By Jennifer Erb
When Mike Leonard was growing up his father had a failing tire retreading business. Mike at that young age realized that efficiency was key to business success. That’s why he picked Industrial Engineering as a major.
As a senior Mike was assigned an internship at WVU Hospitals. He was asked to do an elevator study which involved documenting the ridership and delays with the elevators. His progress report from his first day of his internship consisted of the following two sentences: “The elevator went up. The elevator went down.” This two sentences were repeated for several pages. Little did Mike know at the time, that this project would be the start of a multifaceted career.
Ruby Memorial was in the planning stage at the time, and Mike developed a simulation model that helped determine the number of operating rooms that the hospital would need. The simulation model was very successful and led to a job with Barton-Malow the construction firm that built Ruby Memorial.
At Barton-Malow, Mike continued his transition to an information technology career. He began to update their information systems. After five years at Barton-Malow, Mike joined Deloitte and Touche as a senior consultant working with various states to upgrade their welfare information systems.
Mike left Deloitte after 2 years to join Sterling Software. This was his first senior executive position. He was 28 years old at the time. Mike was Vice President of Development. In this position, Mike led his team to develop Sterling’s first software for internet applications. Mike had an equity position in Sterling.
After five years at Sterling, Mike joined Sapient Nitro, an information technology businesses, that provides support for clients who want to improve their digital marketing capabilities. Clients that Mike has worked with include well know companies such as Coca-Cola, UPS, Unilever, Met Life, and Target. Mike has an equity position in Sapient Nitro as well.
In his current role, Mike sees a growing role for data analytics. “We can look at a person’s browsing history and gain insights to better serve customers find the product or service they are looking for,” Mike says.
Mike advises students who are in an information system career to develop skills in analyzing information flow and then having the creative ability to watch what a user is looking for with the information system. The software package that Mike recommends students learn is Apple Swift because it has much less of a syntax issue than Java.