Memphis Chapter - Society for Information Management
Quarterly Newsletter  |  2013, Vol 4 
About the Newsletter
The Quarterly Newsletter provides an overview of SIM Memphis Chapter news, upcoming meetings, events, and location community outreach programs.
Executive Summary
Membership News

In the last newsletter we announced our membership numbers had reached 99 and we were wondering who would be our record-breaking #100.  We are proud to announce that we are ending 2013 at 105 members. Tony Fischer, CIO of the City of Germantown is our ONE HUNDREDTH member!   


Welcome New Members!

Community Outreach

A Great Year for Community Outreach!

SIM continued to grow its local outreach presence in 2013.   More than 400 students participated in our programs.  Events were held on 23 days and $12,000 was spent on Outreach initiatives...more>>  


Girls Get It

In the last 15 months we have reached over 400 girls and educators and plans are underway to expand the number of speakers for each school, reach out to more educators, and to expand the number of IT-related Summer Workshops...more>>  


Membership_NewsMembership News
by Susan Caldwell

Welcome New Members!


Ahmed Esmail, CTO, The Conrad Pearson Clinic

Ahmed Esmail currently serves as the Chief Technology Officer at The Conrad Pearson Clinic.  His responsibilities include the technology infrastructure, Electronic Medical Records system and Governance.  He has over 20 years of experience in information technology with over 1 year in management.   Mr. Esmail holds a Bachelors of Business Administration in Management Information Systems and a Masters Degree in Information Technology.     Ahmed has over 10 years of teaching experience and serves on several college advisory boards.



Greg Jackson, Business IT Manager, Commercial Printing Papers, International Paper

Greg joined International Paper in 2000 and currently serves as the IT Manager for Commercial Printing Papers, where he is responsible for leading the delivery and management of solutions that meet the information technology needs of the business.  Prior to this position, Greg was manager of IP's Messaging and Collaboration team, which completed the company's global migration from Lotus Domino to Microsoft Exchange and led the creation of IP's Bring Your Own Device program.  Greg also led the Technical Architecture domain of IP's Enterprise Architecture team and has held positions in Data Center Operations.  Greg holds a Computer Engineering degree from Mississippi State University and an MBA from Union University.  He lives in Collierville with his wife Romona.


Robert Jackson, Associate Vice Provost IT, University of Memphis

Robert has 12 years of experience in applications development and database support in the corporate sector and over 12 years of experience working within technical support teams in higher education. In his current role at the University of Memphis, he assists with strategic planning and policy-making decisions, defines and collects performance metrics for the unit, provides assistance to leaders of operational and functional units, and assists with coordinating the efforts of the ITS leadership team.


Betsy Sanders, Assistant Professor, Rhodes College

Betsy Williams Sanders joined the Rhodes College faculty as an Assistant Professor of Computer Science in the Fall of 2007.   She grew up in Inverness, Mississippi, and received her undergraduate degree in mathematics and computer science from Millsaps College, a liberal arts college in Jackson, Mississippi. She then completed her master's degree and Ph.D. in computer science at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. At Rhodes, she has taught many of the courses in the computer science curriculum at a variety of levels.  Her primary research interest lies in computer graphics, specifically the study of effective virtual environments.   She has co-authored a number of articles with Rhodes students and recently served as a co-chair for the ACM Symposium on Applied Perception.


Jim Sanders, V.P. Information Technology, Perkins & Marie Callender

An information technology professional with more than 30 years of experience, Jim recently joined the Perkins & Marie Callender's executive team as the Vice President of IT. In this role Jim is responsible for all aspects of the organization's information technology and systems including point of sale, restaurant back office systems, corporate systems and manufacturing ERP systems.


Prior to joining Perkins, Jim led the mainframe and open systems development teams supporting the merchandising, sales processing, inventory control, and financial systems Fred's Inc., a $1.8 billion regional discount retailer. In the role of VP of Systems Development, he worked closely with internal business partners to understand their business and systems needs, assist in the prioritization of their requests, scheduled and monitored new development of system enhancements and support.


Jim has also served in IT systems development management roles with International Paper where he led the team tasked with the development, maintenance, and support of their main order entry system and with Federal Express where he led development teams supporting various corporate departments. Early in his career, Jim served as a Senior Software Specialist for Digital Equipment Corporation. Jim holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Rhodes College.


Members on the Move!


Donnie Stewart, Retired CIO ACH Foods

Learning of Donnie's retirement, the question on many folks lips was "what are you going to do now?"  So, Donnie has provided us with the answer... and, we're sure what will be a challenge to anyone considering life after "retirement"!  So, here's what Donnie has to say.....


"First, I would like to thank SIM for honoring me with this request for an article on my "retirement" and subsequent new ventures. SIM has for the past fifteen years provided a backdrop for vetting my ideas and decisions while leading companies down the path of recognizing IT as the foundation for meeting business objectives. For that I will always remain grateful.


As for "retirement", I can say that it has only been possible by the successes I've seen over a career that has spanned the past 30 years. Successes, not of my own, but of the many staffs and employees I've been privileged to lead. For without their contributions, I would not have had the peace of mind to move on to the next chapter in my life.


I've had a very successful and satisfying run at this IT Leadership thing. I've worked in over 250 cities, in 48 states and 14 countries on 4 continents. I've seen and experienced initiatives around the world that some will only read or dream about. The most satisfying aspect of my career over the last several years has been the relationships I've developed, both with employees and vendor/partners, as well. I hope to be able to sustain these relationships into the future.


Since leaving Corporate America in June of this year, I took a brief two and a half week excursion to Italy, Monaco, France and Amsterdam. But since returning, I've been so busy, that it already seems like so long ago. I've been busier than I've been in a long time (at least since the last SAP implementation project). My youngest daughter, Allison, my wife and I have invested in a Cardio Barre® franchise and will be opening on October 26th, in Overton Square. There were several factors in my decision to do this and in particular, with this specific franchise. You see, for me retirement simply means doing something I enjoy, on my terms, and at my pace. Owning a franchise falls about 80% into this definition.  Negotiating leases and service contracts, overseeing construction contractors, setting up vendor relationships and purchasing items, implementing computer networks and POS systems, hiring instructors and getting them trained, all while driving to a targeted deadline may not sound like retirement to many people, but I'm having fun, and like I said, about 80% falls into my definition of terms and at my pace, while having fun!


I chose the Cardio Barre® franchise for several reasons. First, at my age, I know I need to be able to rely on some form of fitness that will keep me in shape and in good health for a long time. Cardio Barre is a no-impact fitness regimen, based on ballet barre work, at a cardio pace. The barre simply provides a means for centering and balance, allowing you to isolate the muscles. The exercises themselves elongate the muscles, giving a toned, lean appearance.  The cardio pace gets the heart rate up, burning calories, while producing increased energy levels. It's perfect. It's fun. It's challenging. It's a heck of a workout, and it works! Another thing that attracted us to this specific opportunity is that there is a huge motivational aspect to it. It's not just about changing your body, it's about changing your lives. It's not just getting that feeling of achievement during the class, but about carrying that feeling with you into other encounters.


Cardio Barre® is an LA based franchise that is growing significantly. There are 15 in California, one in Salt Lake City, and now us. There are several in the works for places like Denver, Maryland, New York and Mexico. They've only been franchising for about five years, so it is somewhat of a ground floor opportunity. It doesn't hurt that it is truly "Hollywood's premiere workout". There is a lot of buzz in the industry about Cardio Barre® and it doesn't hurt to have so many testimonials from so many celebrities (


We'll be bringing a couple of LA sportswear lines to Memphis, as well, which is kind of exciting. It is also exciting to be part of the Overton Square revival. Between the City of Memphis and Loeb Properties, over $50 million is being invested into the renovation. There is a tremendous buzz in the city about it and with the tenant mix that has recently leased space, it will truly be a "lifestyle" destination.


So, as you can see, "retirement" can be busy. I'm so thankful for the long career I had in IT and I'm excited about what will be the next chapter in my journey, but I'm not content. I have several other ideas rattling around inside my head and I'm actually working on a couple. I want to get Cardio Barre® up and running and operating efficiently, so I can move forward with trying out other ideas and opportunities... other "retirement" initiatives.


So, again, thanks to SIM and I hope to see you all "at the barre".


Members in the News!


Della Adams, GIS Program Manager, City of Memphis

As if her demanding job as Program Manager of the City's Graphical Information System wasn't enough, this SIM member has added business entrepreneurship to her list of accomplishments.  And, by the way, she knocked a few other things off her list in the process, such as losing weight, becoming an athlete, and turning around her health.  Read the fascinating article here.

In Memoriam


Dave Masterson, Retired CIO, Diocese of Memphis

Our hearts were deeply saddened to learn that Dave Masterson, retired member of SIM Memphis, had passed away.  Dave put up a valiant fight against cancer and maintained a positive outlook during all that he endured.  He was an inspiration for all who knew him for this reason, and many other reasons as well.  


We appreciate all the contributions Dave made to SIM - he was a long-time member and avid supporter of our outreach programs, he was an excellent thinker, someone who was happy when he was sharing his knowledge, a consummate professional who was incredibly well respected, a unique and kind person, a volunteer and more - he was our friend.  He will be missed by everyone whose life he touched.   


In loving memory of Dave, SIM Memphis has made a contribution to St. Benedict at Auburndale High School.


Community_OutreachCommunity Outreach
by Dennis Norton
By Dennis Norton

SIM continued to grow its local outreach presence in 2013.   More than 400 students participated in our programs.  Events were held on 23 days and $12,000 was spent on Outreach initiatives.

Much of the growth occurred in the expansion of the "Girls Get IT" program.  Created and led by Jana Markowitz, this program brings STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) awareness to students in the four local girls' high schools.



Yearly impact on students as a direct result of the chapters contributions and volunteer efforts.
This year's "Girls Get IT" events included:
  • Build A Computer Workshop
  • Career Shadowing
  • Career Panels
  • IT Educators Conference



Other Outreach Highlights for 2013


Teen Tech Camp at the Memphis Public Library is our longest running program.  This was the ninth year to hold the one-week summer camp and a total of 211 students have attended over the years.  Ed Charbonnet and David Ulloa were the SIM leaders.


We had a special treat at this year's Strategy Series.  During the conference we were able to bring Walid Hamade to the stage.  Walid attended Teen Tech Camp in 2009 and came back as a volunteer for four years straight.  He learned enough about the SCRATCH programming language that he actually taught the class this year! 


Walid was presented with a brand new computer by Presidio, a friend and supporter of our Outreach efforts.  Walid's parents were in the audience to witness the event.  He is a shining example of what can happen when you provide mentoring and opportunity to students. 


We also ran a second Teen Tech Camp at the Center for Excellence Summer Program at Hutchison School.    Dave Pekol and Lakshmi Visvanathan were the SIM leaders.


Technology Career Day, led by Jeff LaRusso, was held again in the Zone at University of Memphis.  This was produced jointly with AMIS, a student-led MIS organization.  College students are invited to hear IT speakers talk about career opportunities.


SIM has endowed scholarships for MIS majors at University of Memphis and LeMoyne Owen College.  SIM participates with UofM to select the winning recipient.  This year John Halbert and Dennis Norton served on the candidate selection panel.


The 2013 SIM STEM Grant was a brand new program.  The SIM leaders were Jim Dutkosky and Dennis Norton.  Two grants were awarded.

  • Rhodes College - Science Saturdays
  • Memphis Library Foundation - Black Girls Code workshop

None of this great work would have been possible without the support from our SIM Volunteers.    Thank you for all you have done for SIM Outreach this year. 

  • Adams, Della
  • Branham, Jana
  • Brown, Judy
  • Caldwell, Susan
  • Charbonnet, Ed
  • Cheek, Teresa
  • Coons, Diane
  • Dutkosky, Jim
  • Gillenson, Mark
  • Halbert, John
  • Johnson, Bob
  • LaRusso, Jeff
  • Lewis, John
  • Macon, Danita
  • Markowitz, Jana
  • Mashburn, Phillip
  • Morgan, Jarrett
  • Morgan, Kevin
  • Pekol, Dave
  • Raines, Larry
  • Simmons, Mario
  • Simon, Judith C.
  • Smith, Debbie
  • Stanley, Rich
  • Toman, Joseph
  • Ulloa, David
  • Vandenberg, Dick
  • Visvanathan, Lakshmi 

I also want to thank the SIM chapter for giving me the opportunity to serve for four years as Community Outreach Chair.   The work being done by our chapter board and membership is improving the lives of people in our community.  I am truly proud to be a member of SIM Memphis! 


I congratulate Danita Macon for coming forward as the new Chair.  I know she will receive the same high level of support from the organization and wish her all the best.     


Girls Get IT Program


Program Summary to Date

SIM Memphis began outreach to girls' schools in Memphis after we became aware that women had been shying away from computing degrees and careers since the late 1990's. The statistic that shocked us into action:


In 1985 37% of computing degrees were awarded to women

In 2009 18% of computing degrees were awarded to women


Add to those another shocking statistic - in 2012 14% of IT organizations in the US had NO women - and you have a crisis for all IT organizations. Not only are we having difficulty finding qualified IT candidates, we are only drawing on 50% of our talent pool since we are somehow not appealing to young women.


Galvanized to action Susan Caldwell (a graduate of St. Agnes) and Jana Markowitz (a graduate of St. Mary's) decided to reach out to their respective alma maters. Where better to find lots of bright, young women than in girls' schools? And since we are alums they have to talk to us, right?  So started the "Girls Get IT" in Memphis. 


Realizing that having a person "connected" to the school helped, Susan and Jana recruited Debbie Smith (a graduate of Immaculate Conception) and John Lewis (not a graduate of Hutchison, but his daughter, wife, wife's mother and wife's grandmother are graduates) to be relationship managers to the other girls' schools.


In addition to taking women in executive IT positions to the schools to speak on Career Panels, we began to establish relationships between the schools and local IT organizations. Companies that volunteered to host girls "career shadowing" included First Horizon, Thomas & Betts, Semmes-Murphey, the Memphis Public Library, ALSAC, Rhodes College, Hilton, ServiceMaster, U of M and LunaWeb.


In addition to career panels, SIM brought individuals in technology careers the girls had never heard of to speak at the schools. At St. Agnes we had human factors professionals from IBM and State Farm Insurance speak to the girls via webinar, while at St. Mary's the CEO of a medical device start-up company spoke about his device to assist doctors treating heart conditions by measuring cardiac output with non-invasive, mobile technology.


Hutchison came up with the "Build a Computer" workshop concept, which Ed Charbonnet brought to life using recycled desktop computers and a Raspberry Pi (credit card sized computer costing $50 with all the functions of a desktop).  Hutchison also hosted a workshop on IT Careers for Educators, which enlightened college counselors and STEM coordinators about the wide variety of career paths open to people with computing degrees.


Below is a summary events in which each school has participated. Included are the number of girls and educators we reached.


 St. Mary's

  • IT Career Panel: 110 girls (Oct 2012)
  • Career Shadowing: 13 girls  (Feb 2013)
  • STEM speaker Kin Clinton: 38 girl

Nov 2013: 161 girls



  • IT Career Panel: 70 girls  (Mar 2013)
  • Career Shadowing: 8  girls  (Apr 2013)
  • Build a Computer Workshop: 20 girls  (Jun 2013)
  • IT Careers Workshop for Educators: 24 educators

Aug 2013: 122 (98 girls, 24 educators)


Immaculate Conception

  • IT Career Day Speakers: 50 girls

April 2013: 50 girls


St. Agnes

  • IT Career Panel (at St. Mary's): 15 girls  (Oct 2012)
  • Human Factors professionals via webinar: 30 girls

Apr 2013: 45 girls


Plans to Ramp up the Girls Get IT Program in 2014

Although we have reached almost 400 girls and educators in the last 15 months, we think we can do much better in 2014. Plans are underway to expand the number of speakers for each school, reach out to more educators (perhaps career shadowing for college counselors and teachers?), and to expand the number of IT-related Summer Workshops.


We can never have too many volunteers --whether you are male or female, we need your help. While only women can be role models for the girls, men are needed to talk about IT careers and to demonstrate they would welcome sharp IT employees of all genders and ethnicities.


We also plan to increase the use of technology to enable our outreach to girls' schools (and others) including Skype, Google Hangout, webinars and a web-based volunteer registration platform. Stay tuned for details.


Also if we can get volunteers to act as relationship managers, we are open to expanding all of the girls' school programs to co-ed and public schools as well. Please let us know if you would like to get involved --- perhaps to help a school you attended or currently have family members attending.


Next Meeting
Rhodes College
2000 N. Parkway
Memphis, TN  38112


January 9, 2013 
Teresa Beckham Gramm, Ph.D.
Start the new year gaining with insight into the economic road ahead. Dr. Beckham Gramm will address the national economy in the global context, enumerate some of the arguments posed by macroeconomists today, and draw attention to the tensions among them. Be prepared for an animated conversation and question-and-answer session to follow the presentation.
Have SIM Memphis News to Share for the Next Quarterly Newsletter?
Please email our new Marketing Chair, Darrell Price


SIM Memphis

2014 Board of Directors



Mario Simmons



Michael Jones



Jim Boyd



Jana Branham

Susan Caldwell 



Bob Johnson



Danita Macon



Darrell Price



Jarrett Morgan

Kevin Morgan



Rick Pride 



Dick Vandenberg


Past President

Della Adams


Newsletter Contributors
  Susan Caldwell
   Dennis Norton

    Jana Markowitz 

  Jarrett Morgan
   Kevin Morgan
About SIM
Established in 1968, the Society for Information Management (SIM) is the premier network for IT leaders. SIM is comprised of more than 3,600 members including CIOs, senior IT executives, prominent academicians, and foremost consultants. Through its 31 chapters, SIM provides resources and programs inspired by IT leaders for IT leaders that enable CIOs to further develop their leadership capabilities and those of the emerging leaders in their organizations. SIM provides the premiere collective voice to advocate policy and legislation on behalf of the IT profession. 

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