By Jennifer Erb
When Phil Matthews entered college, he had the goal of becoming a leader of an organization. He had read an article on the day in the life of a Chief Operating Officer and this inspired him. He had two interests in high school: mechanical devices and architecture. While he originally thought of pursuing Mechanical Engineering, he quickly transferred to Industrial Engineering because of its focus on systems not just hardware.
Phil began his career with Schlumberger in a manufacturing plant which was making energy metering devices. It was at this time that Phil saw that a lot of manufacturing was moving off shore. He decided to change his career focus to supply chain activities. He joined Manugistics a company that developed supply chain software. It was at this time that Phil became involved in information technology. In a short period of time, Phil had exposure to a large number of companies. He eventually became the Senior Vice President of Manugistics. He was 33 years old.
Phil left Manugistics, and after doing consulting for a short period of time, he joined US Air as its Chief Information Officer (CIO). His assignment was to restructure the information technology systems of US Air reducing costs while improving flexibility.
Phil discovered that he preferred entrepreneurial businesses over larger companies. He left US Air to join Service Bench, a company which provides software to make field service more cost efficient. Phil had an equity position in Service Bench and served as its Vice President.
Phil was subsequently recruited to join CARFAX and currently serves as its CIO. CARFAX meets Phil’s criteria for a career move: Its an entrepreneurial business, he has the opportunity to affect how the business is run, and it’s a company where he can exercise his passions for change.
Phil advises students who want to follow an information technology career to focus on developing their creative, logical, and systems design abilities. “I do a lot of process mapping to discover how systems and business processes connect with each other,” Phil says. “You need to know computer languages – we build most of our products in Java. Business is becoming more mobile so it’s good to understand mobile development and iOS/Android application software. We are also seeing more need for data mining/insight development and Search Engine Optimization. But technology enablement is so much more than just coding. Its understanding how technology solves a business need.”
As Chief Information Officer, Phil Matthews provides leadership for CARFAX’s technology strategy and delivery. He manages the company’s product portfolio roadmap and is responsible for product development, enterprise systems, business intelligence, infrastructure, and security. Prior to joining CARFAX in 2008, Phil was responsible for Client Services and Operations at ServiceBench, a privately held software company, where he was charged with dramatically scaling client growth and delivery capabilities. ServiceBench was recognized as one of the 500 fastest growing technology companies in North America. Prior to ServiceBench, Phil served as the CIO for US Airways where he successfully restructured their technical operations and led the subsequent technology integration in the merger with America West. Prior to US Airways, Phil spent 10 years in various executive leadership roles at supply chain software leader, Manugistics. Phil started his career as an Industrial Engineer for Schlumberger working on manufacturing systems. Phil holds an MBA from Clemson University and a BS in Industrial Engineering from West Virginia University.