Thomas Blackburn

Thomas Blackburn





Highly accomplished, visionary executive with a successful 20-year career leading highly motivated IT organizations in designing, implementing, administering, and optimizing IT infrastructure and operations to meet constantly evolving business and customer goals and enable growth across highly competitive markets.

Innovative change agent with strong transformation, turnaround, and growth leadership. Skilled in building, revitalizing, and optimizing organizational structures, teams, technologies, and processes to reduce costs, increase quality, enhance on-time delivery, strengthen financial performance, and improve overall service delivery.

Passionate leader with proven ability to motivate, empower, and lead to success. Skilled in building high-performance teams sharing common vision and goals.

Work History

Work History
2004 - Present

Chief Technology Office

Chief Technology Office (2006-Present) / 

IT Director, Enterprise Services Group (2004-2006)

Recruited as IT Director to drive a total transformation of infrastructure and introduce best practices to eliminate downtime and reduce vulnerability across mission-critical production environment. Promoted to newly established CTO role and challenged to strengthen software development lifecycle and enhance on-time delivery of projects and alignment with business goals.

Provide leadership and framework to identify needs, resolve critical issues, and meet evolving organizational and customer goals. Scope of accountability spans technology strategy and roadmap, architecture design, technology evaluations and implementation, processes and procedures design, project and program management, budget planning and monitoring, team development and leadership, and customer and partner relationship management. Oversee teams of 20-25, comprised of employees and contractors, in designing, implementing, optimizing, and ensuring optimal uptime of infrastructure, systems, and services. Manage budgets of up to $3M with less than a 3% variance. Member of leadership team.

Key Achievements

  • Defined technology vision and execution footprint that enabled the business to grow from $80M in 2004 to more than $220M in 2008 with anticipated revenue of $230M in 2010. Built high-performance infrastructure, desktop, development, and testing teams; introduced and ensured the adoption of methodologies, standards, and best practices; and championed the architectural design, rollout, and support of best-of-breed technologies with strong ROI.

  • Drove the complete architectural design and rollout of a scalable, secure, and reliable production environment, decreasing critical services downtime by 50% consecutively from 2004 to 2008 and achieving availability of 95-99% since 2008. Led the implementation of Frame Relay backup solution, Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) protection, Intrusion Detection System (IDS), network monitoring tools, shared password repository system, standard operating systems, application and system builds, and firewalls and hardened servers into environment.

  • Spearheaded the introduction of effective systems and standards to improve data security, enhance compliance, and safeguard more than 25 million customer credit cards. Provided technical leadership on developing systems architecture, hardware standards and configuration, and virtualization and security best practices as infrastructure grew from 10 servers to more than 100 servers within 5 years.

  • Established formalized processes and procedures across complex environment that enabled the achievement of PCI compliance while improving availability and strengthening response time to critical issues. Introduced processes for supporting call center and managing customer issues, resulting in a call center capacity reduction of more than 20% within 6 months. Led obtainment of PCI compliance at less than 30% of the industry standard benchmark of $1.1M.

  • Championed a cultural shift to improve individual accountability based on the Oz Principle. Established clear roles and responsibilities, instituted performance measurements, and effectively aligned teams as partners to the business.

  • Built a Project Management Organization (PMO), introduced portfolio management framework, and guided the adoption of Agile development methodology, enhancing the on-time and quality delivery of projects while minimizing risk. Recruited project management team; rebuilt development team; and led the selection and implementation of tools, systems, and processes that enhanced communication and alignment with business goals.

  • Directed the build-out of new database and product architectures, development of core product features, and design and rollout of business intelligence framework. Led the introduction of third-party A/B testing, increasing consumer purchase conversion rates from 3% to 5%. Oversaw the development of multi-language support structure and conversion of administrative portal into Spanish, leading to the extension of vertical market. Managed the creation of next-generation web platform resulting in a consistent, maintainable, and scalable platform. Directed the build-out of data warehouse, ETLs, and analytics platform that enabled the capture of core business data for enhanced decision-making.

2000 - Present

UNIX Systems Administrator


Selected to design, administer, and expand systems infrastructure supporting core order fulfillment operations.

Evaluated, recommended, and implemented technologies to improve availability, enhance security, and ensure optimal data replication across complex environment. Set up and managed SunOS servers, EMC SAN platforms, and Veritas file system and clustering technologies.Wrote custom tools, and assisted in analyzing and resolving critical issues.

Key Achievements

  • Led team in relocating all production data from Columbus data center to Chicago data center with minimal downtime to revenue-generating systems. Designed, developed, and implemented custom software to enable data replication between Chicago and Columbus data centers.

2003 - 2004

Lead Systems Architect / Consultant

ICC / Sterling Commerce, Inc

Retained by Sterling Commerce client to build a new, high-availability Backup / Recovery framework to ensure optimal uptime of core business systems supporting internal and external customers.

Conducted complete assessment of environment; created business case documenting architecture and design recommendations; and managed the development and implementation of solution that enabled the achievement of established Service Level Agreements (SLAs). Architected and oversaw the installation and configuration of NetBackup 4.5, Veritas Clustering Services across multiple gigabit networks, and Net Applications NAS devices for near-line backup images. Created disaster recovery plans and documentation, and assisted with disaster recovery testing at SunGuard facilities.

Key Achievements

  • Spearheaded the design and delivery of effective backup / recovery structure for more than 500 hosts across multi-platform UNIX, Windows, and iSeries environments. Improved storage management processes and procedures, reducing configuration errors while improving availability. Evaluated and implemented unique email tracking system to meet business unit's requirements and SLAs.

  • Established and executed Disaster Recovery strategy to ensure optimal continuity of services. Designed and deployed automated recovery scripts; and led technical efforts to successfully restore backup system during 2 Disaster Recovery tests ahead of schedule, enabling all business units to restore critical data.

2000 - 2002

Systems Manager / Quality Assurance Manager

e-Bank, LLC

Brought into newly established organization to rebuild IT infrastructure and enhance overall uptime of critical systems and environments. Proposed and given additional responsibility to build and manage QA team in increasing quality of product.

Spearheaded the establishment of teams, adoption of standard operating procedures, and introduction of technologies, systems, and platforms to support rapid business growth. Led team in deploying, optimizing, and administering multi-platform SunOS, Linux, and Intel servers; SAN and firewall platforms; and network monitoring and incident response tools.

Key Achievements

  • Drove the complete redesign of systems and network infrastructure; established and staffed Network Operations Center (NOC); and created Disaster Recovery strategy, resulting in improving uptime, performance, and recovery of critical data, systems, and environments.

  • Built a dedicated Quality Assurance team, reducing testing time by 90% while improving quality of product. Oversaw the design of web-based regression testing software.

  • Requested to assume responsibility and define strategy to turn around failing project with key client. Led team in identifying and resolving performance issues, effectively retaining core client.

1997 - 2000

Systems Engineer

Chemical Abstract Services

Chosen to lead team in managing and enhancing infrastructure supporting development and production environments, comprised of more than 180+ Sun servers and 1,200+ Sun workstations.

Key Achievements

  • Created Disaster Recovery plans and documentation for midrange systems. Developed automated recovery scripts and participated in multiple successful disaster recovery tests.

  • Planned and oversaw Y2K data center UNIX systems shutdown efforts and power down / power up projects at 2 data centers. Built custom tool that enabled the automatic shutdown and power up of Sun systems, reducing timeframe to power up 200+ servers by 50%.

1996 - 1997

Network Administrator

Applied Innovation
  • Recruited into newly established role and given full responsibility for managing 30+ systems across multi-platform Sun Sparc, SunOS, Solaris, HP-UX, QNX, and SCO Unixware platforms supporting development environment.

1991 - 1995

Technical Services Manager

Pinnacle Data Systems
  • Earned 2 promotions to final position as Technical Services Manager accountable for establishing and leading the company's 1st Help Organization in supporting external customers with all Sun Solaris server and workstation issues.

  • Developed Sun Systems Administration and System Hardware training documentation and program, which were subsequently sold to customers as a service offering.



Bachelor of Science


Pursuing (4 remaining courses)

1991 - Present

Associate of Applied Science