From August 29-31, C2C will be onsite at Google Cloud Next ‘23 to meet face-to-face with the Google Cloud community and help our members connect with their peers and leaders in the cloud ecosystem. C2C is excited to take this opportunity to bring the C2C Board of Directors together in front of our broader network. For our members who will be joining us, as well as those of you who will be following along remotely, the Board Moods series is our effort to make our board members more accessible and available to the members they serve. In this installment of the series, we speak with Dan Stuart, CIO of Southwire, about partnership, family, and bringing tech to underserved regions through community.
Tell me about something important to you outside of your career in technology.
An important part of my life outside of work and everything else I do is really my family. We try to spend a lot of time together due to the fact that I work a lot of hours, so when I have the time, it’s really all about the family.
You’ve been at the CIO level for quite some time now. What were your early career experiences that helped you grow into that role?
My experiences go back pretty far, so let me jog my memory a little bit. I started when they still had big computer rooms. I started my career at Sperry New Holland in New Holland, Pennsylvania, back in the early 80s. I’ve been very fortunate to work for a lot of great companies, but also through my career have moved into different positions going up the chain. I really think that has helped me in my career when I look back at it, going from way back when computer operators were a big thing to programmer, to project manager, director, right up to the VP level into the CIO levels. Having that complement of working in different roles within IT and working within different industries has been a big help in my career. You might look at my career and look at so many different industries and say, “Well, they’re pretty different form each other,” but there’s a lot of similarities in business when it comes right down to it, especially when it’s in the IT sector. Obviously manufacturing is where I’m at today. It’s kind of where I started my career, so it’s pretty nice to be back in a big manufacturing organization like Southwire.
You’re also on the board of ASUG, our sister community. What unites these two communities, and what makes C2C a unique value prop?
Obviously, being on the ASUG board, the SAP client members that we have at ASUG, there’s a good number of them that are Google customers as well. Google and SAP have a great partnership in a number of areas, so I think having that ASUG and C2C connection is really huge. What brings value both from ASUG and C2C is that networking. That networking between different organizations, whether they’re in your industry or outside your industry, is critically important for anyone at my level, because you can learn so much from different organizations. C2C brings a lot. That networking brings a lot. The awareness that C2C brings around what google is doing is very important for everyone.
You’ve been a proponent of SAP for a long time. What makes you as an IT leader feel similarly invested in Google Cloud?
We’ve been on Google Cloud since 2020, and talking with the Google team probably since 2019, and one of the things that really attracted us to Google Cloud for our SAP environment––and by the way, more than just our SAP environment now here at Southwire––has been the teamwork and the partnership we have bonded with Google. We’re leveraging Google not only through Google Cloud, but also for other things around AI. Obviously, Google is a big player in AI. They’ve been doing it for years, and so you look at the strengths of your partners, like what Google has in that AI space, and I think that’s something that I was leaning on a lot from the Southwire side.
You’re a part of a White House project devoted to promoting technology jobs in rural America. How do you think customer communities can contribute to the growth of the tech sector in rural and less developed areas?
Google plays a big role in delivering technology to communities that have not had it before. At the White House, I was there with one of our partners at the time, and it was really to promote rural development of technology in areas that were losing their workforce to one change in life or another. This is where organizations like Google I think are very strong, in helping out in certain geographical areas of the US. When we were at the White House we were looking at areas like West Virginia, Arizona, New Mexico, areas that you don’t probably think of as high tech areas, but they have the skill sets. They have the universities. Why aren’t more people investing in those area? That has changed a lot since I was at the White House, but with all the stuff Google has done over the last three to five plus years, I think they’re probably playing a bigger role in those areas than they ever have been before.
In a community like C2C, what’s a lesson that IT business leaders today can take away from their conversations with their peers?
What we leaned in on from the Southwire side was the partnership with an organization the size of Google, and the breadth and depth of what they have to offer. I can tell you that our journey had a lot to do with being able to be scalable, secure, and flexible to grow quickly, and all of that has come into play for us at Southwire, so I have to say my journey has been pretty successful with Google.