Tom Burtzlaff is president of CMIT Solutions of Columbia, an IT business he launched back in 2010. Prior to 2010, he served in a range of executive-level management positions for multiple corporations in the cosmetics industry, even acting as vice president and general manager, managing more than 80 employees and generating revenue exceeding $20 million per year.
Burtzlaff holds a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He says his degree in engineering helped prepare him for success in information technology, while his degree in business administration, combined with over 25 years in large corporate settings, has proven beneficial in communicating with business owners and executives in his current role.
What are the responsibilities of your current role?
“Being the president of a start-up, my roles and responsibilities vary day-to-day, as anyone who owns a business will tell you. One of the most attractive aspects of running my own business is that there is no typical day. It sounds cliché, but it’s true. On one hand, we are in reactive mode. If an issue needs to be addressed such as a server malfunction or a virus, we send a member of our team to resolve the problem. On the other hand, we are being proactive with managing and monitoring our client’s technology infrastructure. Currently, I am preparing a plan for one of our clients that will improve their file sharing system. My other priority is business development. I am attending networking events and new business meetings to help grow and develop our company.”
What is your favorite part about your daily duties?
“I enjoy interacting with small and medium-sized businesses in my community. It’s great whenever I can help a local business understand how to use technology to become more productive and efficient.”
What do you do to continue your education and training?
“I attend a number of industry webinars and events. Recently, I returned from Navigate 2015, which is a major industry event hosted by one of our technology partners. For many of these events, we all have the same questions in mind – What is new? What will work for our client base? Are these new tools or features too complicated? Collaboration with other thought-leaders in the industry gives me the knowledge and tools I need to better serve our clients. It is essential that I continue growing and developing my skill-set, especially in the information technology sector which is evolving so quickly.”
Do you have any advice for others looking to enter this field?
“If you are interested in building a career in information technology, it is important to be willing to adapt. The industry is changing quicker than ever before. The tools you are learning about today could become obsolete in five years. Having said this, you don’t want to move so quickly that you miss a beat or step into uncharted territory without proper security measures.”
Laura Catherine Hermoza has a lifelong love for writing. In addition to serving as a contributor to various media publications, she is also a published novelist of several books and works as a proofreader/editor. LC resides in Baltimore County.