The principles of providing value to the community we serve motivated Arizona Western College’s new Chief Information Officer to relocate the Desert Southwest. Joe McLain stepped into a new position and a new leadership role at Arizona Western College in mid-August.
After sixteen years at University of California Santa Barbara McLain began exploring other options that highlight his leadership skills which he fine-tuned while in the Army. McLain says he developed a passion for leadership while deployed as the Company First Sergeant in a Civil Affairs battalion.
“When I got back I really wanted to focus on leadership, so I completed my Bachelor’s degree and earned an MBA in order to position myself to be better able to help others,” commented McLain. “I specifically chose to stay away from IT management and focused on general leadership topics.”
These educational successes steered him to the roles of User Support Group Leader and the Director of IT at the University of California Santa Barbara. After sixteen years at UCSB McLain explored other options in career advancement and applied for his newest positon at AWC.
“I spent about 100 hours researching AWC and the Yuma area because if you’re going to pick up your family and move, there should be as close to zero surprises as possible,” remembers McLain. “I was deeply impressed when I came for my on-site interview at how committed the campus is to the community.”
He plans to be committed to the community as well. McLain’s goals as the new Chief Information Officer are to understand the technological needs of the college’s campuses in-order identify the root causes of current issues and develop plans to address them. The plans will address the immediate technological needs and what will sustain technology needs in the long-term.
“I’ll be working with stakeholders to understand needs, develop out a vision and a plan, and provide the guidance to implement that plan so that we can achieve our vision….thinking isn’t enough; it needs to be followed by actions.”
McLain believes no matter which of the various campuses you are attending or working, each student and employee should enjoy the appropriate technological experience. So he needs to not just understand the technological needs, but understand the technological infrastructure driving those needs; addressing the root cause in order to build a stronger, sustainable strategy.
McLain realizes his short and long term goals will involve challenges. “It’s a sobering responsibility to the campuses and communities that we serve to ensure that we go with technologies that best meet our needs and best meet their needs, too.”
Looking ahead in planning that technological set of objectives, McLain will also create a budget to meet the plan. “Ideally we will put together a five year forecast. It is crucial to me that I be a good fiscal steward. The two counties have given us the responsibility of providing resources to us and entrusting that we will do our best with those resources to provide the greatest value to the community.”
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