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Return to: 2009 Feature Stories

CLIENT: MACTEC, Inc.

July 15, 2009: Information Week

THIS CIO WEARS TWO HATS BUT HAS ONE MISSION: CUSTOMER SATISFACTION

As CIO of MACTEC, Larry White has always placed a priority on meeting internal customer needs at the Atlanta-based engineering, environmental and construction consulting firm. Now, in his recently added role as director of the firm's Facility Lifecycle Group (FLG), it's also his responsibility to serve external customers with equal care and attention.

The FLG group uses MACTEC's decision-support tool...

This CIO wears two hats but has one mission: customer satisfaction.

As CIO of MACTEC, Larry White has always placed a priority on meeting internal customer needs at the Atlanta-based engineering, environmental and construction consulting firm. Now, in his recently added role as director of the firm's Facility Lifecycle Group (FLG), it's also his responsibility to serve external customers with equal care and attention.

The FLG group uses MACTEC's decision-support tool, called Vertex, to provide services to building-owner customers. The tool helps customers manage and use maintenance, repair and replacement funds in the most cost-effective way by considering whether specific upkeep and repair activities will extend the value of a facility's assets. As part of his FLG job, White must grow sales in the federal and educational markets where legislative and school bond issues drive business as well as in the private sector, where decision-support tools like Vertex are relatively new.

Despite the added workload, White was well-prepared for the duties because he and a colleague had proposed the development of the Vertex expert system and created the FLG business unit. Additionally, he has been involved in strategic planning and processes for marketing and sales for the past 15 years. Senior managers know "that I am there to talk about technology in terms of how it supports their business, and that I am as conversant with their business [needs] as I am with technology," he says.

No matter which group he is representing, White fully understands that neither internal nor external clients can be taken for granted. As CIO, he annually evaluates the services MACTEC's IT department delivers to internal customers against outsourcing options, to make sure his team can meet or exceed service providers' capabilities in quality and cost. That same high standard drives his approach to external client services, too. White gets directly involved with some customer presentations because, he says, "Having senior management there demonstrates to customers that this [engagement] is important to us, and that if they choose us, I will always be available to them."

Additionally, White believes that to be most effective at serving customers whether within or outside of the organization you've got to be a good team consultant and leader. He regularly conducts strategizing sessions with both his IT and FLG teams, where they can develop steps going forward. White offers feedback to keep both organizations moving on the right course and says it's his role to "enable the people I work with to do their jobs" well.

It helps that he understands what motivates each team, too. For the facilities group, White has figured out that a good salesperson is someone for whom there "is nothing more important than the overwhelming desire to win." CRM technology is vital for White to make sure the sales team is reaching its goals. "Without that, it's hard to judge progress," he says. "I learned early on that having a sales pipeline that shows you various prospects from first contact to the close of contract is critical to having any kind of predictability in what revenue is going to look like, and what sales are going to be on a quarterly basis," White says. And at MACTEC, understanding sales forecasts is all part of the CIO's job.

Return to: 2009 Feature Stories