Meet the Finalists: CIO/CTO of the Year

This January, Dallas Innovates and D CEO magazine hosted The Innovation Awards 2020, an inaugural event honoring local people and companies in 13 categories.

Dallas Innovates and D CEO magazine teamed up to present The Innovation Awards 2020, a new program honoring companies and leaders—CEOs, CIOs, CTOs, entrepreneurs, and others—driving innovation in North Texas.

Here are the winners and finalists for CIO/CTO of the Year.

W I N N E R

Madhuri Andrews
Chief Digital and Information Officer, Jacobs

As Jacobs transitions from a traditional engineering firm into a professional services company, its information and technology challenges have become more complex. Chief Digital and Information Officer Madhuri Andrews has been tasked with leading an enterprise-wide campaign to make innovation part of the company’s DNA. Working with a global network of tech partners, Jacobs leverages predictive analytics, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and more to grow its business and keep its clients satisfied. Andrews is cognizant of her role as a woman in the engineering and technology industries and uses her time and energy to establish a culture of diversity and inclusion at Jacobs and in her community. “Great ideas can come from a wide variety of perspectives, so it is important to embrace and nurture a diverse team,” she says. As Jacobs transformed its portfolio over the past year with the acquisition of a major competitor, Andrews has had to be creative and decisive in her integration of 25,000 new employees to the company’s digital community. But those challenges are not always about spending more money and applying new technology. “Innovation is about cultivating a new way of thinking and behaving,” she says. “When you change your outlook and your behavior, you change the outcome.” —Will Maddox

F I N A L I S T S

Amy Czuchlewski
Bottle Rocket

Amy Czuchlewski is head of technology at Bottle Rocket, a leading digital design and development studio in Addison. She leads a technology team that includes more than 100 software developers, architects, consultants, development operations, and IT support staff. Bottle Rocket builds innovative custom digital products for such clients as Southwest Airlines, Caesar’s Hotels and Resorts, and Fiest Restaurants (Taco Cabana, Pollo Tropical), and others. “I see innovation everywhere,” Czuchlewski says. “It isn’t always about some crazy new tech, but innovation happens any time we unleash our teams to be creative and do their best work. This could result in a new way of doing things or a different and unique perspective on something that’s been done forever. But of course my favorite innovations are creative applications of technology to solve a problem!” Czuchlewski says her always offers something new. “The most exciting part about the future for me is the unknown. I absolutely love not knowing what challenges might come my way each and every day,” she says. “Just as technology continues to evolve, so do the needs of our clients. Finding creative ways to solve problems every day is what keeps me loving my job.” —Lance Murray

Chris Akeroyd
Children’s Health

Chris Akeroyd believes that Children’s Health benefits from being in Dallas. “North Texas is an amazing area that is home to numerous corporate headquarters, top tier educational organizations, innovation centers, and nationally recognized healthcare organizations,” he says. “The partnerships that Children’s Health has leveraged within the community to develop and implement cutting edge virtual reality surgical planning and industry leading predictive analytics solutions are just a couple of the innovation examples that North Texas has afforded us.” Akeroyd says that Children’s Heath has incorporated such tech innovations as natural language processing and artificial intelligence to electronic medical records and community data as a way to improve health outcomes via better processing of data. “Innovation is the process of adapting ideas or technology in a way that creates value in a way to supports our mission at Children’s Health of making life better for children,” he says. —Lance Murray

Sherif Mityas
TGI Fridays

Sherif Mityas has been with TGI Fridays for nearly four years and was appointed as Chief Experience Officer in March 2018. He says the restaurant company has embraced the role that technology and innovation can play in driving, “what has historically been a very traditional restaurant sector.” He says that TGI Friday leads its industry sector in the areas of digital transformation and the usage of new technologies such as artificial intelligence across its brand. “Innovation is an ongoing and required action for survival—it’s like breathing for business, if you don’t have it, can’t execute it, and fail to continuously do it, you’re going to die,” he says. He says the biggest lesson he’s learned is to, “hire bright, diverse, and curious people and then get out of their way–innovation can come from anywhere, but it comes from people for the benefit of people. Always take care of that greatest asset and it will always pay back dividends far beyond your expectations.” —Lance Murray

E X P L O R E   M O R E

Click each link below to take a closer look at each finalist in all 13 categories.

CIO/CTO of the Year

Corporate Innovator of the Year

Startup Innovator of the Year

Innovation in Education

Innovation in Energy

Innovation in Finance

Innovation in Food and Beverage

Innovation in Healthcare

Innovation in Manufacturing and Consumer Goods

Innovation in Placemaking

Innovation in Retail

Innovation in Technology

Innovation in Transportation

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