CET, industry leaders look to the future during Enterprise Roundtable

Industry representatives gather for discussion during the College of Engineering and Technology Enterprise Roundtable on Tuesday at the CET.

Industry leaders came together Tuesday at the College of Engineering and Technology (CET) to discuss the future and the role the college can play in that future.

CET and the IBM Z Academic Initiative hosted the Enterprise Roundtable, which focused on computer mainframes and IT-related careers. The goal of the four-hour session was to take steps toward learning what industry will need and how the college can best tailor its programs toward fulfilling those needs.

“We’re talking about whatever you’re going to need to run your companies,” said Misty Decker, from IBM Z Academic Initiative, who led the roundtable. “What skills will you need, not next year, but in the next 10 years? We’re here to talk about what ECU can do to help you.”

About 30 representatives from business took part in the discussion, along with Dr. Harry Ploehn, dean of the CET, as well as a few students.

Dr. Harry Ploehn, dean of the College of Engineering and Technology, speaks during the Enterprise Roundtable .

Ploehn told the group that the college had about 3,000 students, about 1,100 of whom are focused on IT-related degrees. He said the best way the college can build its Enterprise Systems Consortium was to hear from industry.

“We want more advice,” Ploehn said.

Ploehn also participated in the process, teaming up with others as part of a group focused on the perspectives of students. Another focus group concentrated on industry, while another was tasked with university administration. They wrote down suggestions based on values, actions and expectations, among others.

Decker stressed to the group that participants should write down all their thoughts and to not hold anything back, with a focus on the user rather than the producer.

“Don’t get hung up on finding the right answer,” Decker said. “We’re here to figure out what we can do together.”

Bill Cherry, an IT applications architect for BB&T, said he got a lot out of the roundtable.

Misty Decker, from IBM, speaks during the College of Engineering and Technology Enterprise Roundtable .

“I think it’s great,” he said. “My big takeaway is the focus on users, what they want, and to try to get ideas from the users’ ideas. We need to solicit user input. It’s common sense, but sometimes you can get away from it if you’re not careful.”

He said the roundtable has big implications for the future.

“The mainframe (computer) workforce is aging,” he said. “We look forward to partnering in some form to bring in new ideas and new talent. It’s not necessarily about younger. It’s about new ideas.”


– By Ken Buday, University Communications

Industry leaders take part in discussion during the College of Engineering and Technology Enterprise Roundtable.

Industry leaders along with College of Engineering and Technology staff gather for the Enterprise Roundtable.