Information technology is everywhere, having long ago escaped the physical boundaries of a PC or a mainframe. Smartphones are smarter than the computers that guided astronauts to the moon. Heck, smartwatches are smarter.
The so-called internet of things will connect your fridge to your car to your phone to your place up north. Is your milk getting sour? Expect a text.
Connected cars will connect us to our destination without anyone needing to touch the steering wheel or hit the brake.
3-D printers will make replacement body parts for pennies, not hundreds of thousands of dollars, and researchers will make medical devices that use algorithms, labs-on-a-chip and genomics to catch the few cancer cells floating among billions of healthy cells in the blood and then tailor a treatment that best works for each individual, making radiation and chemotherapy blunderbusses of the past.
There are thousands of people working in information technology in Michigan. So pulling together a list of 50 people to know in IT puts one in a dauntingly big pool. A list like this by its nature will exclude worthy candidates. To share the blame, we reached out to get suggestions, asking those in the know whom we needed to include.
We got about 150 names that we were told were must-includes. Thanks for the help go to Ted Serbinski of Techstars Mobility, Larry Eiler of Eiler Communications, Guy Suter of Notion AI, Colby Berthume of Rock Ventures LLC,Chris Rizik of the Renaissance Venture Capital Fund, Bob Marsh of LevelEleven, Dug Song of Duo Security, Paul McCreadie of Arboretum Ventures and Adrian Fortino of the Mercury Fund, with special thanks to Linda Daichendt, the executive director and CEO of the Mobile Technology Association of Michigan, and Kathleen Norton-Schock, co-founder of the business intelligence consulting company of ardentCause L3C, for alleviating my fears about gender diversity by making the case for dozens of women to be included.
Apologies to the many qualified people we left off.
Crain’s doesn’t claim these are the best 50 or the most important. It is a very interesting 50, a diverse group that ranges in age from 31 to 65, a mix of women and men, of races and heritages and scientific and informational interests, of people at small startups hoping to create a niche and at huge global institutions hoping to keep theirs.
Our list ranges from a woman charged with protecting the privacy of patients and the computer security at one of the major health care systems in the U.S.; to a woman overseeing IT research and innovation at one of the largest auto companies in the world; to an old-school marketing whiz in radio who was smart enough to realize that making apps was the new way to go; to medical device inventors who made millions for their investors at their first company and are now working at new startups, hoping for a sense of deja vu; to a man who, unlike Al Gore, really did help invent the internet.
From A to W, here are 50 people to know in IT.