Gary A. King is Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer of T-Mobile USA (NYSE: TMUS), America’s Un-carrier.
From 2004 to 2013, Mr. King was the Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Chico’s FAS, a specialty retailer of private branded clothing and accessories. The company operates 1250 women’s specialty stores operating under the Chico’s, WhiteHouse|BlackMarket, Soma Intimates and Boston Proper names.
Prior to joining Chico’s, Mr. King served as Chief Information Officer for Barnes & Noble from 2002 to 2004. From 1999 to 2002, he served as Executive Vice President of Operations and Chief Technology Officer for barnesandnoble.com. Prior to joining Barnes & Noble, Mr. King was Vice President of Global Information Technology for Avon Products, Inc. and from 1993 to 1998 was based in the United
Kingdom with technology responsibilities for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India. Under his leadership, his team provided the systems infrastructure for starting fourteen new market entries throughout the region.
Mr. King began his career with Burroughs Corporation and held various systems management and technology positions playing a key role in integrating the infrastructure of Sperry and Burroughs to form Unisys.
Mr. King received a Bachelor of Science degree in computer Science from the University of Florida and attended graduate studies in business administration at Florida Atlantic University. He is a member of the Board of Directors/Advisory Board for the following organizations: Center for Supply Chain Management at the University of Florida and the Southwest Florida Children’s Charities.
I’ve said it before: one of the most difficult aspects of my role as Chief Information Officer is finding and recruiting talent. I run at a constant talent deficit because I cannot find people with the skills I need to fill the job openings I have.
But, why is this? The education system is what feeds the talent pipeline for companies. However, this pipeline isn’t delivering at the speed my business needs. And, for a company like T-Mobile, which is growing and moving at an unprecedented pace, that is unacceptable.
Technology is all around us. It touches everyone every day. It is the future. Let’s expose youth to technology, get them interested in how it works and give them the opportunities to get inspired and involved. Countries, like India and China, are cranking out graduates with exceptional skills, education and drive. And, the US should be too.
We can do this with a focus on creating career-ready individuals by exposing kids early to STEM opportunities.
T-Mobile counts approximately 57 million people as customers and one hundred thousand as employees, our CEO has 1.45 million Twitter followers and we reach millions more through our retail stores and advertising every single day. We are revolutionizing the wireless industry and making it easy for consumers and businesses to interact whenever and wherever they are throughout their day.
We are a fast-moving technology company. And, our IT organization is in a period of transformation – becoming mobile first, enabling radical simplification, empowering employees and providing a unified experience. We need talent with science, technology, engineering and mathematics experience to support our business. Along with STEM skills and knowledge, future employees also need communication skills and business savvy.
But, how do we close the gap on getting people interested in STEM fields? Today, everyone is growing up with and has some kind of experience with technology. The key is to expose kids to science, technology, engineering and mathematics early and inspire them to go and study those subjects through real-world work experiences. At T-Mobile, we’re investing in our local youth in a couple of ways.
We’ve partnered with Year Up, a local-Seattle non-profit, to provide under-privileged students the framework to get to the next level. The students working at T-Mobile have the opportunity to learn skills very much in demand across our industry and the opportunity to learn on the ground with seasoned professionals.
T-Mobile’s interns are working in our QA department, reporting errors in software before it moves to production. We’ve also challenged them with coming up with solutions to automate certain manual processes. Given the tools and resources they have, they work closely with T-Mobile employees who provide guidance, feedback and support.
The interns have also earned certifications in MTA OS Fundamentals, Visual Basic & Database Fundamentals and MOS Excel. They are gaining confidence to lead and influence, as well as, to present their work to other T-Mobile employees. It’s exciting to see the progress these students are making during their time here.
We’re also driving towards a robust technology internship program. As a company, T-Mobile has continuously hosted internship programs but, this year, we are really amping up the technology organizations internship efforts. The program will increase T-Mobile’s visibility to future graduates and allow for continued relationships with interns who will be a renewable resource for new hires.
This year will be a building year for the technology internship program. Working with universities in proximity to T-Mobile, our program is intended to:
- Enhance our Enterprise IT and Technology talent pipeline and build T-Mobile brand awareness through university partnerships.
- Strengthen our current workforce by focusing the intern program on current skill gaps and strategically needed roles.
- Give students and recent graduates meaningful employment experiences and provide T-Mobile managers leadership opportunities and a chance to mentor and manage.
Feedback from Technology VPs suggests that current workforce needs extend beyond traditional STEM focuses to include some non-traditional programs and workers. Based on this feedback, our internship program looks to recruit students with technical aptitude and training along with education and skills extending to areas, such as Business, Finance, Accounting, Information Systems, Marketing, Data Science, Analytics and Human Centered Design and Engineering.
Not only will the internship program give students and recent graduates meaningful employment experiences but it will also provide T-Mobile managers leadership opportunities and a chance to mentor and manage.
We need our internship and recruiting efforts to be successful. Along with running our business, we need to be investing in our future talent pipeline as this is what will drive success in our organizations.
Someday, I hope there is enough talent to fill every one of my job openings. That is why these types of programs and these students are so important to me. I’m investing in them and hope to get them invested in technology so one day they can come work for T-Mobile.