JD WhitlockJD Whitlock, CIO, Dayton Childrens

  1. What was your first job?

Paperboy when I was 13. Woke up at 6am in blizzards in upstate NY to deliver your morning paper on my bicycle. Went through a lot of rusted out bicycles. And I put the newspaper inside your storm door, didn’t just throw it in the bushes from the sidewalk. Customer service!

2. Tell us about your career path.

Started out in the Navy driving ships around the Pacific and Middle East and Caribbean, then switched to healthcare administration in the Air Force, and got into healthcare IT from there.

  1. What are the CEO’s top priorities for you in the coming year?  How do you plan to support the business with IT?

We have a crack team of visionary Execs, the entire C-suite, that push hard on IT to deliver transformative capabilities for our providers, nurses, patients, and of course in our special case as a children’s hospital, the families of our patients. Dayton Children’s has had significant growth in the last couple years (new patient tower with a lot of new IT capability) so the focus this year in IT is on a better support model for the wide variety of new applications added in the last couple years, while still doing a double-upgrade to our Epic electronic health record (EHR) in November, and a significant expansion of our WorkDay ERP into supply chain in the spring. Also tossing in a transition to O365 and several other new clinical applications just for fun. My Air Force analogy for this year is that we are easing off the supersonic afterburner (we don’t build new patient towers every year) and now we need to keep cruising at 500mph and innovating while implementing a better support model for all the applications we added recently.

  1. What advice would you give to aspiring IT leaders?

One of the many great things about working in IT is that there are both supervisory and individual contributor paths to career progression, a bigger paycheck, and hopefully some simultaneous net positive effect on the universe. Let’s face it, the personality characteristics that make great geeks do not always also make good bosses. We all know IT leaders that got promoted because they were smart and stuck around, but probably should have focused on honing their coding skills in a dark room rather than trying to supervise other human beings. So take a deep breath and ask yourself where your strengths lie. If you want to be a leader of people in addition to a  leader of technology, great, go get an MBA, and realize you may need to switch employers a few times to find the right progression of supervisory roles. On the other hand, if you are a super-geek, embrace that, and go deep with data science or cybersecurity or whatever floats your boat. That is one of the many awesome things about working in IT – you can make a good living as an individual contributor. Of course if you want to make more coin as an individual contributor you have to be smart about where the technology AND industry are headed. Don’t bother getting smart on something that AI will do well in 5 years. I am available for career counseling on this topic for the small price of buying me a beer at Lock 27 or an Old Fashioned at The Century Bar after work. Just look me up on LinkedIn.

Current Magazine September 2019 September 2019
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