CIO Spotlight: Felix Quintana, MX Technologies

Do you have KPIs to quantify the value of IT? “We are a data-driven company, so we are constantly monitoring and analysing our objectives… This involves measuring things like customer satisfaction, net promoter score, and ROI on the technologies we implement and manage.”

Headshot of Felix Quintana, CIO at MX Technologies
MX Technologies

Name: Felix Quintana

Company: MX Technologies, Inc.

Job title: CIO

Date started current role: October 2021

Location: Lehi, UT

Felix Quintana is the Chief Information Officer at MX. He is an experienced IT leader with over a decade of experience in building, expanding and optimising operational services, technologies, teams and processes. Quintana is a graduate of the University of Utah.

What was your first job? I grew up near a small ski resort town in Colorado, so I had a lot of hospitality industry jobs in hotels and restaurants; however, my first job in the IT field was doing Technical Support for an Internet Service Provider.

Did you always want to work in IT? No, I wanted to go into International Business; however, as part of my first IT job, I had the opportunity to learn about web development, web hosting and systems administration. I just fell in love with technology and knew that I wanted to make a career out of it. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it since.

What was your education? Do you hold any certifications? What are they? I earned Bachelor of Science degrees in Marketing and Information Systems as well as a Master of Science degree in Information Systems from the University of Utah. I am also an AWS Certified Solutions Architect.

Explain your career path. Did you take any detours? If so, discuss. I was an individual contributor for the first 8 years of my career and enjoyed all aspects of IT infrastructure & Operations including Systems and Network Administration. I transitioned into leadership positions that have allowed me to lead technology teams in delivering technology solutions for organisations in IT services, higher education, shipping & logistics and financial services. As a CIO, I feel it is important to demonstrate the business value of IT and ensure technical teams are aligned with company initiatives.

What business or technology initiatives will be most significant in driving IT investments in your organisation in the coming year? We’ve made investments in automation technologies that will allow us to drive efficiencies, provide higher levels of consistency and reduce costs whenever possible. We will continue to assess our infrastructure footprint (private, hybrid, public) and make appropriate decisions to support our growing needs. The way we work has drastically evolved over the past couple of years, so we must ensure we are providing the best and most secure possible technology experience to our growing hybrid workforce.

What are the CEO's top priorities for you in the coming year? How do you plan to support the business with IT? Our priorities as an organisation will focus on continued growth and expansion of our products and services while also continuing to build and raise awareness of the company brand. As our company continues to grow, efforts are focused on IT governance and continued maturity of the services we offer, leveraging automation, and providing secure and scalable solutions for our end users.

Does the conventional CIO role include responsibilities it should not hold? Should the role have additional responsibilities it does not currently include? The role of the CIO has evolved significantly over the years from a highly technical and operational role, to one that involves a greater emphasis on strategic alignment with business outcomes. While I feel it’s still important to have strong technical knowledge, having a solid understanding of other business functions such as sales, marketing, finance, and operations are critical to assist with digital and operational transformation across the organisation.

Are you leading a digital transformation? If so, does it emphasise customer experience and revenue growth or operational efficiency? If both, how do you balance the two? Digital transformation is inherently one of our core values - we believe in highly iterative and rapid innovation. Whether it’s product development that leads to new or increased revenue growth or finding new ways to automate for greater operational efficiency, we encourage innovation across the entire company. It’s important to prioritise and allocate time and resources to both.

Describe the maturity of your digital business. For example, do you have KPIs to quantify the value of IT? We are a data-driven company, so we are constantly monitoring and analysing our objectives through OKR dashboards and metrics. From an IT perspective, we continue to look for ways to maximise and improve the business value of IT.  This involves measuring things like customer satisfaction, net promoter score, and ROI on the technologies we implement and manage.

What does good culture fit look like in your organisation? How do you cultivate it? Our culture is driven by our moral imperative to advance mankind. It’s a lofty goal, but we believe it’s possible through our people, products and purpose. We align with those that want to join our mission to empower the world to be financially strong. Our values encourage team members to inspire, encourage and be kind to one another. Our team members are self-driven, motivated, data-driven and believe in transparency and integrity. We are respectful and fair to team members, the company, partners and clients. These are the values we seek and strive to cultivate.

What roles or skills are you finding (or anticipate to be) the most difficult to fill? We have a Flex First philosophy within our organisation and give team members the flexibility to choose where and how they will engage and collaborate with one another.  This has given us the luxury of expanding our geographic search area as we seek talent.  While technical skills are important, we put as much, if not more, emphasis on the importance of aligning with our corporate values. We seek team members that carry a deep sense of drive and passion for what we do and who we serve.

What's the best career advice you ever received? When discussing future goals and aspirations with a manager, I was once told that it would be very difficult to become a CIO due to the career path I had taken up to that point. I used this as motivation to identify gaps in my knowledge and experience, and become more well-rounded in all areas of IT. It’s a work in progress, but I try to learn something new every day that can help me in my career.

Do you have a succession plan? If so, discuss the importance of and challenges with training up high-performing staff. Assessing and developing our leadership bench should be a constant effort. I believe in creating growth and learning opportunities for every member of my team regardless of whether they aspire leadership positions or not. I try to involve direct reports in all areas that fall under my responsibility including things such as budgeting and strategic planning.

What advice would you give to aspiring IT leaders? Never stop seeking knowledge.  Technology advances at a very rapid pace and it is important to stay current and informed on emerging technologies that may help meet the needs of your organisation. Find opportunities to gather and share information with other leaders in the IT industry. Lastly, identify the greatest needs of the organisation and align IT strategy to help drive innovation to meet those needs.

What has been your greatest career achievement? I am an immigrant who grew up under very humble circumstances and a first-generation college graduate. As a child, I never imagined I’d achieve the career success that I have up to this point, but I’m grateful for it and get a lot of satisfaction from knowing that a strong work ethic and dedication pay off. I now feel a responsibility to help those that are in the same position that I was in and constantly try to find ways to serve and pay it forward.

Looking back with 20:20 hindsight, what would you have done differently? I could point to bad decisions that I’ve made over my career (there have been many), but I feel they have served as learning opportunities in my personal and professional career development process. I believe that the past has shaped my present, and I use those learning experiences to help me make better decisions in the future.

What are you reading now? American Icon by Bryce G. Hoffan which describes the turnaround of Ford Motor Company under the leadership of CEO Alan Mulally. It’s an excellent book about leadership and the approach Mr Mullally took to change the culture at Ford and the mentality he introduced for working together to achieve a common goal.

Most people don't know that I… am a left-handed guitarist who plays a Jimi Hendrix rendition of “The Start-Spangled Banner” every July 4th in our neighbourhood.

In my spare time, I like to…Enjoy time outdoors (mountain biking, hiking, fishing, camping, etc.) and traveling with my family.

Ask me to do anything but… go to a crowded big-box store on a Saturday.