Meet a Minnesota CTO: Mark Botticelli

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CTOThank you to Andcor Companies for underwriting the Meet a Minnesota CTO series.

Mark Botticelli is the CTO of Minnetonka-based PeopleNet.

How long have you been operating in technology for and what is your background?

I’ve been in technology for more than 25 years. As a young kid, I was always into electronics and computers and as a young adult, I applied my skills to electrical engineering. After several years, I became interested in embedded programming and then software development. Soon I was interested in leading and inventing, which led me to where I am today.

What are you focused on right now?

Using the “Internet of Transportation Things” (IoTT) – which connects technology within trucks to smartphones on a cloud network and makes it easier to collect data from sensors on the trucks – to ensure efficient delivery of information. The future of transportation and IoTT lies in integrating enterprise (back-office systems) and mobile (GPS tracking, communication, telematics) technologies with real-time predictive analytics that help all carriers make more effective decisions about people, trucks, routes, etc. But beyond higher levels of performance and efficiency, IoTT offers new possibilities for the field service industry. This includes the ability to solve some of its biggest challenges surrounding fleet performance, safety, compliance, efficiency, and maintenance. Yet, many in the industry are still not convinced of its efficacy.

What are the some of the technologies within your company and IT environment?

My team and I are responsible for PeopleNet’s North American technology strategy and product delivery across wireless, software, hardware, infrastructure and quality assurance. We lead more than just the transformation of the company’s mobile platform, communications, and web platform that will punctuate the company’s competitive positioning. We are driving the revolution of an entire industry by creating the Internet of Transportation Things that will raise the bar on a fleet’s performance, safety, compliance, efficiency, and maintenance capabilities.

When complete, the PeopleNet platform will comprise next-generation in-cab mobile gateways and smart devices interconnected by a fully managed, cloud-based vehicle network, with supporting web-based applications/services that take fleet mobility to the next level.

How do you ensure that IT plans, projects and objectives are aligned with business outcomes?

The structure of the department is set up so my team and I have a mix of CIO and CTO responsibilities. Not only do we manage the technology strategy and product delivery, we have to maintain corporate systems. Often people just associate the CTO role with IT (corporate systems) and do not recognize the product development and delivery aspect of it.

What is the size of your department (headcount) and how is it organized/managed?

My team currently has 160 engineers across multiple disciplines including electrical, mechanical, QA, and software engineers. Project and program management is managed out of a central program management office.

How does your company approach recruiting and retention for technical positions in an increasingly competitive market?

PeopleNet strives to hire the best and the brightest—our team members share the company’s commitment to innovation and our dedication to customer service.  Working at PeopleNet is challenging and rewarding. Every member in our organization plays an integral role in helping to provide excellent customer service, so individual initiative is encouraged and rewarded.

We work to ensure our employees receive a competitive salary with a comprehensive benefits package that includes health, dental, life insurance, short- and long-term disability, flexible spending plan, employer-matched 401k, paid time off and paid holidays.

How do you personally keep up with the ever changing technology landscape?

Twitter. No, just kidding. But I do read a LOT of books and online articles. I also listen to what my team members and customers are talking about.

What excites you about where technology is heading?

Everything is mobile and wireless allowing us to control all aspects of our life. We are taking this approach to transportation and logistics and forging the future of trucking.

What concerns you about where technology is heading?

Balancing innovation while maintaining existing platforms, both hardware and software, is always challenging. At PeopleNet, we ensure that no customer gets left behind. This is a pillar of our organization. Although challenging, we have figured out the right blend.

What are you into outside of technology?

I am a music fanatic and enjoy finding new music. I work best in all aspects of my life while music is playing… and loud :-)

What is your opinion of Minnesota’s tech industry?

I moved here from Boston where we are among the top technology epicenters so my expectations were not high. Once I got here and became connected, I realized the tech industry here was bigger and better than I anticipated. At PeopleNet we are doing our part in helping the local tech industry along.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

No thank you.

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