promoted to Senior

Operations Manager in 2019.

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LEE INDUSTRIAL CONTRACTING

244

AUGUST 2019


1989

Year founded

Employee owned

since

2015

434

Number of employees

245

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Industrial, Commercial and

institutional Electrical Contractors

Services southeast Michigan

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to increase value through their project.

“Value engineering has reduced cost,

waste and time spent, all of which are

invaluable to the customer. Between

70-80% of the time our customers go

with our value engineering options.”

The emphasis on collaboration at

Lee isn’t restricted to relationships

between the company and its clients;

internal cooperation and support is

a core value that the executive team

works hard to support. Morale and

personal development are also

important to Lee’s corporate culture.

“We have a morale team, which is

comprised of people from various

areas of the company that meet on

a monthly basis and come up with

ideas to give back to our employees,”

says Keilman. From management and

communications techniques to trade

skill training, Keilman explains that

Lee’s team is dedicated to “building up

all of our people, all the way from the

apprentice level up to the highest tier

of management”. Not only are Lee’s

employees made to feel as though their

company is invested in them, but four

years ago founder Ed Lee made sure

that every employee was personally

invested in the company. “Ed decided

to sell the company to the employees,

247

EXECUTIVE PROFILE

Michael Hahn, Director

of Sales

Michael Hahn has been in the industry

for 33 years and has been with Lee

Contracting for 15 years. Michael started

out managing the electrical department

and quickly moved into sales to help build

the business for Lee. Michael was

promoted to Director of Sales at

the beginning of 2019.

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LEE INDUSTRIAL CONTRACTING

248

“THE KEY IS UNDERSTANDING

THE CLIENT’S PERFORMANCE

METRICS. IF WE CAN HELP

THEM SAVE TIME AND INCREASE

THEIR ABILITY TO REACT TO THEIR

CUSTOMER REQUIREMENTS

EVERYBODY WINS”


Michael Hahn,

Director of Sales,

Lee Industrial Contracting

AUGUST 2019


so we became 100% employee owned,”

says Hahn.

Valuing its employees as much as it

does, Lee’s corporate strategy places

tremendous emphasis on safety. The

company has a strong safety team that

is involved in every project, job hazard

analysis and tool box talks; the health

and wellbeing of Lee’s people is

paramount. As it embraces the next

stage of its digital transformation

journey, the company is keeping people

at the heart of everything it does.

Along with the management team,

including Keilman and Hahn, are at the

helm of a diverse, capable, innovative

company that puts people first, using

the power of human dedication and

ingenuity to drive innovation. Looking

to the future, Keilman is confident in the

capabilities that Lee brings to the table:

“We have the best people, the best

tools, the best equipment, the best

facilities and the best plan on every

project that we do. I think that’s enabled

us to be successful year after year.”

249

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250

SIMON FRASER

UNIVERSITY

AN ENGAGED

UNIVERSITY

AUGUST 2019


WRITTEN BY

JOHN O’HANLON

PRODUCED BY

CRAIG KILLINGBACK

251

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SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY

SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY’S

SUSTAINABILITY OFFICE IS

A FOCUS OF ACTION AT THE

INTERSECTION OF PLANETARY

REGENERATION, HUMAN

HEALTH, AND SOCIAL JUSTICE.

252

O

ne can’t help thinking that the sustainability

team at Simon Fraser University

(SFU) have some of the best jobs in the

world. Most of the world’s young people, at least,

are now swinging behind the awareness that we

are living during a time of climate crisis and that

time is running out to change our behaviour if we

are to avoid or mitigate the consequences of

biodiversity loss, pollution, and climate change.

That awareness is not unique to SFU, of course,

but few higher education institutions have

embraced sustainability principles so intelligently

or realistically. The Province of British Columbia is

committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions

to 80% below 2007 levels by 2050 and, in 2011,

its capital Vancouver, home to SFU, set the goal of

becoming the greenest city in the world by 2020.

SFU is a partner in these broader goals.

The University itself has adopted sustainability

as one of its six core values, which means it is

embedded in the fabric of the institution and the

day-to-day decisions taken by every department.

AUGUST 2019


The green wall by SFU’s Saywell Hall

253

The University is also in the process

of developing a 5-year climate action

plan to address the most urgent

sustainability issue of our time.

SFU recognizes that its institutional

responsibility extends beyond its

boundaries to include the social,

economic and ecological sustainability

of its campuses and the communities

in which they operate. Therefore,

these plans are being developed with

the recognition that sustainability

work broadly, and climate action

specifically, cannot be done without

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SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY

254

“THE MOMENT

YOU STEP ON

CAMPUS AS A

NEW COMMUNITY

MEMBER YOU GET

INTRODUCED TO

THE CONCEPT OF

SUSTAINABILITY

AS A CORE VALUE”


Candace Le Roy,

Director of Sustainability,

Simon Fraser University

addressing social inequities, racism,

reconciliation and partnership with

local Indigenous nations.

To implement SFU’s sustainability

values, eight very committed

professionals are led by Director of

Sustainability Candace Le Roy – they

provide planning, consultancy, and

support services to SFU community

members to help them develop, scale,

or promote their sustainability work

and lead sustainability projects across

the university. It’s by no means an act

of enacting top-down policies, she

hastens to say. “We recently finalised

our 20-year Sustainability Vision,

which identifies 20 strategic goals

following a year-long community

engagement progress involving

all University stakeholder groups:

thousands of people took part from

students up to the Board. Everything

we do in the Sustainability Office

is in collaboration and partnership

with the faculty, staff, students, and

communities we are embedded in.

Sustainability at SFU is a shared

responsibility and a joint effort.

Our office merely facilitates this joint

effort so that it is coordinated,

connected, and inclusive.”

AUGUST 2019


CLICK TO WATCH: ‘SFU OPENS NEW SUSTAINABLE BUILDING’

255

PARTNERS IN ENGAGEMENT

It’s this level of commitment, she

observes, that makes the job so

rewarding. Every new student and

member of staff receives sustainability

education through orientation: “The

moment you step on campus as a new

community member you get introduced

to the concept of sustainability

as a core value. We want them to see

how each individual can contribute in

their area.” However she acknowledges

that most people come in with a high

level of awareness these days – all the

team needs to do is connect this

awareness to what SFU is doing,

listen to their ideas, and help remove

barriers to their contributions in

practice. At SFU, students aren’t seen

as ‘end-users’ to be trained and

delivered, but as partners in learning,

discovery and community engagement.

The tripartite social, economic and

ecological view of sustainability is

something that all alumni have an

opportunity to take with them into the

world beyond. To ensure that the work

at SFU is connected with global goals

the 20-Year vision and the emerging

5-year plan have been developed in

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SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY

256

alignment with the UN’s Sustainable

Development Goals.

Engagement with major British

Columbia institutions is key to SFU.

For example, the Pacific Water

Research Centre (PWRC) recently

hosted a seminar on Vancouver’s Rain

City Strategy to embrace rainwater as

a valuable resource and to conserve

90% of its annual rainfall. The

University also aims to support major

shifts in behaviour such as its advocacy

for a funicular (gondola) to connect

its University campus on the top

of Burnaby Mountain, providing an

alternative to the diesel-fuelled bus

service. This project has been finally

approved in principle by Burnaby city

council, and would speed up travel

times and cut emission levels.

Another promising project is the

development of the Corix biomass

district energy system on the Burnaby

Mountain campus which will reduce

the campus greenhouse gas emissions

by 60%-80%. This — along with

the University’s achievement of

reducing the carbon footprint of the

University’s investment portfolio by

50% below the baseline measurement

SFU’s Academic Quadrangle

AUGUST 2019


eported as of 31 March 2016 —

demonstrates how the university is

committed to working with on and off

campus partners to make big shifts in

the way they operate as an institution.

A major project underway encourages

‘sustainable spaces’ across the

university’s facilities which integrates

sustainability principles into the

day-to-day actions of staff members.

Becoming a Certified Sustainable

Office is a great way to encourage

staff collaboration on sustainability

and to create a more robust, engaged

workplace, says Blok. “Certified

Sustainable Offices adopt practices

that improve their environmental,

economic and social performance.

They receive a toolkit, support and

resources and that encourages others

to participate.” This certification

program has now been extended into

events, vendors, and soon into labs.

Large events such as the President’s

annual staff appreciation BBQ are

certified sustainable events further

demonstrating that all levels of

the University are contributing to

these efforts.

The bottom line, says Manager of

257

EXECUTIVE PROFILE

Candace Le Roy, Director of Sustainability

Guiding the institution-wide approach to sustainability

leadership, Le Roy consults on risks and opportunities

to integrate sustainability into the University’s core

business. Over her 16 years at SFU, Candace has been

dedicated to facilitating University-wide efforts to

innovate and contribute meaningfully and measurably

to the shift toward a regenerative, circular, and

equitable society and economy. Candace works

collaboratively with partners both within and outside

the University to identify, develop, and deliver major

cross-portfolio projects that contribute to this work.

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SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY

258

Campus Sustainability, Kayla Blok,

is that sustainability should be

integrated into all projects, research

and teaching. It is also central to

procurement, with all contracts and

purchases over $100,000 required

to be considered from a sustainability

point of view. “Whenever we go out

to tender we have questions and

requirements for suppliers, and

I support multiple request for proposal

(RFP) committees by advising on how

that should be done. When we undertake

a project, are our staff seeing their

work through a sustainability lens?

When our students graduate are they

leaving with a holistic understanding

of sustainability? These are the type of

questions we are asking.”

THE ROAD TO ZERO WASTE

It is never going to be possible to

recycle 100% of waste, but by

adopting ‘circular economy’ practices

SFU is heading towards a goal of 10%

waste minimization and 90% diversion

from landfill. SFU started its zero

waste journey in 2012 at a time when it

had only a two-stream waste diversion

system and most items were being

AUGUST 2019


“WHEN OUR

STUDENTS

GRADUATE ARE

THEY LEAVING

WITH A HOLISTIC

UNDERSTANDING

OF SUSTAINABILITY?”


Kayla Blok,

Manager of Campus Sustainability,

Simon Fraser University

sent to the landfill. Within 18 months,

the initiative was diverting more than

70% of SFU’s landfill waste and had

introduced circular economy principles

to look at purchasing, and require

suppliers to work towards recyclable

and compostable packaging.

Today, across the campus, there are

four-stream waste stations allowing

for food and compostables, paper and

cardboard, recyclables and landfill

garbage. It’s not hard to get buy-in

these days, with the media full of

reminders about things like plastic

pollution and extinction rates, but

people still need to be helped to

understand the circular economy –

that is where the Sustainability Office

steps in to educate and encourage,

affirms Kayla Blok. The team, in

conjunction with a large stakeholder

group that includes departments

across the university, is currently set to

launch an initiative to eliminate singleuse

plastics and products from all three

campuses, making them the first

university in Canada to act on this issue.

Research, business expertise,

software engineering and the spur of

environmental perils have come

together in an exciting project that

259

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Responsible

Investing for

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constitute a solicitation of an offer to buy, or an offer to sell securities nor should the information be relied upon as investment

registered trademark of Bank of Montreal, used under licence.


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As a founding signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI), BMO Global Asset

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t Management Corp. and BMO’s specialized investment management firms. The information provided herein does not

advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. All Rights Reserved. ®”BMO (M-bar roundel symbol)” is a


SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY

262

promises to contribute a great deal

to achieving zero waste. And each of

these facets has come out of SFU.

The founders of Intuitive AI Hassan

Murad and Vivek Vyas are both alumni

of SFU, where they first developed

software to tackle the problem of

recycling. SFU itself may have made

great strides but globally only around

3% of waste is recycled. Even in a

four-stream system, waste identification

remains a problem – what is recyclable,

what is not, where should you put it?

They began with a simple vision,

to create a zero waste world. This led

them to develop an AI platform driven

by sensors that empower spaces to

be more sustainable.

Murad and Vyas launched Oscar,

an AI-powered visual sorting system,

with a camera that detects people

approaching a bin, automatically

identifies each item and tells people

where to place it. “This is a true

innovation story from SFU,” explains

Blok. “They spent a great deal of time

formulating this idea at our labs on

the Surrey campus. We were able

to support this project right from

the ideation phase, and the Sustainability

Office was there at the initial

Erica Lay, Associate Director at SFU’s

Sustainability Office presenting at a 20-year

sustainability visions and goals session.

consultations providing key facts,

giving operational and logistical

feedback, and providing expertise.

The testing phase was carried out on

our downtown Vancouver campus and

we were successful in providing space

for them to test the platform and

promote their message.” The Surrey

campus now houses the first higher

education Oscar waste station in

Canada and have been taken up

at coffee chains and an airport in

Toronto. Intuitive is currently part

of the Next AI accelerator in Toronto

AUGUST 2019


and the VentureLabs business

accelerator at Simon Fraser University.

Oscar is as much about data as it is

about making life easier for the

consumer of a cup of coffee. The

software can identify brands, patterns

of consumption by area and demographic

information all of value to the

airport, shopping mall or university

where it is located – garbage in,

valuable data out. It’s by leveraging

this data that Intuitive AI will monetise

its software in the future. “Perhaps the

most promising part of the technology

is that it provides robust data,” says

263

EXECUTIVE PROFILE

Kayla Blok, Manager of Campus

Sustainability

Overseeing the Campus Sustainabilityportfolio,

Blok liaises with operational functions across

all three campuses to implement and scale

sustainable decisions and practices. Her work

ensures that the University operates in alignmen

with its sustainability plans, visions, and goals.

Blok offers consulting services for all SFU

Community members and works closely with

internal and external partners on signature

projects and initiatives.

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SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY

Kayla Blok. “We look forward to

seeing how we can apply this data

to influence design, planning, and

purchasing decisions, for example.

Our hope is that it will help our

operational as well as sustainability

goals by creating targets to improve

waste management at the campus.”

264

AWARENESS AND PERCEPTION

Oscar has attracted a lot of media

attention thanks to its visibility. “This

is a really good example of the kind

of thing that happens at SFU due to

our culture of, and commitment to,

innovation, community engagement,

and student empowerment,” says

Candace Le Roy. “Our students get

to work on projects that they take out

into the wider world and the benefit

comes back to the institution through

new projects and initiatives and the

application of technology. In the 16

years I have been at SFU, I have seen

the students always at the forefront of

major initiatives at SFU and then they

carry this leadership to the communities

and organizations they serve

when they leave.”

Even with the impetus provided by the

rapidly increasing media coverage of

AUGUST 2019


SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre

for Dialogue

the climate crisis, getting sustainability

thinking embedded in a large, transient

and diverse university population is

not a simple feat. It might seem like

a no-brainer to ban plastic bottles, but

many overseas students come from

cultures where bottled water is the

only safe water. “We constantly have

to customize our communication

tactics and infuse them with humanity,”

she says. “On the one hand, we have

to keep up with innovations in industry,

research, politics and international

targets and do things like ban single

use plastics and dramatically reduce

our greenhouse gas emissions and on

the other hand we also have to bring

people along with us on this journey.

We need to help people understand

how their consumption decisions

affect the planet and people, but we

can only do this if we make an effort to

understand them not has consumers,

but as people who have unique

backgrounds, experiences, and

perspectives. Sustainability efforts

have been rightly criticized for being

led primarily by rich white people

who come from a particular (mostly

Western) perspective. If we are to truly

address sustainability issues we need

265

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SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY

266

to design solutions from all perspectives

and with all people in mind.”

Justifiably proud of the nuanced

and holistic way in which the organisation

has taken the lead on advancing

sustainability best practice, Candace

Le Roy, her team, and their colleagues

at SFU work tirelessly to gain the

support of all stakeholders. “Getting

a major initiative off the ground at

a university is usually the first and

biggest hurdle because we value the

engagement of all relevant stakeholders

and engagement takes time. But the

effort put in is well worth the quality

that is the result,” she says. She points

to the cross departmental teams that

have been formed to work on initiatives

like the BC Cool Campus

challenge, spearheaded by SFU but

spread across British Columbia, to

reduce energy consumption by simple

actions and the Fair Trade and

Changemaker Campus designations

SFU has achieved.

In the end, all of this is about

changing the way we see the world

and our place in it. Virtually every

decision we make has an impact on

people and the planet, good or bad,

she concludes. “At the end of the day

SFU’s Asia Pacific Hall in the Morris J. Wosk

Centre for Dialogue

“SUSTAINABILITY

GIVES UNIVERSITIES

AND COLLEGES

A COMPETITIVE

ADVANTAGE AND

MAKES US MORE

RESILIENT TO

INTERNAL AND

EXTERNAL THREATS”


Candace Le Roy,

Director of Sustainability,

Simon Fraser University

AUGUST 2019


267

it’s not about recycling or using less

energy. Sustainability work is about

understanding how to make better

decisions based on a strong understanding

that humans are a part of

nature not outside of it. We need to

learn from, respect, and apply

Indigenous ways of knowing and leave

no one behind. This means constantly

being aware of the interconnections

between ecology, politics, economics,

and social inequities. It’s planning to

ensure we survive on this planet and

our institutions survive in the current

political and ecological climate.

Addressing sustainability challenges,

like the climate crisis, gives universities

and colleges a competitive advantage

by making us more relevant to our

communities and more resilient to

internal and external threats.”

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268

THE CITY OF

BRAMPTON:

MANAGING ENERGY

AND EMISSIONS

FOR SUSTAINABLE

OUTCOMES

WRITTEN BY

WILLIAM SMITH

PRODUCED BY

CRAIG KILLINGBACK

AUGUST 2019


www.businesschief.com

269


CITY OF BRAMPTON

CHUN LIANG, SUPERVISOR,

ENERGY MANAGEMENT AT

THE CITY OF BRAMPTON,

ONTARIO, DISCUSSES THE

ROLE SUSTAINABLE ENERGY

HAS TO PLAY IN MEETING

EMISSIONS TARGETS

270

C

limate change matters pertaining to

emissions and sustainable sources of

energy are high in the public consciousness.

Energy generation measures such as solar

panels and wind turbines serve as symbols of

energy that are more sustainable because they

reduce emissions at large, with an emissions

strategy often functioning as the vanguard for

sustainable outcomes. Chun Liang is Energy

Management Supervisor at the City of Brampton,

Ontario, and is responsible for the energy and

emissions strategy of City owned buildings.

He credits the urgency of global warming as

inspiring his entry into the field. “Right before I got

into energy performance contracting, the Kyoto

Protocol came into effect and said two things:

global warming is happening and human activity is

contributing to it. Warming is related to emissions

which are generated by the energy that we use,

especially the burning of fossil fuels, so I thought

to myself, ‘this is a great time to get into energy

AUGUST 2019


Photos courtesy of the City of Brampton

271

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CITY OF BRAMPTON

272

“TOO OFTEN WE

WORK IN SILOS

WHEN WE COULD

BE SHARING

KNOWLEDGE

AND LESSONS

LEARNED”


Chun Liang,

Supervisor, Energy Management,

City of Brampton

performance contracting – the world

is moving on this, and I can join the

movement to help the planet and

recover energy costs’.”

In his current role, Liang has used

his energy background to help rectify

some of the challenges Brampton

faces. This includes a large portfolio

of older buildings that have a number

of energy performance issues

including building envelope and

building automation systems. Some

have outdated automation systems

so Liang initiated a technology

AUGUST 2019


CLICK TO WATCH: ‘UNLOCKING DOWNTOWN BRAMPTON’S POTENTIAL:

CONCEPTUAL VIDEO’

273

investigation including discussions

regarding a unified display portal

(single pane of glass view) with key

stakeholders to determine the best

solution for the City of Brampton.

“The hope with a unified display is that

building operators will have an easier

time managing the control of many

different buildings, improve energy

performance and increase occupant

comfort.” With an energy performance

and modelling background to ensure

buildings meet targets, including

energy performance targets under

the LEED building rating system, Liang

has brought his experience to bear on

properties in Brampton, and one of

the major potential energy efficiency

improvements comes from heating.

“When you look at the energy and

emissions pie chart of a building,

especially in an Ontario, Canada

context, much of it is from heating

since we’re burning fossil fuels for

eight months a year. That is a major

consideration for us because it

applies to both of our objectives: to

reduce energy use while also reducing

our emissions. The focus for the

next five years – the term of the City’s

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CITY OF BRAMPTON

274

Zero Carbon Transition Plan – is

finding ways to reduce natural gas

use in the City’s existing buildings.

A recent successful project done

by the energy management team

was the installation of heat recovery

system. “This system recovers heat

from swimming pool drain water at

one of the City’s community centres,”

says Liang.

While effective measures can be

taken to improve the energy performance

of existing buildings, future

gains can be achieved by ensuring

new structures are built to high

performance standards. “The City

of Brampton is designing, building

and renovating many new community

centers, fire stations, etc. due to

population growth. The energy

management group works closely

with our building design and construction

division, collaborating with them,

to integrate energy design into the

buildings.” To achieve the energy

targets required, Liang and his team

have introduced parametric energy

modeling that uses cloud computing

AUGUST 2019


as one of the central tools. “The

benefit of energy modeling on the

cloud is that it can quickly simulate

interactive effects, thereby drastically

reducing the amount of time it takes to

produce options that not only provide

optimal energy performance but can

also illustrate paths for emissions

and operating cost reductions. If we

change lights to LED or we use more

daylighting, what effect does that have

on the heating? Strategic use of

daylight for a building can also be

a passive form of heating which can

help to reduce emissions associated

275

Chun Liang, Supervisor,

Energy Management

EXECUTIVE PROFILE

Chun Liang is an energy management professional

with over 20 years of experience in the building

industry including HVAC design and construction,

energy performance contracting, building energy

modelling and LEED consulting. He is currently

the Supervisor of Energy Management at the City

of Brampton responsible for strategic planning,

project delivery, energy procurement, utility

management, third party funding and reporting.

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CITY OF BRAMPTON

276

AUGUST 2019


“IT’S NOT JUST

ABOUT ENERGY

EFFECTS, BUT

ALSO OCCUPANT

COMFORT”


Chun Liang,

Supervisor, Energy Management,

City of Brampton

277

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“WE’RE IN A RACE

AGAINST TIME TO HIT

THE PROVINCIAL AND

FEDERAL EMISSION

REDUCTION TARGET,

WHICH IS BASED ON

THE PARIS AGREEMENT,

SO WE NEED TO

TRANSITION TO ZERO

CARBON AS SOON

AS WE CAN”


Chun Liang,

Supervisor, Energy Management,

City of Brampton

with heating.” Aside from utilizing

sustainable energy, such measures

have the knock-on effect of improving

the experience of citizens, as with the

natural light provided by daylighting.

“These are the types of things that we

also look at. It’s not just about energy

effects, but also occupant comfort.”

Such measures are to play a vital

part in achieving the city’s ambitious

Zero Carbon Transition Plan. “The

provincial government has set a target

of 30% emissions reductions by 2030,

and the federal government has set an

80% reduction target by 2050, which

is in line with the Paris Agreement to

limit the global temperature rise to 1.5

degrees Celsius by 2050. Our Zero

Carbon Transition Plan is predicated

around these targets. We’re looking at

reducing our energy use for new and

existing buildings by 30% by 2030.

We’re targeting various measures:

heating, ventilation, air conditioning

systems and building envelope.

We’re going to use heat recovery:

recycling waste heat wherever

possible. Once you get the energy

demands of the building down, then

the next step is to look at renewable

technology. That’s the most efficient

way to approach it. It’s energy

management 101.” Other innovations

geared towards meeting the city’s

targets include innovations in passive

heating. “The SolarWall is a matte

black surface that can be put on top of

a building’s exterior wall, leaving an air

gap,” says Liang. “The sun hits this

black surface, and transfers energy to

the wall and air gap. The air is heated

in that gap and then brought into the

building to preheat the air for ventilation.

“We expect to verify the energy savings

279

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CITY OF BRAMPTON

280

for a system installed at a City of

Brampton building as it has found

success in other building applications.”

The system may be able to reduce

emissions associated with heating.

Regarding the reduction of vehicle

emissions, charging stations for

electric cars have been installed at

City owned buildings with a focus on

public facing sites such as libraries

and community centres.

“We’re in a race against time to hit

the provincial and federal emission

reduction target, which is based on

the Paris Agreement, so we need to

transition to zero carbon as soon as

we can,” says Liang. It is obvious that

Brampton is proactively contributing to

this effort, setting targets and bringing

in concrete measures to ensure their

achievement. Nevertheless, sometimes

advancements can bring their

own drawbacks. “We have a number

of solar photovoltaic installations that

generate electricity for us, and they

provide a steady stream of revenue,

as well as reducing our electricity use.

The challenge is the cost of electricity.

If we switch over to electricity to heat

our buildings, electricity costs

AUGUST 2019


significantly more than natural gas per

equivalent energy unit, so the question

is, how do we bridge that gap? It’s kind

of an open question.”

One possible solution to this

conundrum is an improvement in

the way society works together.

“I’m hoping to see more collaboration

between municipalities, utilities, and

the private sector. Too often we work

in silos when we could be sharing

knowledge and lessons learned.

For example, a battery storage project

can provide resiliency for a building

and perhaps also provide part of

its energy needs for heating and

cooling. This approach provides

great co-benefits, if the costs of off

peak battery charging can be

lowered further. That’s something

I hope to see more of in the future.

As we collaborate and collectively

pool our resources, we accelerate

the case for sustainability.”

281

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282

HUAWEI

TECHNOLOGIES:

BRINGING RURAL

CANADIANS CLOSER

WITH HIGH-SPEED

INTERNET

WRITTEN BY

LAURA MULLAN

PRODUCED BY

ARRON RAMPLING

AUGUST 2019


www.businesschief.com

283


HUAWEI TECHNOLOGIES

FAMOUS AS A TRAILBLAZER IN

THE CONSUMER ELECTRONICS

AND 5G MARKET, HUAWEI

TECHNOLOGIES IS NOW TURNING

ITS ATTENTION TO CANADA’S FAR

NORTH IN A BID TO CONNECT

REMOTE, RURAL COMMUNITIES

284

W

hether you want to reconnect with a long

lost friend, learn a new language or even

order a taxi, the internet has made it

possible with just a click of a button. It’s arguably

one of the most disruptive technological innovations

of the last century. In fact, in Canada’s Internet

Factbook 2018, a whopping 96% of Canadians

highlighted how high-quality internet access was

important at home, with 59% going as far as to call

it ‘critically important’. Yet, whilst the internet may

seem like a ubiquitous tool, ready and waiting at our

fingertips, for many of Canada’s rural communities,

poor or no internet access is a common reality.

One firm hoping to remedy this is Huawei

Technologies Inc. The Chinese powerhouse has

made it big in the consumer electronics market,

standing as the second largest phone maker in the

world, and it’s also leading the race towards 5G.

Chris Pereira, Director of Public Affairs at Huawei

Technologies, outlines how Canada has played

a vital role in Huawei’s success, standing as a central

hub for research and development. “Last year,

AUGUST 2019


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285


HUAWEI TECHNOLOGIES

286

“HAVING

ACCESS TO

HIGH-SPEED

INTERNET

CAN BE LIFE

CHANGING”


Christopher Pereira,

Director of Public Affairs,

Huawei Technologies Canada

we invested $180mn in research and

development in Canada to build our

research centre in Ottawa and to

accelerate 5G research,” he notes –

and now the company wants to give

back. Pereira explains that, by committing

to the United Nations’ sustainable

development goals, Huawei is embarking

on an ambitious endeavor: to

connect all Canadians with high-speed

internet by 2030. In addition, the

Canadian Radio-television and

Telecommunications Commission’s

(CTRC) universal service objective for

fixed Internet access service is that all

Canadians have access to at least 50

Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload,

with an option of unlimited data.

Likewise, the universal service

objective for mobile wireless services

is that all Canadians have access to

the latest generally deployed mobile

wireless technology (currently LTE).

According to regulators, mobile

services should be accessible in

homes, businesses and along major

transportation roads.

To make its commitments a reality,

Huawei has turned its attention to the

remote towns and villages across

Northern Canada. “That’s the place

AUGUST 2019


CLICK TO WATCH: ‘NORTHERN LIGHTS’

287

where the connectivity is the weakest,

so we’re trying to connect people in

more remote and smaller communities,”

Pereira says, noting how he and his

team recently visited the north-western

Canadian town of Inuvik, located 200km

inside the Arctic circle. In this region,

you can witness a midnight sun or the

mesmerising lights of Aurora Borealis

– but until recently the internet connection

was exceedingly sluggish. Now, by

partnering with Ice Wireless, Huawei

has been able to deliver high-speed

4G LTE services to the remote town.

“Having access to high-speed internet

can be life changing in a few ways,”

observes Pereira. “With high-speed

internet, you can open an online store

or help your business grow beyond

your own community, so it’s helping

to connect the north to the economy.

Another aspect that’s often overlooked

is how it can help communities

reconnect.” Pereira points out that

many Inuit populations were extremely

isolated before they had high-speed

internet, whereas now with the rollout

of 4G, Inuit communities are using the

internet to sell and trade goods or

connect with each other via Facebook

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HUAWEI TECHNOLOGIES

288

in their own language. “Aboriginal

culture can be maintained and flourish

because of the connectivity that the

internet brings,” he says.

In trying to provide Northern Canada

– where temperatures can plunge to

-40°C – with high speed internet

access, Huawei has a mammoth

challenge on its hands. “The biggest

challenge is the environment,” admits

Pereira. “When you build a network

tower, it can get covered in thick ice

in the winter so the equipment needs

to be very tough and durable. You also

need to power the station; sometimes

these stations are in such remote

places that you don’t have a power

supply nearby so you need to find an

alternative solution, like solar.” To take

on this challenge, Pereira points out

AUGUST 2019


how Huawei relies on the expertise

of its team (today the firm has around

1,100 employees in Canada, with

around 91% being Canadian citizens)

as well as its renowned R&D capabilities.

“We have around 193,000 employees

around the globe and more than

80,000 of them are involved in R&D.

In many ways you could say we’re an

R&D company,” Pereira adds.

In many ways, the challenges faced

in Canada’s north mirror those faced

in Africa. Both places are remote, short

on funds, and often not very populated.

Fortunately, Huawei already has

extensive first-hand experience in

such environments. In 2017, it launched

289

EXECUTIVE PROFILE

Christopher Pereira

Chris Pereira aims to connect people

to ideas and opportunities through

communication. He is an experienced

media communications and branding

professional from Canada with

15 years of experience in China.

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HUAWEI TECHNOLOGIES

290

“WITH HIGH-SPEED

INTERNET, YOU

CAN OPEN AN

ONLINE STORE

OR HELP YOUR

BUSINESS GROW

BEYOND YOUR

OWN COMMUNITY”


Christopher Pereira,

Director of Public Affairs,

Huawei Technologies Canada

AUGUST 2019


291

CLICK TO WATCH: ‘AURORA BOREALIS PROJECT: EP1 – BARBARA’

www.businesschief.com


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䠀 唀 䄀 圀 䔀 䤀 伀 挀 攀 愀 渀 匀 琀 漀 爀 䐀 漀 爀 愀 搀 漀

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䔀 ⴀ 洀 愀 椀 氀 㨀 攀 渀 琀 攀 爀 瀀 爀 椀 猀 攀 挀 愀 䀀 栀 甀 愀 眀 攀 椀 ⸀ 挀 漀 洀


CLICK TO WATCH: ‘RURALSTAR LIGHTS THE WAY TO GREATER GROWTH,

HOPE & HEALTH’

293

RuralStar, an affordable base station to

help bring internet connection to

villages in Africa. “Similar to Northern

Canada, we faced a lot of environmental

challenges, though it was the complete

opposite in terms of conditions,”

explains Pereira. “It was very hot and

dry; the equipment needed to be able

to operate in 40-50°C weather and

deal with dust storms and power

issues.” On top of this, Huawei also

has equipment at some of the highest

points in the world, like the base camp

of Mount Everest, so it’s well equipped

to tackle rough terrain.

“ABORIGINAL

CULTURE CAN

BE MAINTAINED

AND FLOURISH

BECAUSE OF

THE CONNECTIVITY

THAT THE INTERNET

BRINGS”


Christopher Pereira,

Director of Public Affairs,

Huawei Technologies Canada

www.businesschief.com


HUAWEI TECHNOLOGIES

COMPANY FACTS

• Huawei Technologies

hopes to help connect all

Canadians to high-speed

internet by 2030.

Huawei Technologies has

over 1,100 employees in

Canada, 91% of whom are

Canadian citizens.

294

Huawei Technologies has

over 193,000 employees

around the globe, with more

than 80,000 R&D staff.

Huawei’s equipment is sturdy, reliable

and well made; it’s no wonder that the

firm has dominated the market with its

phone offerings like the new P30

smartphone. “We grow by reflection –

that’s part of the culture of Huawei,”

explains Pereira. “We look at what

we’re doing now and we see what we

can make better in the next iteration.

We’re not afraid to make mistakes,

but we are afraid of repeating those

mistakes. Huawei is very tireless

in its pursuit of innovation.”

“WE GROW BY

REFLECTION –

THAT’S PART OF

THE CULTURE

OF HUAWEI”


Christopher Pereira,

Director of Public Affairs,

Huawei Technologies Canada

AUGUST 2019


295

With over 50 contracts already

signed around the world, the company

is also streaking ahead of its peers

when it comes to 5G. “Huawei is about

12 months ahead of any other company

in terms of end-to-end 5G solutions,”

adds Pereira, highlighting that 5G

will be at least 10 times faster than its

predecessor so you can download

a movie in seconds. It will also support

driverless cars and other IoT networked

devices. The rollout of 5G

will undoubtedly be momentous for

Canada but, with its latest project,

Huawei is taking care not to leave

the rural areas of the country behind.

“In five years’ time, I hope we’ll be doing

this interview over Skype from the

Arctic,” says Pereira. “I hope we will

have high-speed internet across this

great country.”

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KPMG:

PRAGMATIC

296

CYBERSECURITY

SOLUTIONS

FOR SMEs

WRITTEN BY

AMBER DONOVAN-STEVENS

PRODUCED BY

JAKE MEGEARY

AUGUST 2019


www.businesschief.com

297


KPMG CANADA

LEADING CYBER STRATEGY AND

TRANSFORMATION PROGRAMS FOR

KPMG, DARREN JONES DISCUSSES HIS

EXPERIENCE AS BOTH A CLIENT AND

CONSULTANT IN THE CYBERSECURITY

INDUSTRY, AND HOW THE GLOBAL

CONSULTANCY OFFERS PRAGMATIC

AND SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS

298

O

ne is always dealing with several

clients at any time, assisting them with

the different challenges or opportunities

that they may be dealing with,” says Darren

Jones, in leading Cyber Strategy and Transformation

programs for KPMG’s clients. One of

the key factors that make Darren Jones such

a successful consultant for KPMG’s clients

is his desire to empower those around him,

combined with an empathetic understanding

of a client’s experience. Before taking on the role

of Director in the Cybersecurity consulting

practice at KPMG, Jones had been a client of

the firm. He was pleased with the professionalism

and level of service provided by the firm, and now

that he is with KPMG he shares that this background

can be a surprise to those he works with:

“I’ve been the person who’s either been working

AUGUST 2019


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KPMG CANADA

300

“ONE IS ALWAYS

DEALING WITH

SEVERAL CLIENTS

AT ANY TIME,

ASSISTING THEM

WITH THE DIFFERENT

CHALLENGES OR

OPPORTUNITIES

THAT THEY MAY BE

DEALING WITH


Darren Jones

Director, Cyber Security Services,

KPMG Canada

together with consultants at implementing

a solution, and occasionally

the one accountable for the budget

that the different consulting teams are

working within.” He continues: “Having

been ‘on the other side’ as a client

of consulting services, I am wary of

recommending or implementing

solutions that don’t have a pragmatic,

lasting value for the client.” This

experience helps enable Jones and

KPMG to deliver a focused and cost

effective solution for all organizations,

but especially SMEs.

Jones’s 20-plus years of work within

consultancy allows him to draw upon

previous experiences to create new

cybersecurity solutions for his clients,

as well as using his broad existing

network to widen KPMG’s clientele.

For Jones, much of his personal sense

of achievement has derived from

supporting his clients in their

technological journeys. He

references working relationships

that span decades with some of

the most innovative creators and

thought leaders in cybersecurity the

world over. “That degree of intellectual

engagement has always been an

AUGUST 2019


CLICK TO WATCH: ‘KPMG CANADA: LET’S DO THIS’

301

exciting aspect of working in this field,”

he remarks.

BECOMING CYBER AWARE

When it comes to cyber awareness,

unfortunately some of Jones’s clients

have come to him only after they have

encountered a threat. “One particularly

worrying detail in the uptick in instances

of ransomware in recent months,”

says Jones, “is the focus toward midsized

and small municipalities, midsized

and even small hospitals, and

some not-for-profit organizations such

as charities. When ransomware

targets a larger scale organization like

a bank or a government department

that’s had access to millions of dollars

to build their cybersecurity, there are

instant response protocols typically

in place. For SMEs and NPOs, however,

security management can be

either minimal or non-existent in some

cases.” These themes around cybersecurity

readiness were also borne

out in KPMG’s recently published

CEO Outlook Survey. To help encourage

preventative measures in place

of reactive ones, Jones shares that

KPMG consultants offer a 15-point tip

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KPMG CANADA

302

and question sheet to SME clients to

help to get them started on the journey.

With the rise of attention that

cybersecurity receives, the demands

on Jones’s team have only grown. Yet

he notes that there has also been a

growing feeling of “cyber fatigue” from

the constant fear mongering from

companies and media over the last

decade. For this reason, Jones says,

KPMG has focused on promoting pragmatism

in cybersecurity and cost

effective, sustainable solutions. To

ensure that a solution is sustainable,

the cyber strategy needs to be communicated

across all levels of a company.

As an example, Jones recently delivered

an awareness talk entitled ‘Cybersecurity:

How You Can Help’ which was presented

to staff at one of KPMG’s long

term municipality clients.

Discussing his experience working

with clients on change management,

which is vital in introducing any new

strategy, Jones comments: “It’s important

to build structures and measures

to ensure the implementation will

proceed with proper acknowledge-

AUGUST 2019


ment of governance; to ensure the

ongoing vitality of measuring success;

and to have a whole strategy wrapped

around that implementation.” He notes

that putting these elements in place is

key to helping to ensure dialogue with

clients moves beyond empathy into the

practical implementation of solutions.

Jones emphasizes the importance of

not only creating solutions that are

cost effective, but also ensuring a client

feels positive about the future resulting

from the solution: “It’s using that

frame as a way of helping the client

to not only see a positive future, but

visualize what’s positive about the

future for them.” This is particularly

important, he says, as KPMG does

not operate solutions for its clients,

so it is imperative that they are

pleased with and are ready to take

ownership of the result.

EXECUTIVE PROFILE

Darren Jones

Darren is an accomplished IT leader with over 25 years

of experience both in industry and as a consultant. With

demonstrated abilities in motivating and leading

technical personnel, project managers and consultants,

Darren has worked in a diversity of roles — as

Director of the CIO Solutions consulting function at

a large consulting firm, a senior executive and

investor in fintech start-ups, leading the Security &

Critical Infrastructure Solutions function at a major

stock exchange, the VP of Information Security

Solutions for one of the world’s first integrated managed

solutions providers, and as the Senior Manager and lead

for eSecurity Architecture Solutions practice area at a

big 4 firm. This breadth and depth of experience

provides Darren’s clients with a perspective

that is at once strategic and pragmatic.

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KPMG CANADA

304

“KPMG AS A FIRM

CERTAINLY RECOGNIZES

THAT IT WILL HAVE

SUBSTANTIAL NEEDS FOR

TECHNOLOGY AND

AI-DRIVEN SOLUTIONS TO

SUPPORT THE LOCAL

COMMUNITY AND BUILD

SMART CITIES.”


Darren Jones

Director, Cyber Security Services,

KPMG Canada

AUGUST 2019


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305


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“HERE WITHIN KPMG

WE ARE DEVELOPING

A CENTRE OF

EXCELLENCE FOR

CYBERSECURITY

IN MUNICIPALITIES”


Darren Jones

Director, Cyber Security Services,

KPMG Canada

EDUCATING ON CYBERSECURITY

To encourage this approach to cyber-

security in consultants and to sustain

knowledge development in the industry,

Darren has been working with York

University to provide mentorship to

students and graduates. Jones started

working as a curriculum advisor to York

University at the beginning of his tenure

with KPMG. “This certificate program

is offered to undergraduate students

who wish to augment their existing

studies by pursuing the specific

certificates being offered, and it was

also being introduced as something

for postgraduate or working professionals

to participate in. We have divided

our curriculum into two segments: one

focused on cybersecurity fundamentals,

and the other on offering an

advanced certificate in cybersecurity.”

Four years on from the program’s

conceptualization, Jones shares that

KPMG has hired one graduate who has

come through the program, Frances

MacTaggart, who affirms the benefits

of the course: “I couldn’t more strongly

recommend the combination of certificates

(Fundamentals and Advanced)

to those who are new to the field,

wishing to make a career change or

those who are wanting to further

prepare for the CISSP designation.

York University’s Cybersecurity

Certificates are an outstanding way

to increase your knowledge and depth

of understanding.”

LOOKING AHEAD

A well implemented cybersecurity

solution ensures that a company can

look forward with confidence at

opportunities to innovate, instead of

focusing on previous errors. As KPMG

looks ahead to the future, Jones

shares that the firm will assist in the

creation of the security foundations of

smart cities. “KPMG as a firm certainly

307

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KPMG CANADA

CA$1.5mn

Approximate

revenue in 2018

1869

Year founded

308

6,500

Approximate number

of employees

AUGUST 2019


ecognizes that it will have substantial

needs for technology and AI-driven

solutions to support the local community

and build smart cities.” Jones urges

that, as larger cities enlist private and

public sector partnerships to build and

operate smart city solutions, they be

cognizant of the risks. While they will

have their own specific concerns

regarding cybersecurity as individual

organizations, they need to be aligned

by a single, overall strategy that can

manage the public’s expectations and

ensure citizen engagement and trust.

“Here within KPMG in Canada, we are

developing a centre of excellence for

cybersecurity in municipalities,” says

Jones, and with KPMG’s impressive

collection of awards and its pragmatic

focus, the firm is set to cement itself as

a cornerstone in implementing these

cybersecurity strategies.

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310

POLARIS

TRANSPORT:

SCALABLE DIGITAL

TRANSFORMATION

OF CORE LOGISTICS

PROCESSES

WRITTEN BY

MARCUS LAWRENCE

PRODUCED BY

JAMES BERRY

AUGUST 2019


www.businesschief.com

311


POLARIS TRANSPORTATION GROUP

CTO DAVE BRAJKOVICH DISCUSSES

HOW POLARIS TRANSPORT, VIA

DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION UNIT

NORTHSTAR DIGITAL SOLUTIONS,

IS DRIVING LOGISTICS INNOVATION

312

C

anada’s Polaris Transportation Group,

renowned for its cross-border less than

load (LTL) service, is at the cutting edge

of technological innovation in the supply chain

sector. In January 2019, the company launched

NorthStar Digital Solutions (NDS), both an in-house

digital laboratory and separate business entity, to

drive the advancement of its technology platforms,

intelligent document processing, Robotic Process

Automation (RPA), Machine Learning (ML), Artificial

Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and

Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) capabilities,

among others.

Dave Brajkovich, CTO at Polaris and NDS, says

the new company offers Polaris, as both a customer

and an owner, a level of innovative dedication that is

demonstrably lost by internal and integral IT teams

attempting to steer a digital transformation. “It’s not

uncommon that, under one IT wing, things can

quickly become disjointed – IT begins to manage

network, infrastructure, application, and helpdesk

AUGUST 2019


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POLARIS TRANSPORTATION GROUP

314

“WE’VE PROVEN THAT WE

CAN TAKE A COMPANY

THAT FROM A VERY

SEGREGATED, SILOED

SYSTEM TO A COMPANY

THAT IS LEAN, EFFICIENT

AND TECHNOLOGICALLY

SCALABLE”


Dave Brajkovich,

CTO, Polaris Transport

which distracts from a focused transformation,”

he explains. “We saw an

opportunity to drive technology and

optimization as a separate entity, and

become a profit center that can take

the solutions we’re providing to Polaris

and package them up as Software-asa-Service

(SaaS) solutions for transportation

and customs brokerage clients,

and beyond.” The close relationship

between Polaris and NDS enables a

flexible and practical testbed for

innovation, with newly developed

solutions being piloted, tested and

production hardened at Polaris before

AUGUST 2019


eing sold on to external companies.

“We end up learning a lot from these

programs and enhancing the technology

to fit and solve business needs

rather than creating technology and

finding a problem to solve.”

A main staple for Polaris is customs

document processing for clearing

freight to cross the US and Canadian

borders, and this offers a perfect

example of the company’s successful

transformation efforts. As this can carry

myriad complexities and duplication

in work efforts, Polaris needed to

streamline the task and reduce the

touchpoints of handling paperwork.

The process of moving paper is highly

inefficient and labor intensive for all

players involved, including the Client,

Carrier, Customs Broker and Border

Agencies. “By implementing our RPA

and ML platform (a powerful WorkFusion

enterprise grade automation engine

with the NDS IP workflow solution),

to manage Straight Through Processing

(STP) for our intelligent document

processing, our turnaround time and

error rates were significantly reduced

to levels beyond our expectations,”

says Brajkovich. “It also added capacity 315

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POLARIS TRANSPORTATION GROUP

316

for our staff to focus on exception

management rather than clerical administration.

We can now run this operation

24/7 and scale to the business order

demands, and we’re proud to state that

we are now driving 80% of our customs

paperwork processing through fully

automated workflow.”

Of the aforementioned technologies,

Polaris’s DLT platform is perhaps the

most emblematic of the firm’s ability

to bring complex concepts through to

fruition quickly and effectively. “Our

CEO, Dave Cox, had an inkling to learn

more about blockchain,” says Brajkovich.

Following an event that illuminated the

tech’s qualities, Cox began to see a

potential use case for it within Polaris.

The firm subsequently partnered with

IBM to generate various DLT-based

solutions applicable to their operations,

with significant success. “One of our

use cases for a minimal viable product

was an outcome to achieve consolidation

and reconciliation for the interline

invoicing process,” says Brajkovich.

“We found that the process was lagging,

though not in terms of digitizing the data

AUGUST 2019


EXECUTIVE PROFILE

Dave Brajkovich, CTO

Brajkovich’s technology career spans 30 years and has mainly

been focused on engineering, designing and building core

transactional systems for some of the world’s leading fortune

500 companies. With key strengths in leadership and

management of multi-talented teams he has excelled in moving

the needle continuously by ensuring practical deployments

of technology with a direct impact on improving operational

workflows along with providing an enhanced client experience

as the ROI. Brajkovich has been an influential change agent for

technological improvements, such as advanced planning and

scheduling, manufacturing, distribution/supply chain and

financial applications. With exposure to multi diverse markets,

engineering, manufacturing, healthcare, energy, financial

investment management and transportation has given

Brajkovich a rounded edge to be a key player and contributor

for advanced technology offerings and helping business

understand and adopt enablers for future growth and

advancements. Brajkovich’s focus is to strengthen and maintain

a robust technical ecosystem for the enterprise group and its

affiliated companies, making it a uniquely different provider

of freight services and lifecycle management with enhanced

digital product capabilities. Emphasis will be placed

on bleeding edge technologies such as Robotic Process

Automation, Machine Learning, AI, and Blockchain. Recent

positions held include Executive Director roles with Sun Life

Canada, Air Liquide and Dynacare Labs where his focus was on

IT technology foundations and business application synergies.

Brajkovich lives in Hockley Valley, Ontario with his wife and

two daughters. His additional interests include assembly and

operation of drone helicopters and he is an avid motorcyclist.

317

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“WHAT WE’VE CREATED

IS A UNIVERSAL

SYSTEM WHERE WE

CAN GUARANTEE THAT

MY A IS THEIR A”


Dave Brajkovich,

CTO, Polaris Transport

because it moves through electronic

data interchange (EDI) transformations

anyway. The challenge is that EDI is

not dynamic – it’s very static, it comes

in batches and waves – and so the

freight can be received by points of

delivery where we may not get the

data back into our systems accurately

or in a timely fashion.”

This problem causes both delays and

a labor-intensive process of collating

documents to confirm payments, with

those documents changing hands

repeatedly. The solution is a DLT-based

smart contract platform that runs

those transactions through Polaris’s

hyperledger cloud and relays the data

to all relevant parties. “What we’ve

created is a universal system where

we can guarantee that my A is their A,”

says Brajkovich, highlighting DLT’s

ability to serve as a single, current

source of truth. “Everything is tracked

and traced: it’s immutable, it’s not

going to change, but it can be revised.

As the information flows from one

system to another, we know exactly

where that data flow is.” Not only does

the solution provide this reliability and

traceability, but it massively increases

the speed with which parties can

access the relevant information.

“Once the transaction is completed,

we have a full audit trail,” summarizes

Brajkovich. He adds that the process

minimizes paper wastage, maximizes

accuracy and eradicates data-based

disputes, as well as having the

flexibility for additional partner

channels to be added as necessary.

NDS is currently developing additional

IoT-driven solutions to augment with

this process, offering real-time tracking

data without necessitating additional

human input. “Our claim to fame here is

that we’re very strong integrators,” says

Brajkovich as he explains the foundation

of the firm’s IoT success. “We have

talent that understands not only the

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POLARIS TRANSPORTATION GROUP

320

operations and processes involved with

the transportation and LTL freight

movement, but we have a very strong

enterprise service technology layer

that enables us to connect multiple

technologies and platforms through

APIs (application programming

interfaces).” With IoT naturally creating

numerous endpoints at the edge of the

network, this knack for integration

significantly accelerates NDS’s and

Polaris’s time to market for additional

IoT capabilities. “Currently, we are

active through an IoT process for our

electronic logging devices (ELDs), used

for truck driver mandates and tractor

data logging. We capture data from the

ELDs, as well as from Blackberry

devices tracking our trailers’ capacity,

volume and location. We have between

160 and 180 trailers, and they’re all

tracked.” The data is routed back

through the company’s legacy API

system, exemplifying the company’s

ability to integrate technological

solutions successfully. Looking forward,

Brajkovich says NDS’s IoT ambitions

are yet to be satisfied, and plenty of

exciting new innovations are on the way.

The firm is piloting a new product that

tracks drivers’ locations through their

AUGUST 2019


1994

Year founded

200

Approximate number

of employees

HQ

Mississauga, Ontario

Canada

mobile devices, enabling visibility of

delivery routes, delivery cycles, and

access to various timeframes for cycle

completion. “It’s quite revolutionary

in commercial freight movements,”

says Brajkovich. “Most clients don’t get

that kind of visibility. They have to call

customer services, who themselves

have to track those trucks and have

more room for inaccuracy. This way, it’ll

be a holistic view of where our trucks

are.” In addition to this novel approach

to visibility for clients, NDS is developing

a brand new form of IoT technology.

“We’re working with a couple of GPS

manufacturers to develop a disposable

GPS tracking device that we could

directly tag to the freight, as well as

working with telco companies that

could provide us with low-cost cell

coverage at a palatable price point that

clients can absorb,” enthuses Brajkovich.

“In return, they would get active

tracking at the freight level.” He notes

that perhaps the most vitally innovative

element of this research and development

is the proposed disposability.

“When it is received at the last mile, the

GPS will simply turn off as its battery

expires and can then be easily disposed

of,” he says. Enabling visibility in such

321

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POLARIS TRANSPORTATION GROUP

322

“THE ABILITY FOR US TO BE

ABLE TO LOOK INTERNALLY

AND EXTERNALLY, AND

REALLY PRIORITIZE THE

MOST VITAL PROJECTS

MEANS WE CAN LEAP

INSTEAD OF BABY-STEP

EVERYTHING THROUGH”


Dave Brajkovich,

CTO, Polaris Transport

a dynamic, seamless fashion would

stand to differentiate the firm’s prowess

even further from the competition.

Ultimately, Brajkovich credits NDS

and the strength of its partnerships with

the success of Polaris’s technological

innovations. “NDS, powered by strong

partners like WorkFusion, Softchoice,

Stratiform, Simnet and Fiorano has

enabled us to launch some really

dynamic offerings using tools that

might not be at the bleeding edge,

AUGUST 2019


323

but certainly within the cutting edge,”

he says. “We’ve proven that we can

take a company from a very segregated,

siloed system that’s hard to integrate

and communicate within, to a company

that is lean, efficient and technologically

scalable. The ability for us to be

able to look internally and externally,

and really prioritize the most vital

projects means we can leap instead of

baby-step everything through.” Polaris

Transport, in that regard, has landed

upon a holy grail of digital transformation:

agility, scalability, and a time to

market that brings core innovations to

the fore, benefitting both the company

and its all-important clients.

www.businesschief.com


324

SSR MINING:

LEVERAGING

TECHNOLOGY

AMIDST

TRANSFORMATION

IN THE MINING

SPACE

WRITTEN

BY

SEAN GALEA-PACE

PRODUCED BY

JAMES BERRY

AUGUST 2019


www.businesschief.com

325


SSR MINING INC.

DAVID THOMAS, DIRECTOR OF IT

AT SSR MINING, DISCUSSES HOW

TECHNOLOGY HAS BECOME AN

INFLUENTIAL COMPONENT TO

OPERATIONS SINCE FIRST BEING

EMBRACED IN 2013

326

A

s a firm that has undergone significant

transformation over the past few years,

SSR Mining knows first hand the importance

of embracing the latest trends in order to stay

ahead of competitors. With the increasing influence

technology has had on industries the world over,

SSR Mining has come a long way since it first

began to leverage new software and processes

in 2013. David Thomas, Director of IT at SSR Mining,

believes that, due to its smaller stature in comparison

to bigger companies in the region, his firm has

utilised this to its advantage. “The key benefit of

how we operate is that we’re smaller. Leveraging

infrastructure, such as cloud services that we don’t

have to invest large capital in, makes us nimbler,”

he says. “This means that a few years later, if we

want to change and do something that’s slightly

different because of new technology, we have the

capabilities to do that. If you compare that to bigger

companies, a lot of them have invested hundreds

of millions of dollars in capital to build infrastructure,

however, then they’re locked in. The landscape has

changed for us smaller companies as we can get in

AUGUST 2019


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327


SSR MINING INC.

“THE KEY BENEFIT

OF HOW WE

O PER ATE I S TH AT

WE’RE SMALLER”


David Thomas,

Director of IT, SSR Mining

328

AUGUST 2019


CLICK TO WATCH: ‘MARIGOLD MINE’

329

there and do what we want and move

with the times – I think it means we’re

really lucky and in a really great place.”

Based in Vancouver, Canada, the

mining firm focuses on the operation,

acquisition, exploration and development

of precious metal resource properties

in the Americans and oversees three

producing mines: Marigold in Nevada;

Seabee Gold Operation in Saskatchewan;

and the 75% owned and

operated Puna Operations joint

venture in Jujuy Province, Argentina.

Since its launch in 1989, the Marigold

mine achieved production of over

205,000 ounces of gold in 2018.

The Seabee Gold Operation produced

over 95,000 ounces of gold in 2018,

and Puna Operations achieved

commercial production in December

2018 and produces silver.

Thomas points to SSR Mining’s

ability to combine a proactive and

reactive approach that differentiates

his company from its rivals. “We’re

quite fortunate because we can be

followers and leaders,” explains

Thomas. “In 2013, we invested a little

bit of money into the cloud despite our

size and the fact we were operating

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SSR MINING INC.

330

just one mine at the time. Our move

towards the cloud gave us the opportunity

to move around our technology

for various projects, such as predictive

analytics or general artificial intelligence

(AI) and machine learning (ML)

type projects.” With mining often

considered as one of the slower

industries to adopt new technology,

it wasn’t until 2013 when SSR Mining

really put its foot down towards

digitalisation. “Back then, we had no

tech. We had an email system and

that’s pretty much it. But, one thing

we saw back then was the fact that we

could seize the opportunity to move

into the cloud. When we acquired our

second mine operation, Marigold, we

were positioned to start moving that

operation’s IT into the cloud straight

away. During the acquisition, we began

to transition from the previous owners’

technology to the cloud. As Amazon

and Azure introduced new things, we

were able to take advantage of some

of those new tools and features in our

other operation too.”

Looking back to how operations

AUGUST 2019


were previously conducted prior to

new technology being introduced,

Thomas acknowledges the challenges

he’s faced over the years. “Previously,

we didn’t have an Operational Excellence

team like we do today,” he says.

“Making that connection with the

business was a big challenge because

we’ve got IT-orientated people and

then at the other end of the scale are

mining-focused people, too. For us,

we had to bring those teams on the

extreme ends together and talk about

the challenges. For example, our

Marigold mine has a dispatch system,

331

EXECUTIVE PROFILE

David Thomas, Director of IT

After six years of Civil Engineering and running a high-rise

building computer design department in the mid 90s,

Thomas graduated from the University of Technology in

Sydney with an Engineering Degree and a Masters Degree in

Engineering Management. After graduation he quickly moved

into the Information Technology field in Melbourne Australia,

working in the bill payment and consulting industries,

before moving to Canada in 2005 where he led numerous IT

departments and IT Consulting teams in mining, shipping,

forestry and finance. With a deep background and education

in both Engineering and Information Technology,

Thomas provides both IT leadership and strategic IT

transformation for SSR Mining Inc.

www.businesschief.com


SSR MINING INC.

$400mn+

Approximate

revenue

1946

Year founded

332

14,000+

Approximate number

of employees

AUGUST 2019


www.businesschief.com

333


Manage, Solve,

and Deliver I.T.

We take pride in putting our customer

service front and foremost by creating

simple solutions for complex connections.

Discover your solution


similar to a taxi that tracks the destination

of where you’re going. It’s important

that we implement the right software

that will enable us to improve. We had to

have a much more conducive approach,

and being able to do that gave us the

ability to enhance our processes and

automate emergency systems so that,

if there’s a problem out on site, they can

press a button and get support.”

Having partnered with tech giants

such as Microsoft and Amazon Web

Services (AWS), Thomas believes what

makes a successful partnership is the

“LEVERAGING

INFRASTRUCTURE,

SUCH AS CLOUD

S ERV I C ES TH AT

WE DON’T HAVE

TO INVEST LARGE

CAPITAL IN, MAKES

US NIMBLER”


David Thomas,

Director of IT, SSR Mining

335

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SSR MINING INC.

336

ability to understand what the other

expects. “A good partnership will

involve mutual communication at all

times and a joint ability to deliver

something that works well together.

I know when it comes to some of these

smaller AWS or Azure partners, we

would choose a vendor that has the

skills and abilities internally to do the

job, but that can also align with our

nimbleness,” he explains. “A lot of our

infrastructure dovetails into Microsoft

and AWS. Amazon can give us a nice

little angle in terms of IoT endpoints

and it offers us a much larger vendor

footprint, too. With AWS, we would get

involved with the cyber types when

it comes to industrial.”

With a determination to not rest

on its previous successes, Thomas

affirms SSR Mining isn’t at the finish

line yet and he still considers it a small

and medium-sized enterprise (SME),

despite revenues of over $400mn in

2018. “In mining terms, our revenue is

relatively small. I think once you get

into the $2-4bn range of market

capitalization, that’s when you can be

AUGUST 2019


considered a big company. In terms

of market capitalization, we’re currently

around $2bn so we’re not quite there

yet. I almost consider us like a shopping

advert – we do more for less.” Looking

to the future, Thomas has clear ideas

about how his organisation can

continue to thrive in the mining space

over the next few years and beyond.

“I’m sure the gold industry will drive

the success of the company through

mergers and acquisitions; however,

in terms of our operations, I believe

our workforce and the safety of our

workforce is a key aspect for success,”

he notes. “It’s about ensuring strategic

objectives are aligned with the

operation base and being able to work

closely with the teams that we have

recently developed in the last two to

three years, such as the Operational

Excellence team. We need to evolve

as well as help with sustainability in the

next couple of years.”

337

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338

ASCENDANT

RESOURCES

rejuvenation

through

Mining 101

WRITTEN BY

MARCUS LAWRENCE

PRODUCED BY

RICHARD DEANE

AUGUST 2019


www.businesschief.com

339


ASCENDANT RESOURCES

Chris Buncic, CEO and

Co-Founder at Ascendant

Resources, discusses the

rejuvenation of the El Mochito

mine in Honduras and the

Mining 101 approach that

has powered its success

340

T

he El Mochito mine, located in the Las

Vegas municipality of Honduras and

around 88km southwest of San Pedro

Sula, has undergone a dramatic rejuvenation at the

hands of Ascendant Resources which acquired

the site in December 2016. Under Ascendant’s

management, El Mochito’s zinc production has

doubled and its revenues are growing rapidly.

Not only that, Ascendant has become the leading

miner in Honduras, a country whose mining

potential has been sorely overlooked according

to CEO Chris Buncic. He earmarks both capital

investment and the shift in management styles that

defined the takeover as being of vital importance

to the mine’s renaissance. “After we closed the

acquisition, we set upon a program of optimization

and rehabilitation of the asset, as well as retraining

operators,” says Buncic. “It was a very peoplefocused

change.” In tandem with introducing an

array of new equipment – a long overdue endeavor

at El Mochito – Ascendant brought the mine to free

AUGUST 2019


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341


ASCENDANT RESOURCES

“As we ramped up

production, people

have reaped the

benefits through

incentives”


Chris Buncic,

President, CEO and Co-Founder,

Ascendant Resources

342

2006

Year founded

$85.6mn

Revenue in 2018

1,242

Approximate number

of employees

cashflow positivity within a year of

closing the deal.

Ascendant has approached the

project with a ‘Mining 101’ mentality,

zeroing in on the basics to ensure

any additional developments are built

upon strong and efficient foundations.

“We assembled a new management

team that has performed consistently

over the last two and a half years, and

we replaced nearly all of the underground

trackless equipment,” says

Buncic. “Some of the trucks and

scoops had been subject to as many

AUGUST 2019


CLICK TO WATCH: ‘ONE X ONE WITH CHRIS BUNCIC,

ASCENDANT RESOURCES PRESIDENT AND CEO’

343

as four overhauls; in a typical lifecycle,

this would only have been done twice,

but because of their age we were

having availability issues. The key

metrics of the journey have been

availability of the equipment and its

proper and consistent utilization.”

It is equally essential to have both

equipment at hand when it is needed,

and trained staff who are available

to capitalize on it. “We added a fourth

shift underground for the truck drivers,

meaning there are now four overlapping

eight-hour shifts. Those shifts

are staggered over the course of the

day, and changeovers at the truck

underground rather than on surface.

This cuts out travel time, meal times

and so on, and has resulted in productivity

time increasing from 15 to 22

hours per day.” Simply adding additional

work hours is far from the sum of

Ascendant’s work with its staff. “In the

five years prior to the acquisition, there

had been six general managers each

with their own priorities and projects,”

explains Buncic, highlighting the

general sense of uncertainty and lack

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of clear direction to which workers at

El Mochito had become accustomed.

Not only has the new and successful

management team brought a fresh

era of stability, but Ascendant has

also been proactive in its approach

to supporting staff significantly

improving morale. “In 2017, we

renegotiated our collective bargaining

agreement with the workers’

union, which had been long overdue.

They were unhappy with the situation

before we took over, so we had lots

of positive benefits come through

that,” says Buncic. “As we ramped up

production, people have reaped the

benefits of the higher production

rates through incentives. Everyone is

happy in sharing the success of the

mine, and it’s certainly something

we’re happy to continue to foster.”

This attentiveness to its employees

EXECUTIVE PROFILE

Chris Buncic, President, CEO and Co-Founder

Chris Buncic is one of the founding partners in the formation

of Ascendant Resources Inc. and its acquisition of the

company’s flagship operating El Mochito mine from

Nyrstar NV in 2016. Prior to cofounding Ascendant,

Mr. Buncic served in senior management roles at

several Canadian corporations in the technology and

resources sectors. His depth of experience also includes

six years in Institutional Equity Research at leading

Canadian independent full-service brokerage firms

Cormark Securities Inc. and Mackie Research Capital

Corporation. Mr. Buncic is a CFA Charterholder, has

an MBA from Schulich School of Business and

B.A.Sc. from the University of Toronto. Mr. Buncic

is a member of the Professional Engineers of

Ontario and the CFA Society.

345

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ASCENDANT RESOURCES

346

“We brought in a new

management team

that has performed

consistently over the

last three years, and

we replaced nearly

all of the underground

trackless equipment”


Chris Buncic,

President, CEO and Co-Founder,

Ascendant Resources

AUGUST 2019


www.businesschief.com

347


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349

extends to the local municipality

through a range of highly successful

corporate social responsibility (CSR)

initiatives. In each of the past 10 years,

El Mochito mine has won the prestigious

Empresa Socialmente Responsible

(‘Socially Responsible Business’)

award from the Foundation for

Corporate Responsibility in Honduras

(FUNDAHRSE). “We give back

to communities to a very large degree,”

enthuses Buncic. “We operate

a hospital and two schools, and we

run smaller programs with respect to

school lunches and environmental

efforts. We have 11,000 hectares of

forestland on our property, and we

do a lot of reforestation and environmental

preservation on that land.”

As for the mine itself, incremental

infrastructural upgrades have been

vital to the leap in production, the sharp

rise in the quality of the ore produced,

and the efficiency with which that

produce is brought to the surface.

“We have been able to access some

new high-grade areas of the mine that

were not previously available, and our

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ASCENDANT RESOURCES

350

grade has improved materially from

5.3% when we took over the mine to

as high at 7% in Q4 2018,” says

Buncic. Part of this success can be

traced to Ascendant’s Lagoa Salgada

mining project in Portugal, itself

located within the famed Iberian

Pyrite Belt. “At Lagoa Salgada, we

conducted gravity and induced

polarization (IP) work which we found

to be very effective in finding additional

anomalies and targets to follow

up. We brought the same group that

conducted that study over to El

Mochito, and their underground,

gravity and IP studies have opened

up the potential of the western part

of the mine.”

In February of this year, the company

completed a 700-meter tunnel from

the Esperanza ore body in the

northwest of the mine to the crusher.

The tunnel provides a more direct

route between the sites, circumventing

the original winding route comprised

of rough terrain. Not only has

this opened up a previously unexplored

part of the mine and minimized

the wear and tear of the associated

machinery, but it is emblematic of the

AUGUST 2019


“One of the things

our team has been

good at is identifying

new opportunities”


Chris Buncic,

President, CEO and Co-Founder,

Ascendant Resources

351

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353

infrastructural upgrades that have

been pivotal in the mine’s rejuvenation.

“It’s a good example of the ways that

our team is strategizing as it looks to

find high-grade material to bring into

the mine plan as soon as possible,”

says Buncic.

In the long term, Buncic stresses

that Ascendant’s commitment to

maximizing the value of El Mochito

is far from over. Whilst maintaining

the production rates it has achieved,

continuing to seek out high-grade

ore bodies and evaluating areas where

costs can be saved, Ascendant is

“In 2017, we

renegotiated

our collective

bargaining

agreement with

the workers’

union, which

had been long

overdue”


Chris Buncic,

President, CEO and Co-Founder,

Ascendant Resources

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ASCENDANT RESOURCES

354

“It was a

very peoplefocused

change”


Chris Buncic,

President, CEO and Co-Founder,

Ascendant Resources

working hard to boost its profitability

per ton. With respect to this, Buncic

highlights the expansion plan posited

in a Preliminary Economic Assessment

(PEA) released in October 2018 that

seeks to cut costs to below $1 per

zinc equivalent pound. The plan is

split into three components: opening

a more direct mine shaft in the east

of the mine; installing a large and

efficient water pumping system with

AUGUST 2019


355

clarification capabilities; and expanding

the plant to bring its capacity up

to an average of 2,800 tons per day,

boosting the mill’s production by 27%

while simultaneously cutting costs by

the same margin. “One of the things

our team has been good at is identifying

new opportunities,” says Buncic.

“We’ve done that with El Mochito,

we’ve done it with Lagoa Salgada.

In the mining space today, there are

a lot of great opportunities, and we

have an excellent network of partners

who want to work with us across the

financial gamut as we look to grow

the company.”

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