Greg Smith is a CIO consultant living in the Portland, OR, area recently completing a one year Interim CIO commitment with Western Washington University as their Interim CIO. After resigning in June 2015 as the Chief Information Officer for Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, MO, Greg backpacked throughout the Northwest to close out 2015. Prior to his CIO role at Missouri S&T, Greg served 8 years as the CIO at George Fox University in Oregon. Greg came to the Northwest from the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology, IUPUI, in Indianapolis, IN. where he served as the Director of IT for 8 years. Prior to the IT career in Academia, Greg was a Systems Engineer with Hewlett-Packard initially with the Analytical Group supporting the West coast then moving to national accounts for Analytical and Business.
Greg Smith has always carved out time to give back. Greg served as Chairman of the Board for GeoAid an NGO serving humanitarian needs of communities affected by the mining industry in Cameroon, Africa. He helped startup Love INC in Newberg, OR and served on the BOD for Great Circle serving the needs of at risk children and families in Missouri, including Boys & Girls Town near St. James, MO.
Managing IT operations is a great job especially if you are allowed to strategically utilize technology for a competitive advantage. Implementing a new ERP, adapting to Cloud computing and adapting to the changing network requirements of mobile computing are just a few of the recent challenges met. Education Technology does hold a special passion and reward for me. I will consider returning to a full-time CIO role, however, I am still engaged as a CIO consultant and would consider interim CIO roles.
The following short recap of Greg’s career comes from a magazine article:
The son of a Purdue University agronomist, Smith grew up in Lafayette, IN. Defying Boilermaker roots, he went to the rival school in the “south”. Missionary work took him to Brighton, CO., after he earned his degree in chemistry from Indiana University, but the beautiful mountains and powdery snow eventually lured him to Steamboat Springs, CO. A year spent “ski bumming” would give anyone a new perspective on life. For Smith, the epiphany included a brief extension of his undergraduate schooling at the University of Colorado at Boulder in chemical engineering. But the ultimate need for gainful employment resulted in a move to Western Colorado to build electric generating plants with Colorado Ute until NISPCO offered him an opportunity to return to the Midwest in 1979 as a chemist in Gary, Ind.
Ski culture, apparently, is a tough habit to break. Smith soon returned to Steamboat Springs and opened a computer store. He laughs about the idea now, “Skiers and computers? Please!” he says. The store went out of business, but luckily America’s dependence on foreign oil was a hot issue and Unical’s Oil Shale operation needed Smith in Parachute, Colorado, to work as a process control programmer. There he learned important skills that combined with his computer knowledge to prepare him for his next job as the Director of Information Technology for a small company known then as ACZ, Inc. In his work he supported mine engineering and laboratory services back in his favorite haunt, Steamboat Springs.
Although things were going well, Smith said he felt restless, so Hewlett-Packard successfully attracted him to Silicon Valley in 1987. The systems engineer position at HP was a natural fit for a computer chemist and California was a great place to be as the Apples, IBMs and Microsofts emerged. However, the earthquake of 1989 shook Smith out of his West Coast lifestyle and sent him to Cincinnati, Ohio, with HP. Another HP transfer in 1993 landed Smith in Indianapolis where he managed large computer projects for companies such as Dow Chemical, General Motors and Ford. The heavy travel schedule took its toll, though, so Smith spent a year with Best Lock in 1995, allowing him to rebuild a corporate network and computing infrastructure to position him for the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology, IUPUI, as the director of the Computer Network Center in 1996. The opportunity capped 20 years of IT adventure and brought Smith home to represent information technology at the campus that brings together the two institutions in which he grew up.
Eight yeas at IUPUI provided Smith with diverse experience dealing with IT in higher education. Smith took advantage of his situation by obtaining a Master’s degree in Bioinformatics from Indiana University in 2003. His thesis, Security of Our Personal Genome, has turned out to be fairly accurate and concerning. However, a new restlessness set in, one driven by his growing desire to return to the West. God’s calling also came into play as Smith ended up at the “Christ Centered” George Fox University in Newberg, OR. Maybe that calling had something to do with the need for someone to lead GFU through an ERP end-of-life replacement crisis, which played out as a very successful implementation of Oracle’s PeopleSoft. Other industry leading moves with open source and mobile computing have kept Smith at the forefront of higher education technology.