Vice President, Technology
IBM Global Markets
Bachelor of Science, Metallurgy, Lewis University
Master of Science, Computer Science, Illinois Institute of Technology
Ed’s inventive architecture, design and development — while focusing on business growth, client satisfaction and loyalty — have made him influential in creating game-changing innovations and a trusted advisor to IBM clients.
What does being named an IBM Fellow mean to you?
It’s really a tremendous honor. As an IBMer in the technical community there really isn’t a greater distinction. It’s a reflection of the tremendous value of the body of work one brings to IBM, our clients and to the technical community, and it’s also a reflection of those who have been a part of the journey. Mentors and managers, colleagues I’ve worked with, family, protégées and clients play a big role. They’ve been instrumental in my professional development. I’m very grateful for that. And while I’m proud of my body of work, I’m really humbled by those who have played such an important role in my journey. It’s a great sense of personal satisfaction.
What are you most proud of?
I’m certainly proud of my Fellow appointment. No question about it. Most people don’t know that I have an identical twin and we both work at IBM. We were both Distinguished Engineers and I can honestly say one of the things I’m most proud of is when he was appointed Distinguished Engineer. I’m also very proud of my marriage. I was blessed to marry my high school sweetheart. Despite all the naysayers, we’ve been together for 29 years with many, many more years to come. I’m really proud of that, too.
Current project that excites you most?
Right now I’m working on an Internet of Things project. We had moved into a new home and I was doing dishes one day when I smelled this smell and knew something was wrong. There was a huge gash on the underside of the garbage disposal, spewing water and waste. It had rotted the cabinet, soaked through the drywall and damaged the ceiling in the basement. It was just a disaster. And I thought: this should never have happened.
So I took my experience in IoT and began exploring. I started building my own sensors and then realized there were suppliers that had devices that looked viable. I focused on one that offered a really interesting value proposition. It was from that point of personal experience that I said, “How do we take this problem and address this as a market opportunity for IBM?” It became apparent how big this opportunity was and it seemed that nobody was solving it in a commercial context.
Advice for tackling tough problems?
Solving tough problems comes with repetition. Most are really nothing more than a set of less complex problems that you deconstruct, solve and then reconstruct. And never try to tackle a problem alone — leverage your network, confide in those you trust and solicit their input. As an identical twin, my whole life has been centered on never trying to solve a problem alone.