Scott Findlater - CIO - Anord Mardix

ANdrew wildrix

Chief Information Officer

Intrusion, Inc

andrew wildrix – CIO Interview Series

Can you please provide a little introduction about yourself

I’m based in Plano, TX . I am currently the CIO of Intrusion, overseeing IT, Engineering, Operations, and Support for all of our products. Previously, I served as an officer in the US Army, specializing in Armored Warfare (19K), Information Operations (FA30) and Modeling & Simulations (FA57A). I also spent 17 years with SBC Internet/ATT, working in Network Architecture and Planning (SBC), New Technology Introduction and Development (AT&T Labs) and Tier 3 Support (AT&T Layer 2 Services). I recently earned the North Texas Tech Titans Emerging Company CIO of the Year.

What has your journey to your position been like? What path have you taken?

Serendipity seems to be my thing. None of this was ever planned. I pride myself on my relationships and those relationships have always opened doors of opportunity. I left AT&T at the request of a close Army friend to pursue a life in the startup world. I was recommended for my current position by a good friend who saw talent in me that I didn’t think I had. The best thing about startups is they allow your ability and ambition define your role. I’d be terrified to apply for a job with a description of my current duties.

Has it always been your vision to reach the position you’re at? Was your current role part of your vision to become a tech leader?

Its certainly a dream, but not a realistic one for me 5 years ago. I credit my wife and close friends for encouraging me to leave my comfort zone and be OK with failing in the attempt to pursue my dreams. I try and pay it back by spending more time than my peers focusing on identifying and acquiring talented people that will be the next generation of leaders for the company. I’m blessed to have some brilliant minds to work with. While I am definitely not the smartest guy in the room, I can ask intelligent questions to drive thought leadership and take technology in directions never considered to answer questions we all have.

Have you had a role model or mentor that has helped you on your journey?

There are too many names to list everyone that helped me on my journey. I truly hope that they all know and can appreciate the impact they have had on me. Joe Head and Jack Blount gave me the chance to lead vital components of their company. Brandy Schade coached me to play to my strengths and not worry about my weaknesses. Dr. Jim Hrubes taught me to learn something daily and never stop moving forward.

How do you see the role of the technology leader evolving over the next 5 years?

The CIO role is so different and evolving compared to other C Suite roles. So many of us deserve a few more letters because of the expanding roles and responsibility we take on based on the needs of the business. Its not enough to be the technical guy. We have to be more business savvy. We have to have more soft skills and creativity than ever before.

What skills do you think leaders of the future will need in order to thrive?

Being able to quickly synthesize business inputs as well as technical inputs to drive technical strategy and derive new streams of income will separate the good from the great.

How do you keep current with new skills, technologies and personal development?

I wish I could read more, but time and failing eyesight limit that activity. I schedule 3 to 5 hours a week to meet new vendors and learn what they do to impact the marketplace. I’ve learned the best thing I can do is not be scared to ask stupid questions. The answers usually lead to intelligent questions.

What do you see as the next leap in technology that will impact your business or industry in particular?

Increased bandwidths and the move to the cloud have driven my R&D into directions we didn’t anticipate 2 years ago. AI and ML are keeping us ahead of the bad guys for now. The drive to Zero Trust Architecture and use of DNS for security are areas we were ahead of the market in developing and will create the greatest impact against cybercrime for the foreseeable future.

If you were mentoring a leader of the future, what advice or guidance would you give to help them on their way?

Learn your strengths and master them to your benefit. Build relationships without any intention of them benefitting you down the road. Encourage diversity of thought. Never make fear based decisions. Try to become the SME for something and remember you will never be great if are comfortable in what you are doing.

Is there anything in particular that you would still like to achieve in your career or what is the next step on your journey?

I would love to be the guy who takes Intrusion to the next level. The current products in development will be a game changer for cybersecurity. I saw a quote that says “When people you don’t know hate you, you must be at the top of your game.” This is the one instance in which I wont mind being hated.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?

I always joke that I want less corruption or more opportunity to participate in it. Honestly, I would like karma to be instantaneous. After that, I think the rest of the worlds problems would sort themselves out relatively fast.

A big thank you to Andrew Wildrix from Intrusion Inc for sharing his journey to date.

www.intrusion.com

 

If you would like to gain more perspective from Tech Leaders and CIOs you can read some of our other interviews here.

 

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